John Travolta’s brother, Joey, is helping a Lodi school go Hollywood by bringing his film camp to town.
Joey, who heads Inclusion Films, now works with about 50 special education and developmentally disabled high school students at Lincoln Technical Academy to create their own films.
“The beginning of the day, I start clapping hands and get everybody clapping the same time," Travolta says. "They don’t know why they’re doing it, but they do it and I say, 'Quiet on the set!' Everybody is quiet, the team comes together right away — it’s really interesting to see.”
He says helping students see life through the scope of a film lens is also improving their lives as a whole.
“Everything that goes into everyday life goes into filmmaking, so they’re learning social skills and life skills through filmmaking,” he says.
Eighteen-year-old Vince Giammona, who is autistic, says he is finding a new but exciting experience.
“It’s very hard for me normally to function in big groups but here I’m with other people that have some similar disabilities of me, so it’s like we’re all in this together and we know that we’re going to do it all,” Giammona says.
Joey Travolta runs film camps and workshops like these across the country. The finished films will be shown like a Hollywood premiere in a couple of months with a red carpet, lights, and limousines — a much better experience than just getting an A on their project, he says.
And all their friends and families will be watching.
“When you make a film, a film is forever," he says. "You can share what your experience was, the collaboration and see it on the big screen.”