Today: Trayvon Martin Infuses 2014 Chicago Youth Film Festivalasn_reellook2014_slider.pngTeens Release Violence "Intervention" Films At Youth Film Festival, "A Reel Look At Their Neighborhoods"

CHICAGO, May 12, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ --


As Trayvon Martin's father calls for a renewed civil rights movement leading up to the one year anniversary of the trial that acquitted George Zimmerman, Chicago high school students are using film as a platform to galvanize the nation's languishing civil rights progress. In this year's entries in the 7th annual Chicago Youth Community Film Festival, "Reel Look," more than 350 youth from 12 Chicago alternative high schools tackle hard-hitting issues to provide alternatives to the violence occurring in their neighborhoods and communities.

In light of the heightened awareness of social justice issues brought about by the racially charged Martin case, student films examine how the lessons learned can be turned into interventions:

  • "Know Your Rights, But...!" – Concerned that "knowing your rights" in an arrest situation could lead to attitudinal problems, filmmakers teach how to communicate with law officers without being perceived as a threat.
  • "Putting the Cent$ In Senseless Violence" – An unabashed, rarely seen look at issues below the surface of African-American communities that contribute to violence and incarceration.
  • "School-to-Prison Pipeline" – Through man-on-the-street interviews, this news segment will test awareness as well as apathy toward the issue and seek solutions to the vicious school-to-prison cycle.

Alumni of the Film Festival were part of a recent study to assess the influence of media programs on participants into their adulthood. The study "Life After Youth Media," presented by the Chicago Youth Voices Network on April 29, 2014 and prepared by the Social IMPACT Research Center for The Robert R. McCormick Foundation, found that youth media programs provide positive influence into adulthood by teaching foundational life skills, transferable career skills, and the importance of being informed about and engaged in the world around them.


2014 Chicago Youth Community Film Festival Judges:

  • Nelson Carvajal – Filmmaker; Content Creator; Writer for indieWIRE, Fandor & RogerEbert.com
  • Dr. Susan Doll – Professor of Film & Art History, Ringling College of Art & Design; Official Blogger, Turner Classic Movies
  • Dr. Vinni Hall – Board Secretary, Illinois State Board of Education
  • Jeff Harder – Filmmaker, Associate Professor of Communications at Loyola University of Chicago
  • Phillip Koch – Screenwriter, Director, Producer of Film Police! & "Chicagoland" on CNN
  • John Petrakis – Film Critic, Christian Century; Adjunct Prof., School of The Art Institute of Chicago; Lecturer, University of Chicago
  • Zak Piper – Independent Producer; Sound Recordist; Director, Kartemquin Films; Co-Producer, "The Interrupters"
  • Ines Sommer – Filmmaker & Executive Director, Percolator Films & Sommer Filmworks

Chicago Youth Community Film Festival Participants:             

  • Opening Presentation by Betsey Grais, Deputy Director & Rich Moskal, Director, Chicago Film Office
  • Guest Emcees and Performance by Kuumba Lynx


Monday, May 12, 2014

4:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. Reception and Awards Program (Invitation Only)

6:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. Premiere Screening of 2014 Festival Reel (Free & Open To The Public)


Claudia Cassidy Theatre, Chicago Cultural Center

78 E. Washington St, Chicago, IL


In its seven-year history, the Chicago Youth Community Film Festival "Reel Look" has equipped 2,350 at-risk youth for the 21st Century workforce by integrating media and technology literacy into classroom curriculum to motivate students to stay in school and graduate. The Film Festival engages a range of teens, many of whom have been disconnected and face extraordinary obstacles in their everyday lives, and empowers them not only to have a voice, but also to intervene and take action on civic issues affecting their neighborhoods and their individual lives.

The Chicago Youth Community Film Festival is co-sponsored by Community TV Network (CTVN) and the Alternative Schools Network. All of the films were created for broadcast and webcast and featured on CTVN's cable access TV show, "Hard Cover- Voices and Visions of Chicago's Youth," and on the YouTube channel, hardcoverchicago.

SOURCE Alternative Schools Network


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