S.I.C. Film School Creates Community Through Innovation

S.I.C. Film School in Yonkers gives high-school graduates and teens affected by gun violence a forum to generate positive social impact.

It’s easy to get lost in all the flashy tech and entertainment applications inside the creative hive of S.I.C. Film School. But what’s at play within the walls of this heady hub of artful innovation in downtown Yonkers (temporarily sharing Great Point Studios’ $500 million campus at Lionsgate Studios) is so much bigger than its holograms, virtual-reality headgear, designer sneakers for game avatars, and entertainment-industry access.

“All this stuff is cool and exciting, but it’s just a tool to get the youth excited. The end result is to get them to create positive content,” says Hezues R, CEO and founder of S.I.C. Film School.

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Founded in 2020, this budding hybrid entity comprises a for-profit film school and nonprofit licensed private career school — all rooted by a mission to create positive, uplifting Social Impact Content (S.I.C.).

S.I.C.

The for-profit film school for young adults will focus heavily on international students and will help fund the nonprofit arm for New York teens (ages 14 to 19), prioritizing youth from Westchester County affected by gun violence, drug use, mental health, and other social issues.

Hezues R

“All this stuff is cool and exciting, but it’s just a tool to get the youth excited. The end result is to get them to create positive content.”

Hezues R, CEO and Founder, S.I.C. Film School

The school is a college-level education platform to serve students after high-school graduation. Tuition is $22,000 for a 10-week advanced film program focusing not on degrees but access to individuals actively working in the film industry. “The interesting thing about our education model is that a lot of these people in production, producers, famous directors…they couldn’t go teach at another institution because they couldn’t commit to a whole year or a whole semester. They’re working in the industry,” R says. “Because we have a 10-week program, we only need them for one week, three days that week.”

While visitors can already experience the virtual campus, official enrollment for 48 students per session on the physical campus is slated to begin (at press time) in the second quarter of 2024, R says. The campus is being constructed at the city’s armory, where S.I.C. has signed a 50-year lease with the City of Yonkers, sharing the space with another youth-targeted non-profit, the Yonkers Police Athletic League.

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Meanwhile, teens participate in S.I.C. through partnerships with local governments, community groups, and arts organizations, plus S.I.C.’s weekly workshops, such as Tap In Tuesdays, a free program for teens to learn about film and media production — with a requirement to post something positive on social media. School curriculum will offer classes such as film theory, camera, lighting, sound design, story development, screenwriting, blocking, and post-production.

S.I.C.

Beyond helping students secure entertainment-industry internships, S.I.C. plans to fund student content and structure film and entertainment development deals for students. The goal is to influence commercial art and uplift community engagement.

“They have to see a pathway to success with the positive stuff,” says Westchester County Legislator Shanae Williams, the film school’s director of strategic partnerships.

R’s idea hatched in 2019 with a summer film school for about 30 kids from Queens who were either former gang members, victims of gun violence, or just coming from adversity — like he was. In his youth, R was shot at 22 times and suffered several gunshot wounds. Upon recovery, he transformed his life and turned to shooting commercials, photos, and TV shows, including running Sean P. Diddy Combs’ ad campaigns and directing Wyclef Jean’s “April Showers” music video.

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Beyond encouraging youth embroiled in violence to swap their gun for a camera, R wants to motivate them to create uplifting content to avoid inspiring more violence. That’s the mission of S.I.C.: to heal not only the individual mentally, socially, and financially, but to empower that person to create art that positively influences millions of others.

“It’s all about nurturing the content creators,” he says.

Find S.I.C. Film School on YouTube and Instagram at @SICfilmschool.

The S.I.C. Tank is one of the many assets that the film school has to offer.
The S.I.C. Tank is one of the many assets that the film school has to offer.

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