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Cinema Junkie by Beth Accomando

Teen Producers Project
A free screening of documentaries on homeless youth will be presented at the Central Library on Sunday April 20. (MACSD)

On Sunday April 20, the San Diego Public Library will screen a pair of films dealing with San Diego's homeless youth. The first film is Telling the Streets: True Urban Legends , and the second is Shadow Children: Five Stories from the Street . The films will screen at 2:00 PM in the Central Library 3rd floor auditorium located at 820 E Street in downtown San Diego. A discussion with the youth and the filmmakers will follow the screening. This event is free.

Telling the Streets: True Urban Legends is the culmination of a 15-week after-school video production, education and training program designed to document powerful stories that surround homeless youth in San Diego. The film is described as: "Stories of individual personal experiences become legends when they are of value to the community. These narratives often communicate essential information on how to survive, and even thrive, on the streets: what dangers to avoid, what services are available; what works and what does not." The program was available at no cost to students participating. It was funded by the California Council For the Humanities with support from The Media Arts Center San Diego. Ellen Delacruz, Language Arts teacher at Toussaint Academy of the Arts and Sciences, worked with Antone Minard Ph.D., folklorist, and humanities scholar, on writing the narratives, which the youth created.

Shadow Children was produced in The Production Center for Documentary and Drama at SDSU. Alex Farnsley, the writer-director will be present to answer questions after the Sunday screening. Farnsley (whose work has consistently impressed me and I have highlighted it at Film School Confidential, a showcase of local filmmakers that I curate) is a writer, photographer, and documentary filmmaker. His work has focused on the problems children and young people encounter on the road to adulthood. Shadow Children received a 2003 Southwestern Student Emmy Award, Honorable Mention in the International Broadcast Educators Film Festival, and a finalist berth at the prestigious international Angelus Awards.

The Media Arts Center San Diego describes its Teen Producers Project as "having been working with underserved youth in the community for the past five years and has dedicated itself to educating youth in the media arts and emerging technologies for use in self-expression, community building and social change. Using video production to preserve important community stories, these students address community issues and gain inclusion in our technology based society." I have included a number of Teen Producers Projects' short films in Film School Confidential, and have frequently been inspired by their work. It's great to have a program that allows teens (and even younger kids) to present their perspectives on stories from their own communities. For more information about the Teen Producers visit the Media Art Center San Diego website. And kudos to the Library for providing a venue for screening locally produced work.

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