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Threesixty Journalism: Youth have fun and get serious with film at showcase


Minnesota teen filmmakers will showcase their short videos and films during the 2008 Twin Cities Youth Media Network’s All City Youth Film Showcase at 3 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 25.

This event at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis is an opportunity for youth from all over Minnesota to show their love for filmmaking and network with other filmmakers.

“If this is a barometer for what’s happening (in teen culture), it’s really, really wide ranging,” said Witt Siasoco, program manager of teen programs at the Walker Art Center, and organizer of the showcase. “We have everything from kids that are doing it for fun to kids that are doing it for very serious issues.”

The event is free to the public and takes place Oct. 25 at 3 p.m. in the Walker Art Center’s Cinema. Organizers said to get to the event early as it was nearly a full house last year. For more information, visit the media network’s website here or contact Joanna Kohler at 612-325-7166.

List of 2008 filmmakers:

“Hoop Dreams” by Evan Gabriel and Patrick Risberg

“Impartment” by Nicholas Larkins and Aysha Mazumdar Stanger

“The Great Fairy Journey,” by Anja Maijala, Abby Peddle and Ellie Peddle

“Talent Show” by Aaron Banks, David Sanner and Richard Bland, Communication Arts High School

“Our Story” by Jeanne Pierce, In Progress/Four Directions Charter School

“This Is Me” by David Sam, In Progress/Four Directions Charter School

“Writing Backwards” by Jack Anderson, KHOP-TV

“Relocation” Precious Williams-Burgess, MIGIZI Communications

“The Gun” Trevor Byrd, Ayan Maruf, Abdullahi Omar, Luke Pha and Roba Samera, Phillips Community Television (PCTV)

“Karma” by Hannah Bates, Perpich Center for Arts Education

“The Withdrawal of the Verve” by Abram Pineda-Fischer, Perpich Center for Arts Education

“Cookie Cutter” by Maggie Smith, Perpich Center for Arts Education

“Peace by Piece” by Shauneida Tatum, North High School Polar Producers/Independent Feature Project Minnesota (IFP MN)

“Push Pencils” by Meng Xiong, North High School Polar Producers/Independent Feature Project Minnesota (IFP MN)

“Obama and Race: The Truth” by John Jefferys-White, Eric Monyancha and Frankie McNamara, Saint Paul Neighborhood Network (SPNN)

“The Good, The Bad, The Ugly: Gang Life in Saint Paul” by Tre Anderson, Cameron Mitchell and Zachary Morris, Saint Paul Neighborhood Network (SPNN)

“We’re Screwed” by Hasani Harris and Jasmyn Turner, Saint Paul Neighborhood Network (SPNN)

“Smush” by Madeline Shaw, TVbyGirls

“There are themes of socially conscious work, and then there are personal stories. Overall the pieces were stronger than I’ve seen it in past years,” Siasoco says, “There’s just a wide array of voices out that that need to be heard.”

Two of the films that were chosen are “Writing Backwards” by Jack Anderson and “The Good, The Bad, The Ugly: Gang Life in Saint Paul” by Tre Anderson, Cameron Mitchell, and Zachary Morris.

Siasoco gave this plot summary of film on gang life: “If you watch the nightly news you’re sure to catch a story about the gangs and gang violence, but rarely will you see the story of organizations and individuals working to address the problem. ‘The Good, The Bad, The Ugly: Gang Life in Saint Paul’ works to outline gang activity in Saint Paul and find places where work is being done to change the problem.”

“Writing Backwards” is a movie about how filmmakers struggle with the central concept of a film. ” ‘Writing Backwards’ navigates the audience through the mind of a director’s thought process and is an innovative look at how stories and films are created,” Siasoco wrote in an email.

The showcase is open to Minnesota youth age 18 and younger. Last year, the showcase premiered 24 films, with about one to ten youths working on each film. This year, there are be 18 films made by 33 filmmakers, said Joanna Kohler, who works with the youth media network.

“I think (the Youth Film Showcase) gives young people who make films an opportunity to show their work to a local audience. They put a lot of time and work into a piece,” Kohler said.

The films must have been made more recently than two years ago, and each one last five minutes or less.

Camila Davila, one of the youth curators who chose the films as well as other details of the showcase, is involved with the St. Paul Neighborhood Network through “Set It Up”, a teen-produced television show.

“There were some documentary style films that were extremely powerful and unique, and there were also some really amazing comedies and creative pieces that were extremely interesting,” she said. “It’s a really fun event for everyone, and all the films are really diverse and unique. It’s definitely worth watching them. You get to meet the filmmakers and people that work with media in the Twin Cities.”

Filmmakers don’t have to worry about going under scrutiny and being harshly criticized during the showcase’s process of selecting films. “I appreciate when the filmmakers take risks and make themselves vulnerable in some way,” said Marty Marosi, another youth curator.

“The people that show up aren’t there to criticize the films that go up, but to support the filmmakers who are helping make it happen,” she said.

Marosi feels that being a youth curator is a creative position for her. “We get to arrange the chosen films and make sure they all mesh together nicely as a cohesive body of work, much like how paintings and works are placed in a gallery,” she says, “We’re working on a giant puzzle, and the films are our pieces.”

There will be a question and answer session after the showcase with the filmmakers.

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