Summer Film Institute PSAs

September 10th, 2012

Created by teens at the Project AWARE Summer Film Institute these PSAs tell important stories about what young people are dealing with. Intended as conversation starters, the youth who created these powerful short videos hope they will raise awareness make a difference.

Self Harm

Self-injury is the act of deliberately harming your own body, such as cutting or burning yourself. It’s not meant as a suicide attempt. Rather, self-injury is an unhealthy way to cope with emotional pain, intense anger and frustration. This Public Service Announcement was created by Michaela Payne, Alli Jutras, Amanda Carey, Lillian Ashby, and Lina Caron, directed by Catrina Worcester and edited by Charles Mills II.

Self Image

Young people are bombarded by media and cultural influences about how they are supposed to look. The reality is we are all different and beautiful the way we are. This Public Service Announcement was created by Peyton Feener, Amy Houser, Adela McVicar, Katelyn Kribel, and Katie Radcliff. It was directed by Katelyn Kribel and edited by Daniel Greenleaf Bartholomew Smith.

Project AWARE Programs 2012

August 22nd, 2012

Project AWARE is a 5o1c3 non-profit corporation created in 2003 with a mission to “empower young people to lead”. An empowered young person is a leader and resource in their community, models healthy behavior and is of service to others. To date, thousands of youth and adults have participated in Project AWARE programs. Currently, Project AWARE primarily serves youth grades 6 – 12 in the State of Maine.

Project AWARE provides workshops, presentations, and the Reel Life program. Reel Life includes the Summer Film Institute for youth as well as targeted filmmaking that produces high quality, dramatic educational short movies and PSAs created by young people.

The Reel Life Program reduces risk and promotes health by working with teens to produce high-quality film products that target a specific prevention health issue of concern for the local community. Paired with a showcase premiere event that typically includes stakeholders from all community sectors (e.g. parents, youth, business, faith community), the process simultaneously empowers and builds sense of worth in the youth, while also providing up-to-date prevention information to the broader community. The dialogue that follows plays a critical role in beginning to shift social norms resulting in healthier young people. It also increases marketable skills in students as they prepare themselves for the job market. As a result of this program, teens with the support of Project AWARE have produced 16 PSAs and 7 movies with 5 more in production about issues including prescription drug abuse, bullying, adult role modeling, teen sexual health, and more. The Summer Film Institute is held in August of each year for youth ages 13 – 18. The goal for the Institute (s) is to create a film product about a social issue to be determined by a group of young people. The film institute attendees produce high quality video, which will be marketed to make a difference and raise awareness about the issue that is identified.

Youth Empowerment Workshops offer young people grades six through twelve, and adults, a unique opportunity to understand the risks associated with unhealthy choices such as substance abuse, bullying, and more, in an open, participatory and safe environment. Youth are engaged directly in meaningful dialogue, problem solving, the expression of complex emotions and an exploration of how to raise awareness and encourage prevention of unhealthy actions. A key component is creating a safe venue that can serve as a springboard for further community- or school-based youth action.

Project AWARE Presentations are available for a wide range of audiences (ranging from young people to the prevention / health communities to legislators) Youth share their own personal stories about teen health issues, facilitate activities that engage the audience, and provide education about the health topic. Facilitators often use Project AWARE movies and PSAs as educational tools.

Health education videos and education materials are distributed by DVD, broadcast TV, online (YouTube, Facebook, and website) and at events. Each of the video products addresses a specific health topic and is intended to start conversations amongst viewers and their communities.

The program goals for youth include increased:

  • Knowledge around specific prevention topic (e.g., bullying, underage drinking, suicide)
  • Empowerment and sense of being able to positively influence others
  • Sense of support from adults
  • Positive identify, sense of purpose, confidence
  • Constructive use of time and engagement in creative pursuits
  • Positive values, including sense of caring for others, social justice, honesty and personal responsibility
  • Marketable skills including technical aspects, public speaking, creative thinking, writing, and much more

Summer Film and Fun!

July 9th, 2012
Scholarships may be available – please do not hesitate to inquire! If a teen wants to go we will do everything in our power to help him or her be there.

Project AWARE Summer Film Institute for Teens

Do you think teens could benefit from creating high quality film that makes a difference while guided by experienced movie-making professionals?

If so, there is still space in Project AWARE 5th annual Summer Film Institute to be held in August. Click here for the flyer. Spread the word and act now before it fills up! For more info and to register call Project AWARE at 207-282-5598 or write to projectaware@maine.rr.com .

Thumbs Up!

This institute is hands-on. Attendees of this summer day camp, located in Biddeford Maine, learn new movie making skills, build their resumes, process their own experiences, and bond with peers while making a difference. The content is created by the youth, very high quality and about issues we hear about every day on the news.
It has been life-changing for many attendees (use active links below for more information) :
  • SFI Attendees produces the movie Listen (available on DVD) was produced along with powerful PSAs on cyberbullyingracism and distracted driving.
  • two (13 and 14 years old) attendees created a PSA on parenting that ultimately served as the basis for Project AWARE’s 3rd movie Influenced. This award-winning movie was created at the 2009 institute and is available on DVD.
  • 10 Sanford kids who attended the Institute went back to school, got involved in their film club, and created the award-winning movie April’s Heart
  • a young women returned to her school and created a PSA with her new skills; it received rave reviews and the commercial was picked up, re-produced professionally and aired nationally.
  • PSA created on teen pregnancy has received over 200,000 views on You Tube and has sparked deep conversation about this contentious issue.
  • Recently an 8th grader used his PSA and story on bullying in his hometown; it now airs on broadcast TV in Maine and he was nominated and chosen as a top 10 finalist for a $10,000Colin Higgins Youth Courage Award from thousands of applicants nationwide.
  • 4 young women created a powerful video about sexual assault as they processed their own childhood experiences. Sexual Assault Response Services is planning to use the PSA for education in schools.
  • finally, a 14 year old teen was able to write, direct, and lead in her own movie about the healthy passions of youth. A Shoestring for Mackenzie is planned for a 2012 release.
Once there, kids are engaged and excited about this work. Help us with outreach – change a young person’s life!
Spread the word! List-servs, schools, parents, kids and many other venues are possible choices for networking.

Teen Sexual Health

January 18th, 2012

A team of 25 teens – with adult support – are hard at work creating PSAs and videos about teen sexual health!

Wise and Crazy Teens (and adults)

Here are some of the questions they are answering:

- What do teens think and feel about issues of sex, sexual health and sexuality?

- What do you want adults to know about teens and issues of sex, sexual health and sexuality?

- What do you want/need from the adults in your life regarding these issues?

- What do you wish you could say to the adults in your life about these issues?

The Family Planning Association of Maine in collaboration with Project AWARE are creating video scenarios (scripted role plays); short clips of young people discussing issues for use online and a dramatic short film of 10 – 20 minutes in length created entirely by young people about sex, sexual health and sexuality.

The project is now fully underway with meetings coordinated by Project AWARE. Youth from all over the state are bringing their wisdom to bear on this often challenging issue. During planning meetings at Maranacook Community High School, teens have a chance to share their stories, brainstorm ideas, and plan the project, including an anticipated April video shoot. The 25 youth currently involved, and an estimated 100 additional youth, will write, direct, act in, crew and produce the movies. So far, at least 10 schools are represented.

As always, the project will support teens in having a voice. The issues they address could include learning about sex / sexual health / sexuality, abstinence and sexual activity, birth control, STDs, teen pregnancy, LGBTQ issues, and Family Planning Health Centers.

Teens Brainstorm Ideas

For more info about the project please contact the Coordinator!

REEL LIFE – Teens creating amazing movies

November 30th, 2011

REEL LIFE PROGRAM INFO

On Set with Reel Life

Project AWARE provides workshops, presentations, and the Reel Life program which includes the Summer Film Institute for youth as well as targeted filmmaking that produces high quality, dramatic educational short movies and PSAs created by young people.

Project AWARE Reel Life Program Info:

Project AWARE is about real life teens telling real life stories in a powerful way. Young people in the program create impactful, high quality movies that address social issues and make a difference. Simply put, the process changes their lives.

Want Reel Life in your school or community? projectaware@maine.rr.com
or call 207-282-5598

 

Project AWARE has 3 primary goals: (1) support young people in realizing their gifts and passions while also making a difference in the world, (2) create high quality films with a social purpose, and (3) be successful financially in order that more and more young people, as well as communities, are supported in this way. To that end, Project AWARE has completed 4 films and currently has 4 additional movies in production throughout the state of Maine.

The most recent film, April’s Heart, just received the young filmmakers award at the Litchfield Hills Film Festival and Iowa Film Festival. April’s Heart tears the mask off of youth so we can see inside. It’s a story set in a time when life can be hard; a story that gives us an intimate look at the challenges, hopes and dreams of teenagers. The movie invites us to listen … and to care. The Sanford (Maine) High School Film Club, with the support of Project AWARE and Gum Spirits Productions, led the year‐long production effort. Ultimately, over 200 students, staff and community members were directly involved, making it one of the largest after school programs the town has ever seen.

Cast and Crew April's Heart

To see the April’s Heart trailer please go to this blog post:

http://projectaware.net/wordpress/aprils-heart-trailer-released

Here is a link to a You Tube video where a student speaks about his experience.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8oMpU9MtMbI

Here are other important Project AWARE links:

A good place to go is our Facebook page check out the recent posts and click on the “info” link on the left side. The other avenue is to go to our blog on our website which has recent info: http://projectaware.net/wordpress/

Here are direct links to our film posts in that blog:

http://projectaware.net/wordpress/the-state-of-maine-and-project-aware-promote-teen-health

http://projectaware.net/wordpress/kids-get-a-voice-about-mental-health

http://projectaware.net/wordpress/another-student-produced-film

http://projectaware.net/wordpress/maine-youth-reaches-thousands-with-a-powerful-story

http://projectaware.net/wordpress/aprils-heart-trailer-released

Our Summer Film Institute:

http://projectaware.net/wordpress/summer-film-institute

Facebook,  YouTube, Website

www.facebook.com/projectnaturalhighs

www.youtube.com/projectnaturalhighs

www.projectaware.net

Our movies:

www.aprilsheartmovie.com

www.influencedmovie.com

www.untoldstoriesmovie.com

The State of Maine and Project AWARE Promote Teen Health

June 2nd, 2011

When teens inform others about the problems they are facing and they do so in a unique, creative and powerful way, people listen.

The Maine Department of Education Coordinated School Health Programs (CSHP) and Project AWARE will engage Maine youth to create and produce a 40 minute education video / DVD and 4 public service announcements about health topics. The package will be delivered to school districts throughout Maine.

Do you or someone you know believe that health is difficult to maintain, outside the realm of personal control, and/or someone else’s responsibility? The DVD package will be an education tool for young people, school staff, and community members to use for teaching and learning personal responsibility for healthy choices and habits. And young people will be the voices that tell us that healthy habits promote academic and personal success.

This DVD project will engage an estimated 125 young people throughout the State of Maine as members of the video cast and crew.  These young people will have the opportunity to gain marketable skills as they learn the world of film production and become involved in all stages of creating a high quality video product.  Youth participants will be supported and advised by Project AWARE staff / contractors, youth leaders and film/editing professionals as they learn the necessary production skills. Special focus will be paid to team building and the collaborative nature of film-making.

Learning / Teaching

Once produced, the DVD will be used in CSHP Professional Development events with administratiors, School Health Coordinators, and Health Education Teachers. One copy of the package will be provided free of charge to all school districts in Maine. It will enable teachers and others to utilize youth perspectives that are aligned with the Maine State Learning Results to initiate classroom conversations regarding tobacco-use prevention, quality nutrition, benefits of increased physical activity, and bullying prevention.

If all goes well, this exciting project will be completed this summer / fall and available for communities in the October of 2011! For more information contact Carl Lakari at 207-282-5598 or write to projectaware@maine.rr.com

So Let's Go Get Healthy!

Project AWARE Summer Film Institute for Teens

May 27th, 2011

Do you think teens could benefit from creating high quality film that makes a difference while guided by experienced movie-making professionals?

Thumbs Up!

If so, there is still space in Project AWARE 4th annual Summer Film Institute to be held in August. Click here for the flyer. Spread the word and act now before it fills up! For more info and to register call Project AWARE at 207-282-5598 or write to projectaware@maine.rr.com .

This institute is hands-on. Attendees of this summer day camp, located in Saco Maine, learn new movie making skills, build their resumes, process their own experiences, and bond with peers while making a difference. The content is created by the youth, very high quality and about issues we hear about every day on the news.

It has been life-changing for many attendees (use active links below for more information) :

  •  two (13 and 14 years old) attendees created a PSA on parenting that ultimately served as the basis for Project AWARE’s 3rd movie Influenced. This award-winning movie was created at the 2009 institute and is available on DVD.
  • 10 Sanford kids who attended the Institute went back to school, got involved in their film club, and created the award-winning movie April’s Heart
  • a young women returned to her school and created a PSA with her new skills; it received rave reviews and the commercial was picked up, re-produced professionally and aired nationally.
  • A PSA created on teen pregnancy has received over 130,000 views on You Tube and has sparked deep conversation about this contentious issue.
  • Recently an 8th grader used his PSA and story on bullying in his hometown; it now airs on broadcast TV in Maine and he was nominated and chosen as a top 10 finalist for a $10,000 Colin Higgins Youth Courage Award from thousands of applicants nationwide.
  • 4 young women created a powerful video about sexual assault as they processed their own childhood experiences. Sexual Assault Response Services is planning to use the PSA for education in schools.
  • finally, a 14 year old teen was able to write, direct, and lead in her own movie about the healthy passions of youth. A Shoestring for Mackenzie is planned for a Fall 2011 release.

Once there, kids are engaged and excited about this work. Help us with outreach – change a young person’s life!

Spread the word! List-servs, schools, parents, kids and many other venues are possible choices for networking.

Kids Get a Voice about Mental Health

April 26th, 2011

January 2012 Update: The movie is titled The Road Back and will premiere at Gracie Theater in Bangor on March 21st! Details to follow along with the premiere of the trailer.

Depression is Common Amongst Teens

The Davis Family Foundation Commits $20,000 to Support Young People in Creating a Film that Will Educate, Inspire and Spark Action. And Spring Harbor Hospital joins as a project sponsor connecting the two major mental health hospital and treatment facilities in the state.

Acadia Hospital and Project AWARE have received funding for creating a film about depression and anxiety amongst teens. The educational movie will focus on decreasing stigma and increasing early intervention and prevention.

Stigma is toxic – it frequently delays and often prevents young people from getting help for mental health issues.  It perpetuates itself and leads to apprehension and avoidance of people with mental disorders.  It reduces access to resources and leads to low self-esteem, isolation, and hopelessness. Kids are affected every day by anxiety and depression but unable to ask for help due to the fear of what peers and adults will think.

“He did not seem like the kid who would have problems” Teen Focus Group Participant

The Acadia Hospital, Project AWARE and now Spring Harbor Hospital will collaborate to develop and produce an innovative 20 – 30 minute video that engages, educates and empowers teens to address stigma about mental illness and the impact and consequences of anxiety disorders and depression.

Youth are Ready to Express their Gifts and Passions

This project will improve understanding of mental health issues and their impact on overall health status.  It will empower young people, build positive relationships, and make a difference in the lives of peers, families and community.

This unique project holds potential to directly influence large numbers of Maine middle and high school students and their families through the distribution of the movie to public schools, teacher in-services, student assemblies and public service announcements. The DVD will be developed with a brief facilitator’s guide to support presenters in working with young people and adults during viewing and follow-up sessions.

“I need more help, but don’t know where to get it.” Teen Focus Group Participant

The teens and young adults involved in this project will have the opportunity to learn film production while producing a high quality video that addresses a pervasive health issue. With the support of healthcare and other professionals, teens will learn script development, production and technical skills for all stages of video production with special attention paid to team building, youth leadership, and collaboration. Acadia Hospital has facilitated focus groups for concept development, and will help provide clinical content, resources, development of educational materials/guides, in-service training, and marketing/distribution.  Project AWARE will facilitate script development, casting, set, and artistic details. PA will also team up with Gum Spirits Productions which provides filming, editing and more. Gum Spirits is recognized for producing high quality video including feature length films.

Teens on the Set of Influenced

Local schools and individuals living with mental disorders will participate in focus groups, and as crew, writers, and actors.

Currently in pre-production, the movie will likely be filmed in the Fall of 2011. Contact us to get involved!

Project AWARE teen created movies to-date:
April’s Heart
Influenced
Untold Stories: the Truth about Bullying and Harassment
Falling

“I stayed silent for a long time” Teen Focus Group Participant

For more info contact: Carl Lakari at Project AWARE or Alan Comeau at Acadia Hospital.
projectaware@maine.rr.com
acomeau@emh.org

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 projectaware@maine.rr.com

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 / projectaware@maine.rr.com

Keep tabs on the production through our blog and by becoming a fan on our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/projectnaturalhighs 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: projectaware@maine.rr.com 

Summer Film Institute Crew at Work