05 Jul BridgeUp: Film screening showcases real issues teens face
The 2017 BridgeUp: Film cohort premiered its short documentary films at The New Parkway Theater in Oakland, on May 24, 2017, in front of a packed house. The group of seven high school scholars had been shooting and editing the films for six weeks in preparation for the screening, marking the end of their three-month course in filming and editing.
The three films focused on issues that teens face today. Erika Mejia and Serina Gringe’s film, “El Sueno Americano,” followed 19-year-old, Vanesa, whose family emigrated from Mexico two years ago.
Mejia, who also is an immigrant, said she and Gringe chose their topic because they saw immigration as a broad topic covered in the news, and that they wanted to show a teenage angle. “The goal of our film is to subvert stereotypes about immigrants from Mexico,” said co-director Gringe.
Isabel Torrence, Lily Shannon-Sutter and Claire Brock Mansell directed and produced “Survivor” about a high school freshman named Audrey. Audrey says she was sexually assaulted in a gym class by another classmate. But the assault has not deterred her from speaking out for other survivors.
Torrence, Audrey’s cousin, said, “We think it’s really important to have that example so that other sexual assault survivors can look up to that.”
Finally, Natalie Barr’s and Vanessa Melgar’s film, “Just a Phase,” featured a 16-year-old transgender high school student named Terry.
Barr said they wanted to tell Terry’s story because transgender teens’ stories aren’t shown enough.
After screening their films, audience members had the opportunity to ask the scholars questions about their filming process, and what they gained from the program.
Melgar’s response to an audience question asking what was the most difficult part of the process, “You gotta kill the puppies,” is a problem for most, if not all, filmmakers.
And Gringe, who said she came into the program struggling to making choices on shooting and editing, answered with confidence that her next dream project would be to expand the short film she and Mejia presented.
Gringe said the longer project would “focus on all different aspects of students in high school and what they bring to the school.”
The event ended with all the scholars receiving Magic Grants, a personalized scholarship given to each girl that goes toward buying a beginner camera kit, or other equipment that will help them continue a career in film.