Founder and President
The Ghetto Film School
Bronx, New York
Cable System: Cablevision
Video | Press Articles
"The GFS Fellows Program employs a highly effective learning model in which the film and media literacy taught in the classroom is also experienced first-hand by every student participant as they write, shoot, edit, and screen their own narrative stories. By emphasizing clarity, originality, and production value in all student work, GFS drives students to invest a great deal of energy, thought and determination in their creative work. The results can be measured both in their films and in their long-term success: students who complete the Fellows Program have a 100% high school graduation rate, and in 2007, 80% of our Fellows enrolled in college."
After attending Columbia University's graduate school, where he earned a master's degree in public administration and social work, Joe Hall worked for a settlement house and a community development organization in the South Bronx. In 1999, Hall entered the University of Southern California to pursue filmmaking, in order to expand the reach of his community development work. While there, he realized that the expense and elite nature of traditional filmmaking shut many out of even considering creative storytelling as a career, especially the kind of talented young people he knew in The Bronx.
Hall founded The Ghetto Film School (GFS) in the summer of 2000, to connect local students to the film and media industries - providing them with the technology, resources, relationships and training they need to make outstanding film, video and multimedia projects. Currently, more than 400 students have participated in GFS programs and workshops, coming from all areas of New York City to the South Bronx training facilities for hands-on production and cinema studies courses. In September 2009 The Cinema School, developed by GFS over the last several years, will open as the nation's first film high school.
Hall is the recipient of several awards, including the 2005 Mayor's Award for Arts and Culture (alongside Wynton Marsalis and Poet Laureate Billy Collins), and his work has been featured in a range of media including The New York Times, Huffington Post, NPR, PBS, and the BBC. Currently he is finishing a documentary for the Sundance Channel and working on a book about the GFS educational model and history.