My name is Jasmine, I am 16 years old and I worked with The LAMP organization to create a short film called #Every28Hours (watch the film embedded below). The film primarily focuses on the issue of police brutality in relation to racial discrimination throughout New York City. Myself and seven other students from the United Nations International School met with The LAMP at the beginning of January 2015, where we began our process of creating our short documentary.
Before working with The LAMP, I had a strong interest in the idea of media-making. I was particularly interested in working with film and improving my skills with cameras. We chose to explore the issue of police brutality because we felt that it was an important issue that had to be discussed and that the print and television media were portraying stories through only one perspective. We strongly believe that there are two sides to every story, so we made a documentary with the objective of providing a broader view of the topic rather than the public to see only a very biased and close-minded view of the issue.
The issue of racial discrimination by police officers is not a new one, however we chose the topic during a time when citizens were organizing multiple protests in response to the fatal incidents involving Michael Brown and Eric Garner. Additionally, I didn’t have a concrete understanding of the incidents involving police officers and people of color because it hadn’t directly affected me, but I wanted to learn more.
Once we started this project and I became more involved with media-making, it completely changed my perspective. Throughout our process, I learnt so much about media-making from a technical point of view as well as learning about the issue itself. By doing research and interviewing people with direct experience of the issue, or no experience at all, it helped me to understand the different perspectives on the issue. I also learned how influential the media is and how people are strongly impacted as a society.
I remember thinking at the beginning of this project, “This is just going to be a film made by a bunch of 16-17 year olds, who will actually care about what we have to say?” But we worked hard and invested a lot of time into the project and in trying to ensure that our message was put across to the public. In addition to the impact on ourselves, we were pleased to see the impact on those around us. I realized that you can have an impact on the world even if it feels like you can’t.
I believe that media-making strongly affects our lives because it’s a form of art that emphasizes expression and creativity through technology. Media-making helps us become more aware of the stories around us. Without it, we wouldn’t be as connected with humanity as we are today.
– Jasmine T.