One Common Unity and Straight, No Chaser Productions created A NU View originally as an essay contest in which 10 youth winners were selected to create a documentary film in order to give young people living in the inner-city an experience of civic engagement through omni-media and innovative peace education. Once created, the film was entered into film festivals, screened in public schools, debuted at Regal Cinemas in Washington, DC, and in select cities throughout the nation on public access television stations. The Gandhi Institute of Non-Violence, in 2007, through financially sponsoring this dynamic new initiative assisted us in giving youth a platform to voice their concern and solutions for societal problems.
At a time when summer youth programs in DC are dwindling and hard to find, resulting in many DC youth having to spend their summers uninspired and on the streets, our students during the summers of 2008-2010, selected from District of Columbia public high schools, spent their 2 months out of school learning about the arts, media and non-violence.
How does it happen?
For most of the summer the students in the program spend their days engaged in workshops, with experienced facilitators, about the necessity of learning how to tell their story and be a voice for peace and justice.
Together with staff and volunteers from Straight, No Chaser Productions and One Common Unity, Inc. the students (ages 15 – 18) learn about alternative career choices, ways to succeed in college, the history of non-violence and draw on their own personal experiences and the art of storytelling and film making as a creative outlet for peace.
A NU View also allows the high school students the opportunity to meet, interview, dialogue, and learn from some of the most widely respected scholars, activists, and musicians from around the country.
During the summer program’s closing ceremony/film debut, the parents and friends of the students witness their tremendous growth over the 2 months time. Students are given award certificates and encouraged to continue on the path of peace building through arts, music and media.
What does it do?
“A NU View” does exactly what the name implies; it enables youth to vividly and boldly present their distinct slant on themselves and the world they live in and exposed audiences to a fresh perspective of peace education and community building in action. As you will read in the testimonials below, the students in the program were challenged to think critically about the violence torn world we live in, and address issues of vital importance on how to make it peaceful through the words we use in everyday life. A NU View provided youth this summer with firsthand experience in film production from start to finish. It gave students a public stage where they were able to express themselves through film.
Now armed with the tools and confidence to produce their own media, these young people’s voices will be added to the thousands who are calling for a world free of violence and oppression.
A NU View serves as the breeding ground for tomorrow’s great directors, producers, writers, leaders, and peace makers. It harnesses the precocious energies of outspoken youth as it converts them into creators of their own uncompromising cinematic contributions. Once their creative coals have been thus stoked, their view of themselves and the world around them will permanently be enhanced into something more: A “NU” view.
What some of the students say about their experience in A NU View:
“This experience showed me that words do affect people. Their reaction may not be immediate, but they will always remember what was said to them. It also showed me that words affect me, not because someone called me a name, but by what I say out of my mouth. I discovered that I feel good about myself when I use positive words about others, and I feel negative when I say inappropriate words. Hopefully, when other people see this documentary it will affect them the same way it affected me.”
–Lyndsey Newsome (A NU View youth participant, 2007).
“Before this project I really didn’t think much of what I said to people because I’m the typed of person if I have something to say I’m going to say it. In other words, I don’t hold anything back. But now I realize that there’s a certain way to say what you feel and not be rude about it. I think of words like this, “Each word has an emotion attached that’s why we should always watch what we say.”
–Calvin Smith (A NU View youth participant, 2007).
“It is words and their power that keep me going. Someone said that words are manifestations of our thoughts and ideas and can crystallize into actions. In other words, words are a medium of premium significance… through this documentary, I learned that society is a matrix of interacting people and words can create compassion or conflict within society. I learned that not everyone thinks the same and that different people have different interpretations of words.”
-Malick Kebe (A NU View youth participant, 2007).
“Through the process of filming this documentary, I have learned a great deal through the people I interacted with, the exploration of film, of words, and as a result, exploration of myself. The film project gave me a wealth of knowledge and experience to put to use in my life. It was an enormous growth opportunity for all of the students, and I feel that I undoubtedly made the most of it. I can take what I have learned on the set and with the crew out into the real world and use the skills I have learned for my own benefit, and those of others.”
–Julian Peters (A NU View youth participant, 2007).
A Nu View Projects
One Common Unity and Straight, No Chaser Productions created A NU View originally as an essay contest in which 10 youth winners were selected to create the documentary film A Weigh with Words in order to give young people living in the inner-city an experience of civic engagement through omni-media and innovative peace education. Once created the film was entered into film festivals, screened in public schools, debuted at Regal Cinemas in Washington, DC, and in select cities throughout the nation on public access television stations. The Gandhi Institute of Non-Violence, in 2007, through financially sponsoring this dynamic new initiative assisted us in giving youth a platform to voice their concern and solutions for societal problems.Read More
The MLK Streets Project is the second film produced by the A Nu View Youth Film Project. This second film reflects on the 40th anniversary of Dr. King’s assassination by taking talented District of Columbia high school students on an unforgettable tour of MLK boulevards across America. The youth examine the progress of Dr. King’s dream in a hip-hop generation, by exploring the streets that carry his name. The film documents the conditions, activities, and residents of these boulevards, and relate them to the context of MLK’s dream; all while learning the fundamentals of film-making and non-violence.