"Youth Voices Uncensored" to Feature Films By and For Teens on Sexuality, Immigration and Politics

For Immediate Release
Contact: Brian Pickett
[email protected]
(212) 807-6222 ext. 22

New York, NEW YORK – High school students, educators, and free speech advocates from around the city will gather at the New York Film Academy on Saturday, March 28 for Youth Voices Uncensored, an afternoon of film screenings and discussions about how youth media can address important social and political issues.

"Youth today are transforming our political landscape, and they are doing so largely through the world of film and new media," said Brian Pickett, Youth Program Coordinator for the National Coalition Against Censorship and event organizer. "As technology becomes easier to use and more widely accessible, we are seeing youth video production emerge as a significant way for young people to put a mark on their world."

Young people are finding that posting videos on Youtube, MySpace, and Facebook is an empowering and effective way to advocate for social change, Pickett noted.  Further, youth media organizations are playing an important role in expanding the audience for youth-made media and increasing the likelihood that the voices of tomorrow’s leaders will be heard today. 

The 10 short films to be featured at Youth Voices Uncensored address a wide array of topics: from abstinence-only education and sexuality to racism and immigration.  Following the screenings, the filmmakers and audience will take part in an interactive panel discussion.  A schedule of the films is available at ncac.org/yfen

At the event, NCAC will announce the launch of the 2009 Youth Free Expression Film contest, an annual competition that awards youth filmmakers with cash prizes and a scholarship to the New York Film Academy. 

There will also be a special youth theatre performance by CALLE (Creating Artistic Links to Liberation and Expression).

WHO: Youth Voices Uncensored is hosted by the National Coalition Against Censorship’s Youth Free Expression Network, in partnership with Global Action Project, Reel Works, and the New York Film Academy.

WHAT: An afternoon of film screenings and discussions about how youth media can transform the way we think about and address important social and political issues.  The event is free and open to the public. High school students and media educators are especially encouraged to attend.

WHEN: Saturday, March 28, 2009, 1 – 4 p.m.

WHERE: New York Film Academy, 100 East 17th Street (near Union Square)

Participating organizations:

The National Coalition Against Censorship is a coalition of 50 non-profit organizations dedicated to protecting rights and principles guaranteed by the First Amendment. NCAC’s Youth Free Expression Network is a coalition of teens and adults committed to defending free expression rights of youth.

Since 1991, Global Action Project (G.A.P.) has worked with young people, specifically those most affected by injustice, to build the knowledge, tools, and relationships needed to produce thought-provoking media on issues that affect them and their communities, and use their media for dialogue and to build community power.

Reel Works Teen Filmmaking is centered of the conviction that every young person has a story to tell and an important contribution to make our world. We believe that filmmaking holds within it essential disciplines of literacy, communication, creative and critical thinking, storytelling and teamwork that young people need to effectively express their unique visions. We say to teens: You have a voice. Use it!

The New York Film Academy was founded on the philosophy that "learning by doing" combined with best industry practices is more valuable than years of theoretical study for filmmakers and actors. This educational model allows students to achieve more in less time then at any other university, school or institute in the world.

CALLE (Creating Artistic Links to Liberation and Expression) is a bilingual (Spanish/English) street theater project at Art for Change where high school aged youth voice their visions and opinions through theater in an increasingly privatized and segregated city.