2016 Annual Report




Link to PDF Version

Community TV Network:

  • Promotes positive self-images among underrepresented youth by providing a platform for self-representation and means for dissemination to large audiences, encouraging them to overcome the realities of poverty, inequality, and injustice
  • Stimulates youth development, cultivating critical thinking, interpersonal and leadership skills, strengthening literacy, and fostering the development of strong work habits and real world skills
  • Empowers youth to articulate their own truths, to seek and develop independent perspectives, and to involve their communities in solving the issues that matter to them most
  • Engages underserved youth in quality, sequential technology and arts training, and teaches them to apply this training to explore positive values and attitudes through creative expression

2016 Highlights and Achievements

Hard Cover: Voices and Visions of Chicago’s Youth” CTVN’s award winning, youth-produced TV show, just completed its 29th year, and remains the longest-running show of its kind.
CTVN served a total of 515 youth at our Youth Media Center and at 10 satellite locations throughout Chicago.

Twenty-five new episodes of CTVN’s award-winning, youth-produced TV program, Hard Cover, were broadcast in both Chicago and New York City, Philadelphia at Philly Cam and at St. Paul Neighborhood Network. It is on also on Televue, an online service for cable.

The video, “My Hood; Humboldt Park,” exceeded 42,753 views, leading to a CTVN/YouTube revenue sharing partnership.

Total upload views for videos on CTVN’s YouTube page exceeded 228,571.

In partnership with the Alternative Schools Network, CTVN held the Ninth Annual Chicago Youth Community Film Festival: A Reel Look at Their Neighborhoods at the Chicago Cultural Center Claudia Cassidy Theatre in May of 2016, celebrating the work of students at eight partnering alternative schools satellite locations.

CTVN’s video “Das Ich” was accepted as part of the CIMM Fest Video Festival .

CTVN youth-produced videos were shown at more than 30 community screenings in neighborhoods throughout the city.


Students hard at work at the Youth Connections Leadership Academy. Photo by Vedran Residbegovic

“Working with CTVN was more than working with others in a professional environment. CTVN was like my second family who motivated me to do well and exceed expectations. People like them make me the person that I am today, a college student.”
Torriano Johnson, Senior Executive Producer

“CTVN has changed me in a lot of ways. I learned so much about making documentaries that now I want to study film when I go to college. They taught me how to work well in a group, they inspired me to stand up for what I believe, and they gave me the courage to speak my mind,”                                                                                           Leatrice Harris, Executive Producer

CTVN Youth Media Center Programs

Hard Cover: Voices and Visions of Chicago’s Youth – Cable TV Show and Youtube Channel
Four Hard Cover youth staff curated and produced 25 new episodes of our award-winning, youth-produced TV show
Hard Cover: Voices and Visions of Chicago’s Youth. This show completed its 29th season last year, making it the longest-running show if its kind in the U.S. Hard Cover was aired twice each week on CANTV 19 in Chicago, on Manhattan Neighborhood Network’s Youth Channel in New York as well as Phillycam in Philadelphia and, St. Paul Neighborhood Network in Minnesota.

After-School Apprenticeships

In collaboration with After School Matters, we provided two after-school apprenticeship programs at our Youth Media Center. Youth participate as either apprentices or advanced apprentices during ten-week fall and spring terms, with a stipend paid to those who successfully complete the program. Our apprenticeship program engaged 60 young people who gained valuable after school on-the-job experience while learning valuable technical and soft skills.


“CTVN became a second home to me after a while, especially since the bonds you establish with coworkers is more than just “you do your job I’ll do mine,” it’s a real team and a great friendship. Working with everyone there was a truly worthwhile experience,” Teal Williams, Senior Executive Producer.

CTVN Satellite Programs

Alternative High School Programs
We continued our successful partnership with Alternative Schools Network, offering in-school media arts programs at 11 locations throughout the city. From Rogers Park in the north to Chatham in the south to Austin on the city’s west side, CTVN programs engaged more than 430 youth who had dropped out of High School. Our alternative school programs gave students the opportunity to exercise their creativity in an interdisciplinary atmosphere while earning credit toward graduation. The amazing body of work produced by youth in these programs was put on display at the ninth annual Chicago Youth Community Film Festival at the Chicago Cultural Center.

Above: Students at Winnie Mandela High School pose for a group photo during their in-school program. Below: Students at Winnie Mandela learning how to use professional video and sound equipment. Photos by Chris Rose.

Summer Intensive Program

For six weeks in the summer, we empowered youth through an intensive video training program at Chatham Academy, Community TV Network’s Youth Media Center, Julian High School, Houston High School, Marine Leadership Academy and Antonio Pantoja High School. Youth participants attended six-hour sessions, four times per week throughout July and August. Among the completed videos was “Police Brutality” – a short, interview based video where students and school staff share their view on police brutality; how are they affected by it if at all, and how could the situation be improved.

“I definitely learned a lot of technical skills, everything from computers to cameras. But I think the most important thing I learned here is working together. When you’re working in a group you have to communicate and those people skills have to come out,” Anjelica Cano, Executive Producer.

Journalism Coordinator, Marissa Warner visited classrooms throughout the year and provided hands on exercises to engage youth in the best practices of creating video news. She also worked with instructors to establish methods of incorporating journalism into their curriculum. News pieces produced by youth during these sessions include “The History of Blacks in Tennis”, “Mikva Challenge” at Chatham Academy and Mandela High School, and “ El Tamarin Del Loco” a mock news show produced by Antonia Pantoja High School.

CTVN collaborated with Mike Spikes from the Center for News Literacy at Stoney Brook University, Riza Falk from Erie House and Michael Hannan from the Alternative Schools Network to improve our journalism curriculum.

CTVN’s video instructors attended journalism workshops to improve news production teaching and learning.

Above: Students at Joshua Johnston High School record an interview, led by Journalism Coordinator, Marissa Warner during an in-school program. Photos by student participant.

Growing Social Entrepreneurship at CTVN
CTVN’s Video Services division is a growing social enterprise! We offer incredible value at a low cost – producing professional quality informational and promotional videos for clients while strengthening the social impact of freelance employment and on-the-job training for a select group of youth. Each job is overseen by a professional video producer who, as a mentor, provides one-on-one support and advice for youth interested in exploring a future in media. Video Services is now 29 years old and has completed over 970 video jobs that range from ½ day shoots to fully edited ½ hour productions. The low cost of this service benefits our nonprofit community partners, who require high quality promotional videos for their web sites. Our clients in 2016 included: Alternative Schools Network, The Chicago Park District and Trust for Public Land –the 606 trail. Seven of our youth had the opportunity to work on these productions in 2016. In 2017, we will broaden youth participation in these productions, contributing to their well-being in the world by building trust, promoting the role models approach to advocacy, and offering self-sustainability options to underrepresented communities through media.

Building a Sound Studio at CTVN
A work in progress, the Sound Studio is a flexible, expandable music/film sound production and post-production space with multi-track recording for music, and capabilities for video post production, including Foley and dialog replacement. Our goal is to have a studio to expand our technical training opportunities for young people as well as improve the sound quality of our digital video productions. The studio will feature a recording space and a control room with TV studio workstation software and audio recording hardware. It will add high quality audio playback and streaming to the classroom space. We began this venture more than one year ago and are making steady progress; we will continue to work on this in 2017.

Professional Workshops for Video Instructors, Chicago Public School Teachers, advanced young people and film professionals
A vehicle to build skills and network, the workshops are led by experts, and in the past year included “Microphones,” presented by David Obermeyer; “Camera” by Peter Kuttner, “Use of a Green Screen” by Dan Mihail and “Audio Mixing” by Jeff Kliment. Each was well presented, attended and appreciated by all.

Archiving CTVN Videos
15 original black and white videos from the mid 70s were sent to BAVC/Bay Area Video Coalition to digitize. This was accomplished through a grant from BAVC. This will allow the public to access to these historical pieces. Two University of Michigan students from the School of Information’s Library and Information Science (LIS) program assisted in the preparation of the material by.

We are also at work organizing the original video recordings from 1990-93 used in the production of CTVN ‘s The End of the Nightstick: Confronting Police Brutality in Chicago. The documentary deals with the incidents of torturing suspects that led the Chicago City Council to pay out $5.5 million dollars in reparations in 2015. As part of the reparations agreement, the film will now be part of the Chicago Public Schools’ US History curriculum for 8th and 10th graders. Renewed interest in the case has led to requests to screen our tapes. Their digitalization will make this possible.

Public Video Screenings

CTVN had opportunities to share videos in public video screenings.

“Making Peace in the Streets” and “Peace House” were screened at The Injustice for All Film Festival on April 23, 2016 at Trinity United Church of Christ.

Three videos in the “Peace in the Streets” series were screened at the Oak Park International Film Festival held at the Oak Park Library on September 17, 2016 at Three young people and their video instructor, Bill Sacco, were invited to answer questions from the audience.

CTVN hosted the 9th Annual Chicago Youth Community Film Festival: A Reel Look at their Neighborhoods in the Claudia Cassidy Theatre at the Chicago Cultural Center. The fest featured clips of winning videos produced in the 2015-2016 school year. Trophies were presented to the students for their award-winning films. It was sponsored by the Alternative Schools Network and the Chicago Film Office

Above: Chicago Youth Community Film Festival with Sullivan House High School
Photo credit: Michael Hannan

Financial Statement (unaudited)
Grants – Foundation and Corporate………….………………………………………………$126,410
Grants – Government……………………………………..…………………………………………..$15,860
Program Service……………………………………………………………………………..……….….$67,920
Investment Income…………………..…………………………………………………………………..……..$0
Total Revenues                                                                                                     $241,003

Program Services…………………………….………………………………………………………..$193,003
General and Administrative………………………………………………………………..…………45,000
Total Expenditures                                                                                               $238,003

image07Executive Director Denise Zaccardi interviewed by former student Teal Williams for the live taping of Hard Cover at the Hard Cover 30th Anniversary Celebration and Fundraiser on October 20, 2016. Photo by Muamer Celik.

Thank You

2016 Supporters, who make everything we do possible through their generous contributions.

Arts Work – Chicago Community Trust
City Arts, City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events
The Hive
Robert R.McCormick Foundation
Gin Rosica McGowan Foundation
Col. Stanley R. McNeil Foundation
Illinois Arts Council, a State Agency
Illinois Arts Council, Summer Youth Employment
The Illinois Humanities Council
National Endowment for the Arts

In-Kind Support
Chicago Cultural Center
City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events
Dance SPA
Lisa Carridine
Eli’s Cheesecake
Betsey Grais and Rich Moskal, Chicago Film Office/DCASE/
Jay’s Beef
Jewel Osco
Kartemquin Films
Laurie Little
Lou Malnati’s Pizzeria
Merilinda Concepcion
Milano Hair Design Studio
Museum of Science and Industry
Red Lion Pub
Sam Menetti
Solemn Oath Brewery
Trader Joe’s
Vanessa Fortuna –Glitzy Jade Bakery
World Sport Chicago

Individual Donors
Craig and Diane Amendola
Patrick Battel
Joanna Brown
Paul Buchbinder
Cecelia Burokas
Suzanne Davenport
Mary and Bill Dewyer
Janet Hasz and Tom Golz
Jeff Harder
Beatrice Harris
Nancy Juda
Chris Lytle
Roberta O’Brad
Richard P. Peloquin
Gordon Quinn
Kathryn L. Simon
Natalia Smirnov

Board of Directors
Amber Watson,  TV Producer Viacom
Lisa Caridine, Director, Employee Relations University of Illinois Health Human Resources
Jamie Ceaser Producer Chicago Voices, Ceaser Salad Productions
Laurie Little, Adjunct Faculty, Columbia College, Filmmaker, Artist, Luminist Films
Tony Medici Camera Operator,  ijazz Media
Toyce Mizelle,  Federal Reserve Bank

Advisory Committee
Thom Clark, Heartland Radio, Journalist
Sylvia Ewing,  Adjunct Faculty Columbia College, Author
Juana Guzman, National Museum of Mexican Art
Peter Kuttner, Board Member, International Cinematographers Guild, LATSE Local 600
Tod Lending, Independent Filmmaker
Mirko Popadic, Mir productions
Gordon Quinn, Kartemquin Films

STAFF and Consultants
Denise Zaccardi, Ph.D., Executive Director
Dan Mihail, Hard Cover Coordinator  

Journalism Coordinator
Marissa Warner

Special Projects Producer/Director
Peter Kuttner

Video Instructors
Muamer Celik
Leo Falluca
Dan Mihail
Jon Mueller
Chakka Reeves
Mary Reid
Vedran Residbegovic
Chris Rose
Bill Sacco

image08From left to right: Michael Hannon (winner of our BFF Award), Mary Reid (video instructor), Mary Mitchell (journalist and M.C. of the event), Chakka Reeves (video instructor) and Laurie Little (board member) at the Hard Cover 30th Anniversary Celebration and Fundraiser on October 20, 2016. Photo by Muamer Celik.

Kevin Pementel, Amelia Sacco, Resource Developer
James Pfluecke, Fundraising Consultant
Elsa Guttierez, Bookkeeping
Maria Magdalena, Maintenance

Hard Cover Youth Staff
Christina Elsa Concepcion
Lolito Lindsey
Leslie Silva
Venus Vazquez

College/University Interns
Hannah Schiff, School of the Art Institute of Chicago
Chun Sha  Valparaiso University, Associated Colleges of the Midwest
Lauren Sharp, DePaul University
Kayla Carucci, University of Michigan School of Information
Emily Reitzel, University of Michigan School of Information

Jim Dickert – CTVN Youth Media Center repairs
Jeff Kliment – Sound mixing workshop
Peter Kuttner – Camera workshop
Mark Lawton – Grant research and writing
Dan Mihail – Green Screen workshop
Simona Novinec -#HC30 Event
David Obermeyer – Microphone workshop
Lynn Orman- Music producer for #HC30 Event
Drew Rose – Website and Tech Advisor
Flavie Rose – #HC30 Event
Susan Wisniewski – #HC30 Event

Collaborators and Community Partners
After School Matters
Alternative Schools Network
Chicago Access Network Television CAN-TV 19
Chicago Youth Voices Network
Youth Channel – Manhattan Neighborhood Network
St. Paul Neighborhood Network

Below: More photos from the 30th Anniversary of Hard Cover Celebration and Fundraiser
Photo credit: Muamer Celik

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