Living the dream? On first impression I was upset, thinking a bunch of tourists were being ironic by filming this homeless guy and then I saw the massive camera and realized this wasn’t a casual endeavor but a major investment and they must be making a film. The so-called homeless dude must have been an actor or maybe even the director, because he was discussing the filming with the crew in a relaxed, collegial way. And, as I walked away, I was still upset.
I directed and edited this video about a very cool program created and run by the Puyallup Tribe of Indians. Of course, I had a lot of help putting it together. My colleagues at the Center for Court Innovation, especially Adelle Fontanet and Leah Russell, played invaluable roles as co-producers, and the team that runs the Tribal Justice Exchange provided crucial advice and feedback.
The video features the natural wonders of the Puyallup community’s tribal land as well as the talents of cinematographer Juan Carlos Borrero. Composer and musician Dawn Avery gets credit for the fantastic soundtrack. But at the heart of the video are the folks who created the amazing GREAT Camp, both staff and students. They welcomed us into their lives and moved us with their stories. For their kindness, honesty and friendship, I will be forever grateful.
Below is a photo of Juan Carlos, me and Adelle interviewing a group of counselors during last summer’s shoot .
I spoke to members of the Youth Justice Board this week about how to make a video. The board is a very cool teen leadership program that teaches New York City high school students how to analyze policies that affect teens and do something about them. They tackle subjects like truancy, kids in foster care, school safety, and kids and crime. This year’s group is planning on making a training video for police officers that provides youth perspectives on cop-teen interactions, and they asked me questions about the videos I’ve directed and edited. Before I spoke, they placed me in the “hot seat”– a chair at the front of the room where they asked me rapid-fire yes-no questions for seven minutes: Have you been to Europe? Have you ever gone hiking? Do you eat shrimp? Do you know anyone famous? Do you have kids? And then they asked great questions about how to make a video–so great, that I didn’t always have the answers. I’ll be helping them now and then, especially toward the end during the editing. If their thoughtful questions are any indication, I’m sure they’ll come up with wonderful footage to work with.
I spent the day with my colleagues at Bronx Community Solutions (including Ramon, top left, who supervises community service crews, and Robin, at desk in photo at right, the deputy director of the project).
Juan Carlos Borrero, the man with the camera, is helping me make a video about the project, which provides alternatives to incarceration to thousands of people a year. In other words, the initiative allows people who commit low-level crimes to stay out jail and receive important services like job-training and counseling. We spent a few minutes in the freezing (!) cold so Ramon could explain how offenders, as part of their sentences, helped paint these wall murals in the Hunts Point neighborhood.