Meet the 2023 Youth Media Festival Fellows, the media-savvy high school students producing and curating the 10th Annual Concrete Stories media festival.

The 2023 Youth Media Fellows are currently organizing and producing the 10th Annual Concrete Stories: BRIC Youth Media Festival which will be held in May 2023. If you’re interested in participating in the Youth Media Fellowship, information about the program can be found here.


Rina Hyseni is a sophomore who attends the High School of Art and Design in Manhattan. She was born and raised in Kosovo, and moved to the United States in 2020. Ever since her early childhood, Rina has had a passion for creating stories and executing them through various forms of art, including drawing, film, writing, music, animation, and graphic design. After being exposed to the vast artistic opportunities in New York, she has decided to pursue her interest in art seriously by attending an art school where she majors in Illustration, with the goal of turning this interest into a future career. Rina’s passions extend beyond drawing, and so by attending the BRIC Fellowship, she aims to explore her interests in media and storytelling, in hopes that they will inspire her future artistic pursuit.



Kamora Hinds is a Junior at an art school in Brooklyn, New York. A book and music lover, she has always had a strong relationship with art and entertainment and she sees it as not just her passion but her life. She enjoys dancing, acting, singing and filmmaking,and has started to make her dreams into reality throughout highschool as a vocal and film major, dancing on weekends. However she would like to take her dreams outside a classroom and do arts in a professional setting as a career. She hopes BRIC Media Youth Fellowship will help to strengthen her passion, and would eventually start working on her films for college and beyond.




Elysia Hernandez was born and raised in Bushwick, Brooklyn. She has always had a passion for storytelling, from writing short stories to scriptwriting. She grew her love for creation by making edits using Adobe After Effects and publishing them online. She had discovered her love for filmmaking late due to the lack of artistic resources in her schools but has found ways to foster that passion. By participating in New York Film Academies one week- filmmaking program she has learned how to work with others, share her ideas and make her written stories come to life. She hopes that by participating in BRiC’s Youth Media Fellowship she can build her resume, meet and work with new people.



Yaseem Ross-Townsend is a sophomore attending City Polytechnic High School Of Engineering Architecture and technology. Born and bred in Red Hook, Brooklyn he has been in love with the sport of basketball his whole life but, when covid came it put a halt on that and opened a portal for an interest in filmmaking.  Watching sports clips and movies all day made him wonder what goes into making the final product of film. His experience in other programs has given him background knowledge about filmmaking and the process of making a great film. He hopes the BRiC Media Youth Fellowship will expand his pallet and allow him to make more connections for the future. He is just here to have fun, learn more and maybe pick up a new hobby.



Blake Poole is from Brooklyn, NY and is currently a Junior at the Academy for Young Writers.  He enjoys activities such as traveling, taking pictures, filming and editing video. Throughout middle and high school, he gained interest in being an actor and filmmaker after participating in school plays and making short films. During his experience in the Youth Media Fellowship, Blake hopes to have a better understanding of what it’s like to work with people that have the same interests as him as well as gaining more experience in filming, editing, and production.




Emmet Palabasan is a high school junior who takes the Art & Design program at Francis Lewis High School. Born and raised in Queens, Emmet always had an affinity with art and animation. From a very early age, Emmet would create and draw multitudes of characters and even write his own stories for them, which sprouted his love for animated shows and films. Emmet also has a passion for planning collaborative projects, and leading dozens of artists and writers online to work with one another. He is currently interning at BRIC Youth Media Fellowship in order to gain skills in media



Kailyn Perez lives in Sheepshead Bay, finishing her senior year at Origins High School. Kailyn’s love for film and media started her sophomore year in high school when she joined her school’s Media Team. Currently, she is working on a short film for her college portfolio. Kailyn joined the Youth Film and Media Fellowship to gain more experience about film, collaboration, creativity, and time-management before going to college. In the future, she hopes to go to film school and pursue her dream of becoming a film director.



David Zuniga-Velasco is a Brooklyn based artist. In his youth, he developed a love for art, particularly expressionism. Raised in the Brooklyn neighborhood of Fort Greene, he was placed in the epicenter of cultural, social, and economic disparities that have had a great impact on his perception of the world at large. Currently a Junior at Digital Arts and Cinema Technology High School, he works to hone his skills as a learner, filmmaker, and most importantly a storyteller. With a vast love for film, music, and writing he wishes to tell stories that reflect a depraved society, and do so with an experimental edge.



Ianna Banfield is a senior who attends a social justice school in Park Slope. Ianna has a unique backstory; she was born and raised in a rural area upstate New York before moving to Brooklyn, New York at the age of ten. She hoped that the big city would lead her to opportunities that will help her find her voice. She has never been tethered to one area of expression. With a passion for storytelling, she has often partook in creative writing and drawing. She wrote songs, stories, poems, and even screen wrote a play adapted from one of her written novellas. Ianna has an undying passion to create which is where her love of all aspects of media bloomed. That is why she hopes to be a Creative Director and storyteller, so that her hobbies could all mesh together and allow her to make a difference in society. In the BRIC Youth Media fellowship, Ianna hopes to learn more about aspects of media that she has not explored yet. She hopes to learn more about the fundamentals of video production such as editing and video. The fellowship will equip her with marketing techniques and knowledge on how to plan and host an event so that she can curate more successful events like these in the future. Most of all, Ianna is honored to be granted the opportunity to amplify the voices and stories of her peers. Her passion is unrelenting and her desire to give voices to the unheard will follow her into the rest of her life journey.


Silver Melendez is a senior at Forest Hills High School’s Law Academy. As a painter, Silver always found new ways to create art, such as painting using only expired makeup supplies. When he is not doing art, however, Silver is either contributing back to his community or learning more about social justice through programs like NYU’s High School Law Institute or We The People. As a current intern of BRIC’s Youth Media Fellowship, he hopes to gain more skills in filmmaking and marketing. He plans to use these skills to create his own film based on his experience on growing up as transgender man in New York.