Reel Life Program

Wise and Crazy Teens

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.

The program supports teens in telling real life stories in a powerful way. Young people 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

The Reel Life Program simultaneously empowers and builds sense of worth in the youth, while also providing up-to-date 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 18 PSAs and 8 movies with 4 more in production about issues including prescription drug abuse, bullying, adult role modeling, teen sexual health, and more. Collaborators have included the Maine Department of Education, Acadia Hospital, Town of Sanford, Town of Biddeford, Family Planning Association of Maine and many more. Check out April’s Heart created in Sanford here.

On Set with Reel Life

The Summer Film Institute, a part of the Reel Life Program, is held in August of each year for youth ages 13 – 18. The goal for the Institute 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.

For the Reel Life Program (other than the Summer Film Institute) these are the typical basic steps that take place over approximately 1 year.

  • Start creating a buzz through students on Facebook and through school announcements
  • Reach out to community members to engage them in the project
  • Reach out to student body and school staff and invite them to participate
  • Create the leadership team of students by utilizing the Youth Empowerment Workshop model for 20-30 students
  • Hold bi-weekly meetings with student project leaders
  • Collect stories from students in writing about what they want; students develop concepts and write a script
  • Hold a casting for youth and adult actors
  • Produce a 30 +/- minute movie with youth providing crew support including directing, camera, sound, lighting, script supervision and the many other roles necessary for production. All supported by movie-making professionals.
  • Support students and also provide professional editing services in order to complete post-production.
  • Hold a premiere for 250 – 500 people to showcase the amazing work of young people!
  • Release the final product on DVD and online to raise awareness and start a conversation about the issue covered.

Find out more about the Reel Life Program and how you can use it to help teems in your community! projectaware@maine.rr.com 207-282-5598

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