projects that matter

Giving Back Through Projects That Matter

Happy Giving Tuesday

When the concept of the Projects That Matter Initiative (PTM) sprouted in 2009, we knew it could create positive change. Unbeknownst to us, the coming years would bring unprecedented inspiration fueled by the energy and passion from the incredible people we meet. Their infectious kindness, optimism, and warmth is powerful. This kind of altruism is integral for the betterment of our world. We deeply admire the individuals, families, nonprofits, and organizations we have been fortunate enough to work with. As we continue this journey, we strive to give all that we can.

The PTM Initiative provides professional digital media services to Non-Profits at a discounted rate. We feel giving back is essential in cultivating stable and productive communities. PTM is our driving force to live out that mission.  Through visual storytelling, we capture the stories of our clients so others can vicariously step into the shoes of another. As Mr. Rogers once said, “There isn’t anyone you couldn’t learn to love once you’ve heard their story.” The people we have worked with make compelling impacts within their communities. Telling their story through PTM is our way to give back.

Recently, PTM has had the opportunity to collaborate with both new and old clients, who’s companies have each had a tremendous impact on their communities. Here are their stories. 

projects that matter

Laureus + Lost Boyz

After serving a short term in prison, Lavonte Stewart decided to use baseball and softball as an approach to support the youth of Chicago’s South Shore community. The implemented programs within Lost Boyz has encouraged youth to engage in the community instead of turning to detrimental patterns. Serving 144 youth in 2018, Lost Boyz gives back by improving the lives of not only the youth, but their families and communities. We wanted to tell their story because of the dedication and kindness that Stewart and the Lost Boyz community exudes. The impressive effort put forth to help the youth community epitomizes the PTM mission.

PLAY

FAAR

The Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility (FAAR) aims to eliminate impaired driving by starting a conversation. Through avenues like celebrity campaigns, countrywide statistics, and online resolutions, FAAR informs and encourages individuals to exemplify responsibility. Responsibility.org offers ample information, including comprehensive solutions and resources, to facilitate a healthy and safe community. Through PTM, we show how much FAAR cares about fulfilling their mission. They are committed in what they believe and are unwavering in helping others make better choices. With passion, they give back by fighting back against impaired driving and consequently saving lives.

PLAY

Mission First Housing Group

Mission First Housing Groups’ mission is to develop and manage affordable, safe, and sustainable homes for people in need with a focus on the vulnerable. They ensure our residents have access to resources to help them live independently. Every year we collaborate with Mission First Housing Group to document and share the story of one of the amazing individuals they offer aid to throughout the year. PTM collaborated with this organization so others could discover the benevolence of Mission First. Not only is this organization combating homelessness, they are unifying people. The work that this organization does effectively improves the lives of so many and we are grateful to be a part of their mission.

PLAY

Fred’s Footsteps 

Fred’s Footsteps is a Philadelphia based non-profit organization that provides direct financial assistance to otherwise financially stable families facing a child’s hospitalization. They provide a funding bridge to working families for a period of one year to help them adjust to their child’s changing needs.We have worked with Fred’s Footsteps through PTM for three years now, but their dedication and commitment to relieving the worries of others never ceases to amaze us.

PLAY

We are awe-inspired by the people within these organizations that are dedicated to positive change. The impact caused by these individuals is invaluable to the health and growth of the people and places we care about. At the Projects That Matter Initiative, we are whole-hearted in bringing inspiring stories to others. This to us, is giving back. 

If you would like to learn more about our Projects That Matter Initiative and how we can help your organization tell their story, please contact us today or click on the “Learn More” button below.


This project was made possible through our Projects That Matter Initiative.  The Projects That Matter Initiative is a Philadelphia based video production program with the mission of  providing professional digital media services to Non-Profits at a discounted rate. To learn more about how your organization can join the initiative and qualify for creative content production discounts click below.


incubator project

JTWO's Incubator Project Brings you "In Coexistence"

In Coexistence

by Elle Chernaskey

Well, it’s finally uploaded. After many weeks of trial and error, my intern project has come to an end. Although there have been some very stressful moments, I am so grateful for all that I learned.

Some key lessons that I’m taking away from this project: really focus in pre-production to avoid being totally flustered on the day of the shoot, be cognizant of background noise that could may just ruin most of your audio (wind ugh), don’t forget to turn the mic back on (worse than the windy audio), if you suck at post-production like me — become friends with Youtube videos – they are so helpful, kill your darlings (big thanks to Ian) sometimes you just have to get rid of some stuff your clinging to, and most importantly make sure there is a story. I still feel like I did not capture a sufficient story but it was my first film from start to finish and I’m happy with where I started.

Elle Photo 1

I feel good about most of my shots and I think I know where the subpar ones need improvement.  Shooting was the most exciting part of this project. I woke up at 6 am the day of, got my coffee, and studied my storyboard. I felt like a lot of what I visualized came to life which is a great feeling.

Elle Photo 3

Learning more about Premiere was a great experience. I feel like I now have a solid baseline knowledge of the application and can continue to learn with skills that I didn’t have before. Thanks to Maria Cantu for always answering my questions even when you were busy — you’re the coolest.

Audio was the most difficult part of the project. In some of the early morning recordings there’s a lawn mower that I didn’t even notice because I was so focused on the shots. Luckily, I was able to include other audio that surprisingly worked. I had to come back another day to record audio. I recorded in a rush (the subject needed to get to a surprise party — another lesson for me — plan ahead better) and it came out pretty poorly. I also had to use someone else’s computer since my hard drive had recently crashed. In the end, I made some adjustments to the audio that made it workable. I definitely could have spent more time fleshing out the script but time was dwindling. I got lucky with some things that I was underprepared for.

This internship so far has been wonderful. Now, I am ready to improve on my shortcomings, learn as much as I can about gear and applications, and hopefully get on set more. I am so excited for my next film and to incorporate the knowledge I have gained. Thanks to everyone at JTWO for the support!


This project was created as part of the JTWO [INC]ubator Project. A semester long internship program built from the ground up to give young filmmakers, content creators, and all around hungry for a challenge individuals a place to stretch their creative minds while preparing them for the road ahead.

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Elle Chernaskey

JTWO Welcomes Intern Elle Chernaskey

Myself from Five

by Elle Chernaskey

I have always been a vessel of energy ready to expend it in any possible way. For as long as I can remember, I was go, go, go, in all facets of my being. Physically, I would happily exhaust myself. Running laps around the house, challenging boys in basketball, and riding my bike until sun-down forced me to return home. Socially, I wanted to interact with everyone. I would practically trip over my feet running down my windy stairs to pick up the phone JUST for a few seconds of dialogue (no one was ever calling for me lol). Mentally, I pushed myself to my limits. In college, I often said yes to one too many commitments and found myself rushing from club meeting to a nanny job to an internship to the climbing wall. Whenever I felt my energy fading, I thought back to myself at age five.

incubator project

Although five is young, I was determined, didn’t give a crap what anyone thought, and loved a challenge. Like any five year old, I took in the world around me with attentiveness and curiosity. Every new moment was different and exciting. At this age I vehemently believed with every blink, a photograph was logged in my “picture book,” that would be compiled after a lifetime of blinking. In my highschool years, I would try to channel this perspective, hoping to see the world with similarly fresh eyes.

In college I upgraded my DSLR and vowed to travel as much as possible. I wanted to answer to my creative urges which was definitely not going to happen in my backyard. I spent hours researching ways to travel on a budget. I think my face still infiltrates the financial aid dude’s nightmares. But my perseverance to see the world worked. I was lucky enough to study in Costa Rica and Italy. I moved to Alaska for a summer. I climbed pyramids in Mexico. Saw the juxtaposition of cleanliness crossing the border from the U.S. to Canada. I backpacked Europe a few times solo and then once with friends. I owe this ambition and zest for new adventure to my five year-old self. That is who reminded me to be free-spirited, to not be afraid, and just go for it.

During my times of travel I found digital photography incredibly rewarding. Not only was I able to see beautiful places, I could also capture exactly what I wanted to remember and cherish. This excitement  led me to photographing solo backpacking trips to glaciers, cloud rainforests with eclectic species, and my friends drinking too much wine at biodynamic farms. Super sick experiences that I’m so grateful for. After graduating college a few months ago, I knew my traveling would come to a hiatus. I had some big decisions to make like where to work and where to live and nothing was really happening. A few months of crippling anxiety ensued and I was scared I’d end up climbing the corporate ladder. Five year old Elle would have none of that.

Through a painstaking job search and very stressful summer, I finally decided to apply to some creative internships. I felt really nervous about applying and knew I would be up against incredibly talented film students with much more talent and knowledge. But the mindset of Elle at five surfaced and I had to tell myself to not doubt so much and apply. A few days later I heard back from Jelani and was so stoked. After researching JTwo’s incredible work, I was surprised and excited to be considered and eventually get the position. Although I have the typical week-one nerves, I feel so lucky to be in this seat and I cannot wait to learn from this dynamic staff. Thus far I have felt extremely welcomed. I am ready to bust my ass and do everything I can to contribute and collaborate. Although I know I’m never getting my picture book, I hope to look back at times like these and smile.

incubator project


This project was created as part of the JTWO [INC]ubator Project. A semester long internship program built from the ground up to give young filmmakers, content creators, and all around hungry for a challenge individuals a place to stretch their creative minds while preparing them for the road ahead.

Learn More


incubator project

JTWO Bids Farewell to Adam Nitzberg and Rich Owens

Goodbye Friends 

by Adam Nitzberg

Hi, I’m Adam, and I am about to finish my last week as an intern at Jtwo Films. It has certainly been a summer to remember. I think the main thing I learned has definitely been the importance of organization. I straight up cringe when I look back at my old projects and see the dumb workflow I used to have. Some of the assignments may seem monotonous but the experience has been invaluable to the growth of my creativity. It’s easy to take an interesting photo of something that is inherently interesting, like a skyline or something. But, if you want to really cut your teeth, try taking hundreds of photos of something as mundane as a baseball bat while having them be interesting.

Thanks so much to the whole gang: Justin, Travis, Real Maria, Jelani, Brittney, Ken Griffey Jr., and Nova. You guys all taught me so much about your various specialties. Shoutout to the other interns, Greg, Other Maria and Rich. You guys are some quality people with bright futures. (Sorry I keep swapping your names Rich and Greg) Sleeper shoutouts to the smell of Strawberry Street, Crazy Guy, and my dude outside of 7/11. Big shoutout to Jared, Diesel and the rest of the guys at Victus.

I’m not sure yet what the future holds but I know it has been made better by my experience this summer at JTwo. If I were to offer one piece of advice to future interns, it would be to watch out for the crazy guy across the street; he pepper-sprayed a chick once.

See ya soon!

by Rich Owens

When I took this internship at JTWO Films I had three goals:

  1. Learn more about cinematography. To become a director/producer I think it’s important to understand how to frame a shot well, even if I don’t have aspirations to be behind the lens.
  2. Increase my confidence as an editor. I saw JTWO as an opportunity to edit some slick projects and expand my portfolio.
  3. Become a better storyteller. When you’re telling a story, whether it’s for a small edit or a feature film, it’s critical to be able to piece together the puzzle. And the only way to improve is through repetition and practice.

Well…it has been two and a half months and I’m confident I’ve accomplished my goals in all three areas. I’m nowhere close to where I want to end up, but I believe that I’ve taken a huge step forward after a summer at JTWO Films.

The opportunity to shoot, edit and produce two of my own short films along with my fellow interns was extraordinary. I’d like to thank the JTWO squad for being exceptional guides and mentors as well as my fellow interns for their kindness and passion. It was a joy to collaborate. There’s something special about surrounding yourself with people on a similar journey.

Human sandbag for life!


This project was created as part of the JTWO [INC]ubator Project. A semester long internship program built from the ground up to give young filmmakers, content creators, and all around hungry for a challenge individuals a place to stretch their creative minds while preparing them for the road ahead.

Learn More


Maria Cantu

JTWO Welcomes Intern Maria Cantu

Time to Swim

by Maria Cantu

The fact that I’m writing my first JTwo blog is still pretty unbelievable to me.  Just a couple months ago I was in my apartment, laptop on my legs, guac and chips next to me, feeling totally screwed for a Summer internship.   I went through many websites, but it was hard to find a company that I truly wanted to intern for, and the clock was ticking for application deadlines.  I guess you could say I’m a little bit selective with where my time goes.  I didn’t want to just send out 100 applications to places that I honestly had no interest in, just to have something to put on a resume when I was done.  I wanted to learn. I wanted to be challenged. I wanted to be excited and passionate about the content I was creating. So, I ended up applying to just one place…

But first, let’s bring it back a little bit.  I’ll give you a brief run down on me. I’ll start by saying I wasn’t one of those people who felt they were destined to be a filmmaker or whatever.  The truth is, my lack of ability to do anything math and science related are what sort of lead me to embrace my artsiness. I put my all into whichever medium I was creating in, whether it was singing, artwork, crafts, doing girls hair and makeup, or making videos.  I got my start in video production when I was in high school. I thought it’d be interesting to try art in a different form. I really enjoyed it and I was pretty good at it for my age (Even though now I look back and cringe). However, I’d do all this work, hand it in and get an A, but I wouldn’t really feel satisfied in the end.  Something was missing. It made me question whether I wanted to stick with this in college.

Fast Forward a few years and I’m about to be a senior at Temple University, graduating with a Media Studies and Production degree.  So, I ended up sticking with it. As time goes on, I keep growing and learning more about myself as a person and a video creator. After making a video for Blind Sports Organization, I felt that fulfillment that I was lacking in high school.  The difference was that now I was telling stories that had more of a purpose; that had some substance. I’ve found that I feel the most fulfilled when I make connections with people and do stories on non-fiction topics that can speak to someone in some way, and I want to continue on this track for the rest of my production career.

Ok, now let’s get back to the internship search… I got to the 13th company listed on Google: JTwo Films.  I went through their website and with every click and scroll, I liked it more and more. I definitely was able to connect with the content they created and their overall vibe.  Between the personality-infused language of the website, the Projects That Matter Initiative, and the quality of the videos- wait, hold up… they have dogs?! Ok where do I sign up?

I didn’t think there was a snowball’s chance in hell that I’d make the cut.  It suddenly felt like everything I’d previous done wasn’t even good, so I held off on applying.  Then, one night around 9pm, I was like, “Ok, what do I have to lose?” So, I typed from the heart and hoped whoever read it would see something in me, something that maybe I didn’t.  The next morning, Jelani emailed me back for an interview, then a couple weeks later he wanted me back for another, and you can guess what happened next.

Yup, your girl made the freakin’ cut.  I got one of the four spots and I couldn’t be more grateful to the JTwo team for taking a chance on me.  I guess I didn’t have to be so doubtful of myself after all. Now here I am, one week in and it’s been great!  I only really messed up with the file naming, accidentally deleted my source footage, and misplaced my Premiere file *nervous laugh*,  but a mistake isn’t a bad thing so long as I learn from it… and then don’t ever do it again otherwise Travis will probs kill me. I also found out Justin hates overlays and I put a bunch of them in my first video, so that’s good.  But hey, when I was editing, this accidental cut perfectly aligned with the bass drop so I guess you could say I’m kind of killin’ it.

Alrighty guys, that’s about all I have time for.  Now I’m going to develop my intern project because we’re filming this week.  I’ve been pushed into the deep end and now it’s time for me to swim.


This project was created as part of the JTWO [INC]ubator Project. A semester long internship program built from the ground up to give young filmmakers, content creators, and all around hungry for a challenge individuals a place to stretch their creative minds while preparing them for the road ahead.

Learn More


bringing_hope_home

JTWO Helps Bringing Hope Home Celebrate 10 Years

Bringing Hope Home is a non-profit organization that provides unexpected amazingness to local families with cancer through financial and emotional support. Through their Light of Hope Family Grant Program, they offer a one-time grant to pay essential household bills for families with cancer in the Greater Philadelphia Area. We have worked with Bringing Hope Home since 2010 as part of our Projects That Matter Initiative, and this year they are celebrating 10 years as an organization!

17th Annual Great Guys Dinner

This year marks the 17th Annual Great Guys Dinner, a fundraising event that celebrates BHH’s mission of Unexpected Amazingness by gathering the donors, supporters and families they serve. We worked with BHH to produce two separate spots on Great Guy of the Year Dr. Kevin Fox, and Volunteers of the Year Mark McNamara and Ted McCullough.

This project was made possible through our Projects That Matter Initiative.  The Projects That Matter Initiative is a Philadelphia based video production program with the mission of  providing professional digital media services to Non-Profits at a discounted rate. To learn more about how your organization can join the initiative and qualify for creative content production discounts click below.


JTWO says "see ya soon" to Intern Alex Siwik

Not a goodbye, but a “see you soon.”

by Alex Siwik

During any typical week of a typical semester, my life would tend to feel a lot like the movie Groundhog Day. I was a trapped Bill Murray doing the same stuff everyday of every week. However, this semester was a lot different.

Every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, I spent my days with the folks at JTwo. Whether I was at the office or on a shoot, each day was different. I was no longer Bill Murray. One day I would be camera assisting or shooting product photos for Victus, and the next editing a new project. It was always interesting and kept me on my toes… not to mention, the people at JTwo are hilarious and very fun to work with.

They say you learn the most by doing things, which is certainly true. I learned a ton on set, but believe it or not, I also learned a whole lot just by eavesdropping on some of the conversations flying around the studio. I often found myself tuning in to Travis’s post-production-related talks and commands, usually not understanding some of the lingo, but by the end of my internship, I definitely gained a better understanding of workflow and the importance of being an organization freak. Although my career goals consist of me being a shooter, I feel that these things will help me in general in the long run.

JTwo wasn’t all about work all the time. We did some fun things together, such as go to the ADCP Louix Awards, where I had an embarrassing moment in which I went up to accept an award before our name was even called (Imagine if we didn’t win that award… Moral of the story: Open bars are cool, but don’t get too tipsy at award shows). The coolest thing about the Louix Awards though is that we shot the badass opening film that screened at the beginning of the ceremony, which was perhaps my favorite project I got to work on.

I also enjoyed our trip to DC for the Responsibility.org shoot with Summer Sanders and all the attorney generals. It was a long couple of days, but I got to stay in a pretty nice hotel and be surrounded by super official-looking people in suits. I shot and edited the behind-the-scenes video for the shoot. You can check it out on JTwo’s website or Vimeo page (No, this is not a shameless plug). 

At the end of my internship, Justin tested my abilities and sent me on a trip to Rehoboth, Delaware to shoot a video with Bringing Hope Home. I was totally nervous and afraid that I would screw something up, but everything ended up going very smoothly. It was awesome that the guys at JTwo felt they could trust me to go as a one-man-band and shoot something for them. 

To sum things up, my internship at JTwo was a great experience. When you hear the word “intern,” you may think of a student who is forced to do crap work and then is let go and forgotten about at the end, but at JTwo, I got to work on awesome, real stuff and was more than just an intern. I was part of the team and part of the family. My fellow interns, Ian and Kyung, were also great dudes and I plan staying in touch with them. I will already be coming back to JTwo’s office next week when the Movi Pro comes in, and then again to work with on the next Victus shoot. So yes, I may be shutting the door to my internship, but it is more like opening the door to an extended stay with the JTwo crew.

This project was created as part of the JTWO [INC]ubator Project. A semester long internship program built from the ground up to give young filmmakers, content creators, and all around hungry for a challenge individuals a place to stretch their creative minds while preparing them for the road ahead.

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ian schobel

JTWO Says Farewell to Intern Ian Schobel

Spring

by Ian Schobel

I wasn’t your first.

You told me to be sure this is what I want.

I found you online, all your awards on display, the screen grabs, and the bio.

“We are storytellers.”

I figured your inbox must be worse than the line to a Fortnite cosplay booth but still… I reached out cause I thought I had a shot. You agreed to meet me, you who were so no-nonsense, experienced, but not cynical. I wasn’t that thirsty but I was looking, and it felt like we had just enough in common, like it was the right time for both of us, you know?

You took my hand in yours and we agreed to see each other three days a week. You’d smile at me when I walked in. Me, always the boy too up-in-the-clouds to notice the signs, knew you had a thing for me right away, and after a couple weeks you hit me with that you’re-mine-this-right-here’s-the-real-deal nickname: sweat-boy.

I woulda come every day but you know those other classes had me locked down, forced me to commit early, made me hang out late, always sending me emails when I left, reminding me how important they were; cause I’d always talk about you.

Straight up, I cared about them. But not like you. They’d pout but they knew our thing really meant something, like when we drove down to Washington D.C. for Responsibility.org’s Ask, Listen, Learn shoot: a 12 hour day filming with 23 Attorney Generals, and gold-medal Olympian Summer Sanders. It was in the Ritz Carlton conference room, wrapping up the equipment check the night before, that I could see how proud you were that I wrote that script.

It was only supposed to last three months, but you trusted me to touch your software and let me write inside your server. I just want you to know I never took that for granted.

I don’t like to think about that first Wednesday in April, when, realizing the end of the semester meant the end of the internship, I read over the contract I signed three months ago. There, on the first page, it stated that two days from then, Friday, would, contractually, be my sending off. I got so caught up in the days together I didn’t have time to think about life without you.

But that’s it, we’re over, I’m not your intern anymore, and I suck at goodbyes. So maybe, let’s try again, when we’re ready.

This project was created as part of the JTWO [INC]ubator Project. A semester long internship program built from the ground up to give young filmmakers, content creators, and all around hungry for a challenge individuals a place to stretch their creative minds while preparing them for the road ahead.

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Victus Grit Series

JTWO Redefines Victus Grit Series Brand

VictusGritSeriesLogo

 

Victus is one of the leading wooden bat manufacturers in the world and used by Major League Players across America. So when they tasked us with expanding their product offerings and redefining their brand, we jumped at the chance.  Series, named after the Victus Grit Matte Bats was the first product category to launch.  The Grit Series took inspiration from the military and was designed with a utilitarian approach to offseason training. Every article of apparel or piece of gear would be inspired by this as we moved into the design phase.  Along with design, we produced several spots for a pre-launch Social Media campaign.  Check out the full length spot below.


Swing Dreamers

JTWO's Incubator Project Brings you "The Swing Dreamer"

Directed by Alex Siwik

A film student attempts to complete a class assignment on Marilyn Monroe, but instead falls asleep, not realizing his hypnotic trance that lies ahead.

Project Breakdown

I will start off by saying my journey with this project was not necessarily the smoothest. Midway through shooting what was supposed to be a mini-documentary, I hit a bit of a wall. I realized that my vision for the project I pitched was not so clear after all, as I was no longer able to see where the piece was heading. After some heavy contemplation, I decided to put the documentary idea on the back burner and figure something else out.

I made it my goal to keep things simple but visually interesting. As someone who is more of a cinematographer than a writer or director, I did not want to fret with writing a script or having to direct actors too heavily. I also knew that I really loved the footage I already shot for my previous idea, so I decided to incorporate it into a fictional piece and shoot new footage to go along with it.

The film features a boy, Noah Lovas, in a sleep-dance trance with Marilyn Monroe (played by Kaylie Minzola). My background in music often leads me to make my projects very musically driven, so it was almost a no-brainer for me to make a dance piece. I have worked with Noah on dance projects in the past and we work great together. We constantly bounce ideas off of each other and make magical things happen, however, this time was a bit trickier than the rest. The only direction I gave Noah was, “Dance around with a broom in a drunken manner with your eyes shut.” Nevertheless, Noah handled it like a champ and killed it.

I focused heavily on lighting and the color grade with this piece. All of the Marilyn dream scenes were lit rather high-key, much like a fashion or beauty commercial. My inspiration for the color grade for these scenes comes from those old-time photo places you find on the boardwalk. The photos are edited to look very washed and with sepia coloring. For the nighttime dance scenes, I kept things contrasty, with the TV and moonlight being the only motivated sources of light. I feel that the overall contrast between both scenes worked to my advantage in keeping the piece interesting to watch.

Although my original idea for this project did not work out, I am still super satisfied with how things turned out. I certainly learned some things, too. If I could take away one thing from this project, it would be to always have a thorough vision in mind for every project you take on. See it from beginning to end before you even think about breaking the camera out.

Meet the Director

Alex is a senior at Temple University, where he studies Film & Media Arts with a concentration in Cinematography. During his college years, Alex gained production experience through shooting narrative shorts, music videos, and commercial content for local businesses. As a cinematographer, Alex believes that lighting is one of the most crucial elements in establishing a scene and enhancing what the director wants the viewer to feel. In his downtime, Alex enjoys playing music, skateboarding, and reading about new camera and lighting technology.

This project was created as part of the JTWO [INC]ubator Project. A semester long internship program built from the ground up to give young filmmakers, content creators, and all around hungry for a challenge individuals a place to stretch their creative minds while preparing them for the road ahead.

Learn More