By Mack Chico
Three new short films exploring what it means to come of age will premiere at New York City’s School of Visual Arts Theatre on Tuesday, December 7, 2010. Esteemed film directors Joel Schumacher, Malcolm D. Lee, and Cruz Angeles donated their time to direct the scripts written by teenagers.
The films are part of Scenarios USA’s REAL DEAL program, an educational initiative that facilitates a unique partnership between teenage writers and distinguished film directors to produce short films. Nearly 7,000 students participated in the eighth installment of the REAL DEAL curriculum and national writing contest on this year’s REAL DEAL theme—gender and masculinity. Three scripts were chosen to be produced for national distribution.
The films in the REAL DEAL series, 22 in all, reach an audience of 15 million on television outlets such as Showtime, MTV and BET, at film festivals such as the Cleveland International and Miami Film Festivals, and through online streaming. The films are incorporated into lesson plans in classrooms and community centers in every state.
The 2010 films address a variety of current issues facing today’s teens— from sexual orientation and abuse, bullying, double standards, and gender-based harassment to the economic realities of pursuing higher education despite cultural and financial hurdles. Each film illustrates an entertaining, gripping, and unique youth perspective.
In conjunction with the film premiere is the unveiling of “Us in the Mirror”, a photography installation inspired by one of the 2010 films that features LGBTQ youth of color. The exhibit opens immediately follows the film screenings and is scheduled to travel to schools across the nation throughout 2011 as another part of this remarkable educational initiative.
About the event:
WHAT: Scenarios USA REAL DEAL World Premiere School of Visual Arts Theatre, 333 West 23rd Street, NYC
WHEN: Tuesday, December 7, 2010,
6:45 Doors Open,
7:30 Film Screening followed by Q&A with writers and directors
8:45 After party and “Us in the Mirror” photography installation
TICKETS: $25 for General Admission; $100 for Priority Seating
RSVP: November 23rd, seats are limited
About the films:
Man in the Mirror, written by Treviny Marie Colon, (age 18), of Bronx, NY is the story of Jason Gutierrez, a Puerto Rican from New York City and the quintessential All-American guy. Status comes at a price as rumors spread that Jason is gay. With his identity questioned, Jason pushes himself to understand who he is and how far he will go to prove that he’s just one of the boys.
Directed by Joel Schumacher – The Lost Boys (1987), Falling Down (1993), The Phantom of the Opera (2004).
Life’s Poison written by Angileece Williams (age 16) of Cleveland, OH tells the emotional story of 18 year old Eliyah Howard who thinks he knows what a real man is. He learned most of it from his abusive father. Family, love, and tragedy test the lessons he has inherited. Is it too late for Eliyah to re-define what a real man is? Directed by Malcolm D. Lee – The Best Man (1999) and Undercover Brother (2002).
A Man Made Early written by Angelica Hernandez (age 18) of Weslaco, TX focuses on high school senior, Tony Rodriguez, who struggles with the decision of attending a college close to home or accepting a scholarship from a university in another state. Tony will have to confront peer pressure, cultural limitations, and family expectations to make his own decision.
Directed by Cruz Angeles who was recently nominated for the Sundance Film Festival Dramatic Grand Jury Prize and Gotham Awards Breakthrough Director for Don’t Let Me Drown (2009).
About Scenarios USA:
Scenarios USA (www.scenariosusa.org) is a national non-profit organization that uses writing and filmmaking to foster youth leadership, advocacy and self-expression in students across the country, with a focus on marginalized communities. Scenarios USA believes that by valuing youth and their stories, we strengthen academic achievement, promote civic engagement, and support young people in becoming engaged citizens and healthy individuals.
The 2010 Scenarios USA World Premiere is sponsored by Griffin Dunne, Deluxe New York, Kodak, School of Visual Arts Film School, Mad.House, Abel CineTech, Final Draft, Crew Cuts, Carl Posey Catering, Bottlerocket Wine & Spirit, All Car Rent-A-Car, Bowne, The Balanced Plate, and Union Hall.