Native youth showcase films about healthy living


Young Native filmmakers will be showing their stuff this Saturday for the Native C.H.A.T. Film Festival at Augsburg's Sateren Auditorium (715 22nd Ave. S., Minneapolis). A project of the Indigenous People's Task Force (IPTF), with funding from the Office of Minority Health, the youth have been working with mentors to learn about media skills while promoting messages of healthy living, staying away from drugs and alcohol, and HIV prevention.


Native CHAT stands for Curbing HIV/AIDS Transmission. This will be the first year IPTF will host the festival. "The idea is getting youth to spread positive messages in new media," says Leslie Apple from IPTF. What started as the young people posting their short films on YouTube has expanded to include young filmmakers from across the state.  

In the C.H.A.T. program, youth learn to become peer educators after taking a 16-week program that includes traditional culture, risk prevention messages, and health education.  

In addition to learning about creating films, the young people also learned about how to use new media, such as Facebook, MySpace, and Twitter. "Facebook is the main tool by far," says Apple. "That's what the young people use." 

Kids from ages 11 to 21 have been working with IPTF along with several of their partners, including Main Street Media Project and Migizi Communications, that have mentored the young people on filmmaking and new media techniques. Main Street Project hosted a free two-day workshop for youth at Nawayee Center School in Minneapolis, teaching students to create storyboards, filming techniques, and how to edit their movies.  

About 15 films will be showcased, ranging in duration from two minutes to 20 minutes. Ryan McMahon, a.k.a. Clarence Two Toes, will MC the event.

In addition to the youth film showcase from 2 to 4 p.m., there will be a day full of activities, including HIV screenings; breakout sessions on media justice, culture, and acting at 4 p.m.; and dinner. There will also be an awards ceremony where the youth films will be judged by a panel with awards given to the top three films in each of the three categories, plus a screening of Navajo Boy at 10:30 a.m. and  concerts by Native hip-hop groups Point of Contact (featuring Tall Paul and G. Malicious) at 7:30 p.m. and Chase Manhattan (ticket with HIV test).  

Check out some of the videos below by the up-and-coming Native filmmakers, and check out the festival on May 21.