October 18, 2014 | Fly By Light | Germantown, MD
The kick off to the tour at Black Rock in Germantown could not have been more special. Located only 45 minutes from our home town of D.C. where a lot of Fly By Light was filmed, we were able to fill our car with two of the featured youth, Asha and Corey and the lead facilitator and producer, Hawah. Although I have seen the film hundreds of times, it always feels completely different when the youth are present. Watching them watch themselves as they laughed, covered their eyes, held hands and cheered, and then listening to them share insightful reflections with the audience after, brings home one of the main intentions for my filmmaking – to validate people’s experiences and create a space where their stories can be heard and connected to. Although it was a small audience, this allowed us to form a circle afterwards where every member shared openly their response to the film leading into an hour long discussion about the importance of social and emotional learning, the role of positive mentors, and the personal transformation of the youth. One woman shared, “I may not look anything like you, but as I watched the film I related emotionally to you all on a very personal level. Reminded me of my own journey of realizing that I was enough. “ Another gentleman shared “ I was so struck by how extraordinary and brilliant each young person was. Made me realize how each person needs to be valued… If poetry was valued as much as football, Asha would be a millionaire.” Asha, Corey and Hawah went on to describe how the Fly By Light peace education program continues across schools in D.C, with the youth now stepping up as facilitators and mentors themselves. After sharing opportunities of ways for the audience to get involved with One Common Unity (the non-profit that leads these programs) and exchanging embraces with people who were strangers two hours before, we drove home pumped for future screenings and dialogues.
Post by OSIP touring filmmaker, Ellie Walton.
To listen to a podcast interview with the filmmaker, click here.