UTAH TEENS FIND THEIR VOICE THROUGH SPY HOP’S DOCUMENTARY FILM PROGRAM
SALT LAKE CITY, UT (July 2, 2012) — Spy Hop Productions announces the world premiere of six new documentary films from Utah teens, which will premiere on July 9th at the City Library Auditorium in downtown Salt Lake City. Homelessness, amusement parks, refugees, Haiti, long boarding and art therapy are the subjects of this year’s Reel Stories, Spy Hop Productions longest running film class. This free class opens up the world of filmmaking to anyone who is interested and passionate about telling their story. For almost all of the students, this was their first experience making a film, and the final results are a tribute to their months of hard work.
Spy Hop’s classes, whether they are in film, music or design, all emphasize the importance of self-expression and Reel Stories is no exception. For the last three months, Reel Stories students have wrestled with different story ideas and had some help along the way from award winning filmmakers who were in Utah for events at the Utah Film Center. Lee Hirsch, director of the documentaries Bully and Amandla: A Revolution in Four-Part Harmony and Academy Award nominee Lucy Walker, director of Waste Land, The Devil’s Playground and The Tsunami and The Cherry Blossom both spent time with the class, helping the students fine tune their ideas.
With their help, these young filmmakers have truly found their voice. Ryann Beeler turns her camera on the plight of homeless people here in Utah. Gilbert Bucanayandi, a refugee from Burundi, gives an intimate and intense portrayal of his father and their family's flight from country to country avoiding war, and Mickey Randle turned a humanitarian trip to Haiti with her family into a film about hope and strength. Closer to home, Nick Markham and David Payne look at the love amusement park employees have for their jobs and the plight of long boarding at the University of Utah pending a controversial campus ruling, and Erin O’Kelley highlights the power of art therapy to help young women in a residential care facility deal with their past traumas.
“Our guest filmmakers are galvanized by the opportunity to work with Spy Hop students in a master class setting. It is a very natural extension of our mission to connect established filmmakers with next generation storytellers. We're looking forward to seeing the work created by this year's group of Reel Stories students," said Patrick Hubley, Artistic Director of the Utah Film Center.
REEL Stories premieres Monday, July 9 at the City Library Auditorium at 6:30pm, 210 East 400 South and is free and open to the public. A reception with the filmmakers will follow the screening.
Ryann Beeler (15) West High School, Gilbert Bucanayandi (17) Hunter High, Nick Markham (16) Judge Memorial, Erin O’Kelley (16) Highland High, Mickey Randle (16) Skyline High, David Payne (18) Judge Memorial.
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; Zions Bank, Jones Waldo, Broadview Entertainment Arts University, Zoo, Arts, and Parks of Salt Lake County, Salt Lake County Substance Abuse Prevention Program, the National Endowment for the Arts, Zero Divide, The George & Dolores Dore Eccles 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.