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Director: Chris Irrizarry
Producer: HBO Young Filmmakers Lab
Winner of the Family and Society Award
Chris Irrizarry, Director
My name is Chris Irrizarry, I am seventeen years old. The story of my film is the story of my life. I grew up in Philadelphia with my mother until I was ten years old. I loved my mother but she was addicted to drugs, and every year things got worse and worse. I needed to get away and start over.
I moved to New York to live with my grandmother and my brothers but it has been hard to put the past behind me and to think of the future. When I was with my mother I saw things and experienced things that no child should have to. Being raised in the streets and then changing to having to live by rules is easier to say than to do. I love the streets. You donâ€™t have to worry about being judged. But I know that I have to finish school and do something with my life.
There may not be a happy ending for my mother, but I have to believe in a happy ending for myself.
HBO Young Fimmakers Lab, Producer
The HBO Young Filmmakers Lab is a free after-school program that challenges Brooklyn high school students to create short documentary films about their lives. Working one-on-one with professional filmmaker-mentors, students write, shoot and edit personal narrative videos on subjects they choose. In the process, they gain self esteem, develop media literacy and master state-of-the-art digital filmmaking technology. We say to teens: â€œYou have a voice! Use it!â€
And the world is listening!
Since we began in 2001, our studentâ€™s films have been broadcast on HBO Family and PBS and have been presented at film festivals nationwide from the American Film Institute in Hollywood to the Museum of Television & Radio in Manhattan. Our teen filmmaking program has been featured in New York Times, The Daily News and on MSNBC, PBS and NY1 News. We have won numerous awards including three Honorable Mention National Student Awards of Excellence. Today, our films are being used in classrooms to teach powerful life lessons of diversity, tolerance and hope.
Through our Filmmaker Mentorship program, students get individualized attention and learn about career options available in the film and television industry. Each student leaves the class with a real product that encompasses all that they have learned as they are transformed from passive consumers to active creators of media.
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