In the midst of the crazy holiday season, we hit the pause button last week and literally rolled out the red carpet to celebrate an outstanding group of THINK Together students from LA County. These students, sporting their best dresses and bow ties, came to the theater with their families, friends, and distinguished school district guests to see the premiere of their very own film creations.
This film experience was incorporated into THINK Together’s afterschool program at two middle schools and one high school this fall as part of the enrichment activities we offer to under-resourced students. THINK Together partnered with Unleashing Giants, a production team that trained and mentored the students in their individual roles as writers, directors, actors, and production crew. And they were as proud as we were to see the students walk the red carpet. The kids shone with confidence.
Each of the three short films tackled the theme of anti-bullying. And because the films were conceived and created by teenagers in the thick of schoolyard life, the audience was treated to a raw and unconstrained perspective as the kids captured what they see and experience.
The films moved between straight-to-camera testimonials and dramatized scenes. In Unheard Voices, students provided voice-overs while the camera focused on their faces, mouths silenced by duct tape. “Standing up for another person is the best thing you can do for them…you can stand up and show them you’re not afraid of taking a risk.” And one by one, each student ripped the tape away from their mouths.
“It felt so good to see my written words on screen,” said Amber Chacon, a senior from Bassett High School. “All the students were involved and collaborative throughout the project. It was a learning experience and my favorite part was being able to express creativity.”
When asked what’s next, eighth grader Gustavo Hernandez’s eyes brightened. “I already have a movie idea!”
Throughout the state of California, THINK Together’s programs are investing in students’ futures. When students have program leaders who advocate for their academic and personal success, we see incredible growth. Kids find the confidence and independence to explore and pursue their own unique passions.
When you give a gift to THINK Together this holiday season, you’re writing that story for our students. A story of confidence. And with confidence, their futures…and ours…are bright.
If you would like to check out the films click on the screens below.