FILMS BYKIDS!

Exile, illiteracy, disease, war, and bigotry. PBS’ Films BYkids pairs master filmmakers with teenagers from around the world to help illuminate the world’s most dire issues.

For streaming opportunities, click here. 

Aired on March 20, 2019.

TRANSCRIPT

> CHILDREN AROUND THE WORLD ARE USING FILM AS A TOOL FOR GLOBAL UNDERSTANDING.

BY KIDS HAS TEAMED UP WITH 13 TO CREATE A TV SERIES CALLED 'FILMS BY KIDS' TO GIVE A VOICE TO KIDS.

THE SERIES IS ENTERING THE SECOND SEASON AND NARRATED BY EMMY AND GOLDEN GLOBE NOMINATED ACTRESS, ASHLEY JUDD.

THESE TEENAGERS HAVE COMPELLING STORIES TO TELL.

FROM THE DEVASTATION OF CLIMATE CHANGE, TO LIFE AFTER ESCAPE --

I ESCAPED FROM SYRIA.

AND LIFE AFTER INCARCERATION.

FIND OUT WHAT THEY'D LIKE US TO KNOW ABOUT THEIR WORLD IN THEIR OPEN VERY FILM.

FILMS BY KIDS.

HERE THEN TO TALK ABOUT ALL OF THIS, THE SERIES EXECUTIVE PRODUCER HOLLY CARTER.

NICE TO HAVE YOU HERE WITH US.

WONDERFUL TO BE HERE.

THANK YOU.

LET ME START WITH THE ORGANIZATION BY KIDS.

TELL ME HOW IT CAME ABOUT AND WHAT IT DOES.

THE SHORT STORY IS THAT I HAD BEEN A PRINT JOURNALIST OUT OF THE GATE IN MY CAREER, I WAS AT 'THE NEW YORK TIMES.'

THEN WITH MY OWN KIDS I BEGAN TO SEE THAT CHILDREN ARE THE BEST REPORTERS BECAUSE THEY TELL IT STRAIGHT AND THEY'RE COMPLETELY AUTHENTIC.

SO, YOU KNOW, THIS IDEA THAT WE WOULD GIVE A KID THE AUTHORITY TO TELL THEIR OPEN STORY PARTICULARLY FROM COUNTRIES AROUND THE WORLD WHERE THE MEDIA DIET HERE AND PARTICULARLY THE SCHOOL DAY IS NOT FILLED WITH GLOBAL STORIES, BUT THIS WAS OUR WAY OF BALANCING WHAT OUR KIDS ARE LEARNING ABOUT THE REST OF THE WORLD AND NOT JUST BALANCING BUT REALLY GIVING THEM THE ABILITY TO LEARN TO BE EMPATHETIC WHICH IS AT THE HEART OF WHAT WE DO.

SO TALK ABOUT THE CREATION THEN, THE PARTNERSHIP WITH 13 AND HOW DID THAT HAPPEN?

WHAT A GREAT PARTNERSHIP.

WE COULDN'T BE LUCKIER.

WHEN I FIRST CAME TO MEET WITH THE PARTNERS AT WNET, THREE OUT OF THE FIVE FILMS OF SEASON ONE.

IT TOOK US EIGHT YEARS TO MAKE THOSE FIRST FIVE.

IT'S TAKEN US TWO YEARS TO MAKE THE NEW SEASON.

AND WE'RE VERY EXCITED ABOUT THE KIND OF LEGS THAT THE FILMS GET PARTICULARLY IN THE EDUCATION SPACE.

OUR MANDATE IS TO MAKE OUR YOUNG PEOPLE MORE EMPATHETIC AND GLOBAL CITIZENS.

WE DO A LOT OF HARD WORK WITH THE HELP OF PBS LEARNING MEDIA, TO DO APPROPRIATE WONDERFUL, ENGAGING EDUCATIONAL MATERIAL.

WE HAVE A NUMBER OF OTHER PARTNERSHIPS THAT MEAN THESE FILMS AND THE WRAP AROUND EDUCATIONAL MATERIAL IS REACHING A LOT OF PEOPLE.

TALK ABOUT THE PROCESS OF PUTTING THESE FILMS TOGETHER.

THE NOTION OF COMBINING THE KIDS, IF YOU WILL, WITH EXPERIENCED FILMMAKERS.

WE SIT AND COME UP WITH A GLOBALLY RELEVANT STORY THAT WE WANT TO TELL.

THINK SOMETHING LIKE CLIMATE CHANGE OR DISPLACEMENT.

WE THEN PICK A COUNTRY WHERE THAT HAS NOT BEEN ON THE FRONT PAGE OF THE PAPERS OR IN THE NEWSPAPER MUCH IF AT ALL.

WE THEN PAIR WITH A NONPROFIT ON THE GROUND THAT HELPS US WITH FINDING A GROUP OF KIDS FROM WHOM WE PICK THE LUCKY ONE.

I HAD A CHANCE TO WATCH THE FILM OF THE FIRST STORY.

TELL US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT THE FIRST STORY.

SO THE FIRST STORY IS OF A FILM MADE BY NOW 19-YEAR-OLD MIKE MARTIN WHO AT THE AGE OF 17 WAS SENT TO RIKERS FOR FIVE MONTHS.

WE WENT LOOKING FOR A FILM THAT WOULD HELP EVERYBODY, BUT PARTICULARLY YOUNG AMERICAN STUDENTS TALK ABOUT ISSUES AROUND RACE, POVERTY, JUVENILE JUSTICE REFORM.

WE WERE LUCKY ENOUGH TO PARTNER WITH AN ORGANIZATION HERE IN NEW YORK CALLED FRIENDS OF THE ISLAND ACADEMY.

WE FOUND MIKE FROM A GROUP OF KIDS.

HE AND HIS FAMILY WERE WILLING TO REALLY EXPERIENCE SOMETHING.

I MEAN, IT'S INTENSE.

IT IS.

HIS MENTORS ARE NOT ONE, BUT TWO SPECTACULAR FILMMAKERS.

THEY WORKED TOGETHER OVER THE COURSE OF A LITTLE MORE THAN A MONTH.

AND WE HAVE A LOCAL COMPOSER WHO DID SPECTACULAR MUSIC.

YOU WILL SEE IN HIS FILM THAT PART OF THE FILM WAS HIM TAKING A RAP SONG THAT HE HAD REALLY A POEM AND BASHIRRY JOHNSON HAS HELPED HIM RECORD IT IN THE STUDIO AND IT BECOMES REALLY AN INTEGRAL PART OF THE FILM.

WHICH IS AMAZING BECAUSE WE'RE BY KIDS, WE ARE ALL ABOUT USING SHORT FILM TO TEACH OTHER PEOPLE THROUGH MENTORSHIP.

SO TO HAVE MIKE LEARN NOT ONLY LEARN HOW TO BE A FILMMAKER BUT TO BE A MUSICIAN.

THESE ARE PROFESSIONAL QUALITY FILMS.

THESE ARE NOT KIDS TAKING OUT THEIR CELL PHONES AND SHOOTING SOMETHING.

WHAT I THINK YOU'RE DOING IS MARVELOUS SO CONGRATULATIONS TO YOU AND EVERYBODY FOR WORKING ON.

WE LOOK FORWARD NOT ONLY TO THE SECOND SEASON, BUT HOPEFULLY MORE SEASONS.

SEASON THREE COMING SOON.

THANK YOU.

> AND A REMINDER FOR YOU FILMS FOR KIDS THROUGH MARCH 24th ON 13.

GO TO METRO FOCUS.ORG FOR MORE INFORMATION.

Funders

MetroFocus is made possible by James and Merryl Tisch, Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III, the Sylvia A. and Simon B. Poyta Programming Endowment to Fight Anti-Semitism, Bernard and Irene Schwartz, Rosalind P. Walter, Barbara Hope Zuckerberg, Jody and John Arnhold, the Cheryl and Philip Milstein Family, Janet Prindle Seidler, Judy and Josh Weston and the Dr. Robert C. and Tina Sohn Foundation.

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