Student-Driven Movie Takes on Issues Facing Local Youth
“I already draw attention to myself when I walk down the street – I’m black.” A couple students laughed; others followed up with questions, animated. Five teens sat around a table, debating whether or not it was baggy jeans and hoodies that garnered the unwanted attention the speaker sometimes sensed from policemen and purse-clutchers, and sharing their own experiences growing up in Brooklyn.
With students traveling from all corners of Brooklyn- some braving almost two hours of Saturday morning buses and subways to make it down to Red Hook- it’s clear there’s more to these young people than the “inner-city grit” and street culture so often latched onto by mainstream media, eager to categorize.
If there is one constant, in fact, in how these teens ask to be viewed, it is their rejection of labels. Their portrayal of characters is nothing if not nuanced- the film they envision anything but didactic.
Enabled in part by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, the “Scene to Screen Project” is part of Dance Theatre Etcetera’s “Tolerance through the Arts Initiative.” Alongside the production of the film, which will employ a professional crew, the producers will create a study guide intended to incite conversation in schools about teen-to-teen interactions and the role each individual can play in creating a more just, tolerant world.
Students will continue to develop the film in the recently-begun acting workshops, with production scheduled for mid-May. To get a feel for where this project is headed, check out the movie that came out of the 2008 program it's based on.
Produced by Dance Theater Etcetera.