Teen Producers' Project Makes Pro-Immigrant Videos

author: 
Leo E. Laurence/Zenger's Newsmagazine

Teen Producers’ Project Makes Immigration Videos

Congressmember Filner Promises to Show Them in D.C.

by LEO E. LAURENCE, J.D.

Copyright © 2011 by Leo E. Laurence for Zenger’s Newsmagazine • All rights reserved

Teenagers from 14-19 in both San Diego and Tijuana produced numerous, professional-quality videos on undocumented immigration which were recently screened at Media Arts Center in North Park. It runs the enormously successful Teen Producers’ Project, on both sides of the border.

Congressmember Bob Filner (D-San Diego), a potential mayoral candidate, has long been personally involved with the project and promised to take the amazing 2-9 minute videos to Washing-ton to be seen by Congressional committees.

The project teaches teenagers all phases of commercial-quality video production, from shooting scenes to editing and final polish. The teenagers use the same professional cameras as TV news cameramen, and their editing equipment is state-of-the-art.

About 40 teenagers are involved in San Diego, and another 15 participate in similar technical training in Tijuana. The program is managed by the Media Arts Center in North Park, which also produces the popular Latino Film Festival every spring.

Each project class costs about $7,000, with an annual budget of about $100,000, according to executive director Ethan van Thillo.

Some of the major funding sponsors include Adobe Youth Voices from the Adobe software corporation, plus banks like Wells Fargo and Bank of America, among others.

The Media Arts Center will also sponsor a Youth Media Technology Camp this summer for youths from 9 to 14.

“We are a bi-national culture,” Congressmember Filner said in uncharacteristically brief remarks.

He promised that the amazing short videos on undocumented immigration as seen by teenagers on both sides of the border, would be shown to congressional committees in Washington.

Filner again showed support for the DREAM Act, which would allow the children of undocumented workers to receive legal status and a path to citizenship if they attend college or serve in the U.S. military. It was first introduced in 2001, and faces an uphill struggle in our current Congress.

“There are 65,000 students (of undocumented parents) who graduate from our nation’s high schools every year, but they can’t go further (in college) without a Social Security number,” Filner explained. The DREAM Act would change that.

The Congressmember had been a “freedom rider” at the age of 18 in the 1960’s, and had marched with the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King.

“These are all-American kids, some of whom have never been in Mexico,” he added.

“The border since 9/11 has become more difficult to cross because of our U.S. policies,” Filner stressed.

One American citizen and San Diego banker is a 23-year old Mexican who is doing very well and drives a nice new black sports car. However, at the border recently on returning to San Diego, he was forced into secondary inspection because an agent said “a young Mexican shouldn’t have a nice car like that.”

In one positive action, the California Supreme Court recently ruled that children of undocumented parents need not pay the much higher tuition costs of out-of-state students as before.

Photo caption:

Dramatizing the trans-border character of the Teen Producers’ Project, Congressmember Bob Filner meets with Trevor Seines, 17, of San Diego (left) and Alan Romero, 20, of Tijuana. Photo by Leo E. Laurence.
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