Born & Raised: The Bronx
First EVC Project: Sometimes the Silence Can Seem So Loud (Doc Workshop, Fall 2005)
Current Occupation: Social worker and media educator
Education: BFA in Film and Video, City College of NY; MA in Community Organizing, Planning & Development – Silberman School of Social Work at Hunter, 2014
Still Standing: Hurricane Katrina, 2005
Ines Morales is a Latina native of the South Bronx. Her Puerto Rican mother and Ecuadorian father taught Ines to be proud of her heritage and identity and to value hard work as the pathway to great things.
For Ines, growing up in the South Bronx was a rich and complex experience. She saw both the negative and positive aspects of her community. She remembers walking up to her fourth-floor apartment and encountering drug users shooting up in the hallway, needles covering the stairway, and her mother constantly warning her to not touch anything—especially the needles. Ines also remembers happy times, enjoying their inflatable indoor pool, nights out on the fire escape, and hot summers playing in the “pump” (fire hydrant). To Ines, all of these things, the good and the bad, were normal parts of her life.
Ines didn't realize that her community was facing so many disparities until, as a teenager, she joined a youth activist group called A.C.T.I.O.N (Activist Coming To Inform Our Neighborhood), which taught her how to organize for change and to understand the power she had to improve her neighborhood.
Ines brought these experiences with her when joined EVC as a high school senior. She had never considered filmmaking but a counselor at A.C.T.I.O.N. suggested it. She was very excited to learn filmmaking. She co-created Sometimes the Silence Can Seem So Loud, a video on teen suicide. During the production process she became particularly interested in editing. For her next film, Ines worked with five other youth to create Still Standing, an award-winning documentary about the aftermath of hurricane Katrina. During production, she traveled to New Orleans to shoot and to engage in community service there. EVC showed Ines that activism can be creative, and she credits her work on Still Standing with opening her up to the world.
Ines went on to work on EVC’s partnership with Black Entertainment Television (BET) on their Youth Vote Campaign. BET hired six EVC youth producers to create shorts encouraging young people to get out and vote. From there she attended City College, earning a BFA in film and video. Ines believes her time at EVC gave her an advantage in college: EVC showed her how to be a leader and to work with others. Ines eventually earned a Masters in social work from Hunter College, with the goal of using her degree to help communities tell their own stories for social change.
Ines currently works as the clinical director of a congregate supportive housing facility. From time-to-time, she continues to work at EVC as a media coach. Most notably, she recently co-taught an EVC program at Harlem NeON, an alternative-to-incarceration initiative.
Favorite EVC Project:
"Definitely Still Standing. The topic was relevant and I learned so much. I learned how to work with different people. It also took me out of my comfort zone. When we went to New Orleans after Katrina we had to sleep in an abandoned school in a communal situation and it was weird to me with coed bathrooms and outdoor showers but afterwards I relaxed into it and realized what an amazing experience it was. My last year of college I decided to do a short documentary study program in India for a month. Because of my experience with EVC, I was able to handle new and different situations in India much better than a lot of my classmates."
Proudest Youth Media Moment:
"I think it would be when “Still Standing” won the Jury award for the Media that Matters Film Festival. I didn’t know how important this festival was until after we won. I really felt like a professional – the other films there were from all over the country and most of the films were by adults. And at EVC we had control over our project. When I think about it now, I realize “Wow, that’s a great accomplishment!” YO-TV was just an internship. I didn’t think it would go that far. And now it’s been all around."