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High School Students Present Film about Violence

By Brian Rosenberg
Editor in Chief

Nearly 200 people crowded into 9-150 last night to watch a special screening of Youth to Youth, a 27-minute documentary on violence produced by 12 freshmen at the Boston Latin School.

The videotape was organized into five sections, each dealing with a different aspect of violence. The segments explored racial violence, war, rape, police brutality, and the effects of growing up with violence.

The MIT Center for Advanced Engineering Studies donated the use of 9-150 for the screening. MIT also assisted the project through donations of studio time and various technical services. "MIT very generously donated time to transfer the film to wider videotape, as well as studio time," said Sarah Feinbloom, who acted as the film's producer. MIT also offered the group the internal rate for post-production services, according to Clyde E. Tressler, a freelance video specialist who works at CAES.

The project grew out of an assignment Feinbloom gave to the students last year, when she was a student teacher at Boston Latin. She asked each of them to write a short paper on the causes and effects of violence. She then asked a few of the students if they were interested in putting together a video on some of the same topics.

The group began planning the project in April and spent most of this summer filming, Feinbloom said. The students learned to operate video equipment and assisted in the editing and post-production, she added.

In making the film, the students interviewed two Boston police officers, a Vietnamese refugee, two Vietnam veterans, and a variety of local children, including a 12-year-old girl who had been raped by a 14-year-old boy.

All the youths involved said the experience was a valuable one and that they were interested in similar projects in the future. Shea Kidd, who worked on the police brutality segment, said he learned that police realize brutality is a problem. "The police think there are some cops who take advantage of their badge," he said. "Most of the police are good, but there's a small percentage that are bad," he added.

Kidd said he was a little overwhelmed by the hubbub surrounding the film, which included an interview on WBUR yesterday morning. "This was a good chance to do something positive over the summer, and it was fun, but I didn't expect it to escalate to all this. I think it's a good thing, because it shows that youth can have a voice," he said. "We want to let grown-ups know that not all kids are doing bad things."

Many of the young filmmakers found violence to be a big problem. Chris Farrell, who worked on the racial violence segment, said he found there was more violence than he had thought. Brandi Walker, who produced the segment on growing up with violence, was pessimistic about the future. "The little kids I interviewed didn't think [the violence] will ever stop, and I agree," she said. Until recently, Walker lived in Jamaica Plain, where she said violence was a commonplace.

The teens were ambivalent about the future of the film and its possible influence on society at large. "I think [the film] could help a lot if somebody listens to it, but some kids will see it and just be staring at a blank screen, not paying attention," Farrell said.

Feinbloom plans to distribute the film to a variety of schools in the area. She also hopes to have it aired on public television and distributed to schools across the nation.