Archive for February, 2011

Another Student Produced Film

February 17th, 2011

Update: Currently we are raising funds to finish this amazing project written and directed by 15 year old Ema Jane Hutchins with original teen music by Ruby DayBranch. Please consider supporting youth with a tax deductable donation. Call 207-282-5598 for details or write to

A Shoestring for Mackenzie trailer premiered to full house at the Frontier Cafe and Cinema in Brunswick Maine this week. In addition, teen singer songwriter Ruby DayBranch performed a live version of “Voyage”, the main track for the movie that is featured in the 90 second trailer.  It  is a real story about how parents and society encourage kids to know their place and not themselves and what is expected of them and not what to expect. Visually stunning, triumphant, and moving, A Shoestring for Mackenzie is a short, powerful message about the healthy passions of youth. We are very excited to present to you the trailer for A Shoestring for Mackenzie!



Click here for HD version.

In January of 2010, Project AWARE solicited ideas for a movie to be shot at their advanced Summer film Institute. Ema Jane Hutchins, a Sophomore at Sanford High School, and a a crew member for 2 previous Project AWARE movies responded with a powerful story of a 17 year old girl who had experienced challenging times, and now lives the life she wants. It is about the character’s dreams and about the positive impact she has on those around her.

In the spring of 2010, Ema worked with Project AWARE, Gum Spirits and 2 other teens to bring her story to life in a 20 page screenplay. Characters were cast and the Institute drew experienced youth from around the state to act the crew. The movie was shot over 1 week in August. Crew members learned all aspects of production and put those to use bringing the screenplay to film. Find out more about the Project AWARE Summer Film Institute here.

Now in post production the team continues to include Ema, Ruby DayBranch, Gus Minnott, and Emma DayBranch as youth taking the lead in editing, music and more. Gum Spirits continues to act as support for creative and technical issues. Project AWARE, parents and other youth will work on raising the funds needed to complete the movie. If all goes well, it will premiere in the Fall of 2011 and be available on DVD as a resource for schools and communities who wish to inspire and educate youth about following their dreams and passions, and letting go of old stories that get in the way. If you want to help in any way to bring this amazing youth project to the finish line please call or e-mail Project AWARE at 207-282-5598 /

Keep tabs on the production through our blog and by becoming a fan on our Facebook page at And also share with your friends!

Maine Youth Reaches Thousands with a Powerful Story

February 8th, 2011
Update April 2011:
Summer Film Institute 2010

Trevor Meader has reached the top ten for a $10,000 Colin Higgins Youth Courage Award chosen from thousands of applicants nation-wide. He could be one of 3 winners picked nationwide! His PSA and work to raise awareness really got their attention. No surprise!

Original post:

Project AWARE holds a Summer Film Institute for students 13 – 18 that supports young people in creating high quality video about issues they are concerned about. 

At the 2010 Institute, Trevor Meador a 8th grade student at Messalonskee Middle School worked with 3 other youth along with actors and crew to create a 1 minute PSA about bullying and harassment. Trevor was concerned about this issue as he had been subjected to bullying at school. 

The PSA was completed and viewed by a group of family and friends at the end of the Institute. It was then uploaded to YouTube where is has received many views. In December of 2010, with Middle School and Project AWARE support, he spoke to 600 of his Middle School peers during a PA program telling his personal story and showing the PSA. Following this event Trevor also visited the school board and a local church. In each case Trevor spoke opening and powerfully about his experience of bullying and showed the PSA

Scene from Bullying PSA

Trevor has received a tremendous amount of support, encouragement and praise for taking the risk to create a powerful video and to be honest and open about his experience with large numbers of youth and adults. He has shown youth in his school the impacts of peer-to-peer aggression and has stepped up to make a change. Trevor now serves as a role model to many. 

At his insistence, and with the support of Project AWARE, the school has initiated an after school leadership group dedicated to address issues of concern to students. The youth involved have met and decided on the following plan of action:  

  1. Create a short high quality video about bullying and / or another student issue that involves students as creators, writers, directors, cast, and crew.
  2. Create role plays and dramatic theater vignettes that address issues
  3. Host the Project AWARE Players – a high school drama troupe of young people dedicated to making healthy choices – for a school assembly in the auditorium. They will present content created by youth for youth.
  4. Marketing and promotions
  5. Screening of issue specific movies
  6. Plan for a Challenge Day 

Congratulations Trevor and the Messalonskee Middle School! For more info and/ or to help out Trevor and the school write: 

Summer Film Institute Crew at Work