Youth Interns celebrate the end of a great summer
Amid a jungle of balloons, streamers, and their own personal walk of fame, the 2012 SPNN Youth Interns welcomed their family and friends to their Hollywood premiere-themed final documentary screening at the Galtier Cinema in downtown St. Paul. This year's interns were the first to have their pieces shown in a real movie theater, so naturally there was some excitement about the event. They made ticket shaped programs to hand out to the guests. They pasted photos of their faces on colorful cutouts of stars. Even the cake was dressed with movie house decor.
The welcome table was adorned with colorful copies of this year's edition of the hot-off-the press Youth Intern Program Zine, as well as enough swag to plaster you and all of your everday belongings with SPNN Youth pride.
The festivities began with fellowship and a hearty spread of barbeque fare, and after everyone had their fill it was time to start the show. Executive Director Mike Wassenaar and Youth Programs Director Nicola Pine kicked the off the showcase with introductions. After that, it was time for the M.C.s to take the stage. Interns Michaela, Joseph, and LaMyiah began by speaking about their journeys through the program.
"You're going to hear a lot about what we did in the introduction to our videos, but we wanted to tell you a little about our personal experiences...When I joined the program I didn't know what to expect, but when I got here, it was a lot of fun. I enjoyed the van shoot, the documentaries we made, and I really liked the people we worked with..."
They shared stories of their struggles and how, ultimately, they all improved throughout the production process. As the summerprogressed they all found their niches, while making some great friends along the way.
After the M.C.s spoke, it was time to watch the videos. The reel kicked off with a stellar intro video produced by peer mentor Destiny Roberts. Accompanied by her own original hip hop tune, Destiny used a combination of footage from some of their production exercises along with some candid footage of the day-to-day activities to create an engaging sequence to warm up the audience.
The first documentary, "Their Story: How they got off the streets," is about youth involved with crime and gangs who are looking for ways to take a new path in life. This production group, made up of interns LaMyiah, Michaela, Tia, and Sandra, worked with community partner, Youth in Transition (YIT), to take the audience on an emotional journey with a group of St. Paul youth who are struggling to overcome sterotypes, peer pressure, and prove that people can change their path in life.
The second piece, titled "The Lightrail," shows different community perspectives about the planning, construction, and ulimate impact of the Central Corridor Light Rail Line will have once it is completed. Interns Max, Joseph, Adrian, and Rashaan worked on this piece with community partner Cycles for Change to construct a dynamic discussion about this multi-faceted issue.
The final documentary, "Banks vs. the People: A Look at Home Foreclosures in St. Paul," covers a topic that has likely affected someone you know-if it hasn't affected you personally: exploitive bank practices and how they've led to high foreclosure rates in St. Paul communities. This group, including Delmar, Tori, My'Eisha, and Amolak, worked with Jewish Community Action (JCA). Along with JCA and some other key community activitsts, the group sought out experts and victims in their community to find out what led to this catastrophe, who it affected most, and what is being done to prevent something similar from happening in the future.
In addition to the final documentary projects, the reel also featured a few other short video projects. Our peer mentors Destiny and Morgan showed a version of their video, "Who Stole the Birthday Cake," which was originally produced as a teaching tool for learning about scripting and storyboarding. There was also a short overview of footage from the Community Productions collaborative shoot for the Ordway Center's Summer Dance Series and a reflection video, produced by Morgan Kaardal, which presented responses from each intern about what they learned from their experience in YIP.
When the lights came up and the applause waned, the interns stayed up front for a question and answer session with the audience. Then, it was time to enjoy a piece of their Hollywood-inspired cake.
Though the interns still had one more day of work in front of them, when the last piece of cake was given out and last balloon was taken down, everyone let out a bittersweet sigh of relief and accomplishment that their lofty goals had been met: great documentaries, great turn-out, great summer.
The 2012 SPNN Youth Intern Program Documentary Showcase will air on SPNN YTV Channel 16 weekly in October. Check our YTV Listings in October for official air times. The reel, as well as individual videos will be available online on demand via the Youth Intern Program Watch Page beginning in September. For additional information about the SPNN Youth Intern Program or to request a DVD, contact Michelle Alimoradi. Special thanks to Unity One Credit Union for donating space and decorations for the final YIP screening.