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Friday, July 1, 2011

NEWS: Spy Hop Releases 5 New Short Documentary Films Through Reel Stories Program


CONTACTt: Virginia Pearce, 801-532-7500, virginia@spyhop.org


SALT LAKE CITY, UT (June 25, 2011) — Spy Hop Productions intensive film program, Reel Stories, culminates this week with five new short documentaries created by local teens on Wednesday, July 6th at the Tower Theatre. Reel Stories is a free program that gives high school students the chance to write, direct and edit their own documentary film.

This year’s students come from Murray, South Jordan, Salt Lake City, and Esfahan, Iran. The young filmmakers attend Bingham High School, Murray High School, and AMES.

Spy Hop’s classes, whether they are in film, radio or game design, all emphasize the importance of youth voices and Reel Stories is no exception. Frank Feldman, Spy Hop’s Youth Documentary Arts instructor spends the majority of the four-month class helping students find their story and learn how to tell it in their own voice. “This is really their time to tell their stories in the way they want to. Teens have so much to say, but they often feel like few people are really listening” says Feldman. “The films they’ve all chosen to make reflect the way they see the world around them.”

The lineup of five films spans a broad range of topics, including preservation of Native American languages, a grandfather’s love, a woman educating teenage babysitters about shaken baby syndrome, stopping to “hear” the roses, and a moving plea for kindness in an unstable world.

REEL Stories is a class with no pre-requisites, which opens up the world of filmmaking to anyone who’s interested and dedicated. Films from this class have been shown on PBS and HBO and at festivals across the country including Los Angeles Film Festival, Fear No Film, Seattle International Film Festival, and Westport Youth Film Festival.

REEL Stories 2011 shows Wednesday, July 6 at the Tower Theatre at 7:00pm, 876 East 900 South, SLC, UT 84105

Participating students:

Morgan Pratt, Bingham HS

Shanika Fennema, Murray HS

Armin Arash

William Jones, AMES

Cynthia Flores, Murray HS

About the Youth Documentary Arts Program

The Youth Documentary Arts Program is a unique arts and humanities program comprised of four separate classes that provide the participants opportunities to explore stories and issues pertinent to their lives and communities. Participants in the program are immersed in the practical and theoretical aspects of documentary work while developing a variety of skills and abilities. The program enables students to develop and hone innovative processes and technical skills which include story development, the creative process, nonfiction filmmaking styles, camera operation, cinematography, sound engineering and editing. All of YDAP classes (PitchNic Documentary, Reel Stories, Write-Shoot-Ride, and Watch This!) provide youth with the opportunity to work with experienced documentarians while exploring their creativity and a variety of compelling topics, such as stereotypes, diversity, tolerance, racism, cultural knowledge, tradition, urban development, environmental preservation, and community itself.

Spy Hop's Reel Stories Program is made possible with support from; Zoo, Arts, and Parks of Salt Lake County (Tier 1), Salt Lake County Substance Abuse Prevention Program, the National Endowment for the Arts, Zero Divide, The Broadband Technology Opportunity Program, Adobe Youth Voices, The George & Dolores Dore Eccles Foundation, the B.W. Bastian Foundation, the Hemingway Foundation, Salt Lake City Arts Council, and the Utah Division of Arts and Museums.

About Spy Hop Productions

Spy Hop Productions is a nonprofit youth media arts and education center whose purpose is to empower youth to express their voice and with it create positive change in their lives, their community, and the world. Our mission is to encourage free expression, self-discovery, critical and inventive thinking, and skilled participation via the big screen, the airwaves, and the web. Recognized by the White House as one of the top arts and humanities based organizations in the country, Spy Hop was chosen as a finalist for the 2010 National Arts and Humanities Youth Award given by the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities.


Virginia Pearce
Spy Hop Productions
Director of Marketing & Community Programs


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