Teen Filmmakers On Exhibit At “Visions Of The Future”

Guest post by Gregg Witkin

We sat at the crossroads of Mad Max Avenue and Americana Blvd Friday night as San Jose’s Zero1 showcased film projects that came from the collection “Visions of the Future Activate an Idea/Deactivate a Problem”

The venue for this event was striking for its size, complexity, and sheer imagination.  Broken and destroyed cars were hauled in, cleaned up and aligned towards a 40′ screen made from salvaged wood.  Film goers were encouraged to climb in, on and around the cars to watch the projects.

The radios were all working so sound echoed in the cars as well as the sound system.  The “Empire Drive” in by Artists Todd Chandler and Jeff Stark was a perfect backdrop to highlight what was clearly youth work that not only created with purpose, but left lasting impression on the mixed audience.

My wife and I found ourselves a nice little station wagon with bench seating so we could get close, munch some nachos and see the end result of lots of hard work.  The Adobe group had gathered in the bed of a large pick up truck several cars over and could have easily been mistaken for cowboys and cowgirls by the natural way they all assembled in and around their vehicle of choice.  All they needed was a couple of 10 gallon hats and some hay bales. The surroundings made the youth projects come alive.  The overall feeling we came away with was one of edgy entanglement and we could have easily watched another hour of films.

The two showcase films, “Paper Gardens” and “Hands of Love” took many hours of planning, shooting and editing and were clearly masterpieces of youth work.  Their subject material and delivery blended perfectly with the post modern drive-in setting adding to their already thick story-lines.  For us “Paper Gardens” was simply a film that the entire country of Armenia should see. The environmental short-sidedness left us stunned.  It could be a huge catalyst for positive change in a region that obviously needs it.  My wife and I discussed their plight as we drove home to our tree lined street, it just seemed incomprehensible.

“Hands of Love” was a tale of hope in a place where hope struggles to find light.  In the Kibera slums of Kenya David Were and his fellow students have taken responsibility to clean portions of their community each week.  In a slum that holds 1,000,000 people it appears a daunting task and one that seems hopeless.  However they not only succeed in cleaning portions of their slum, the local people respond with kind words of encouragement and are no doubt an inspiration to those around them.  This is also a must see film for not only adults but teens and young adults.

In between “Paper Gardens” and “Hands of Love” were the projects that were part of the “Build Your Own World” exhibit at Zero1.  The projects ranged from building a physical landscape of the future of San Jose, to recording and mixing what San Jose might sound like hundreds of years into the future.  Students also used green screen technology as well as Adobe’s CS4 programs to insert themselves into various futurist scenarios to highlight growing concern about ecology and existence of humans.

Projects were all completed in the Zero1 workshops and were open to middle and high school aged students led by AYV instructors.  It was inspiring to see groups of students be able to come together and quickly form into teams to take on the difficult task of completing a purposeful media piece in a short amount of time.  It was a credit to how hard the students worked.

Overall the night was one not to miss, the venue was perfect and the projects highlighted the incredible work that Adobe Youth Voice students produce.

Gregg Witkin
Adobe Youth Voices Master Educator