Thursday, August 11, 2011

Where are they from? Where are they going? - Part 1

Part of my research for my film project temporarily titled The Assassination of a Citizen takes me into the Southern Youth Correctional Reception Center and Clinic in Norwalk, CA (SYCRCC). This is a 3-part report of my experiences there. 

Some before me have “embedded” themselves in a gang for research purposes, may that be in the name of science, for criminal investigations or creative purposes. People want to hear that you've lived with gang members. While I think that's admirable and warranted with other subject matters, I think it’s important to keep an outsiders view on it because only then is it possible to create something differentiated and balanced.

An essential part of my lengthy R&D process is to thoroughly penetrate the subject matter from different perspectives and I think I’m getting as close as one can be to “embedding” without actually doing it. Similar to my previous short film Ticked, which was produced by a cast and crew consisting almost exclusively of teenagers from the Ramona Gardens Housing Projects in East Los Angeles, who encounter gang life and violence on a regular basis, Citizen is also characterized by an open and inclusive, an organic development and production process.

Over the last years I’ve pretty much covered the literary, the scientific and statistical as well as the cinematic areas in my research and I continue to do so. Another equally important part is to get involved in the gang rehabilitation, treatment and prevention areas and to help out, lend a hand as they say and dedicate some time to the incarcerated youth or the ones that seek help through an organization like Homeboy Industries. You might think there couldn’t be enough volunteers to help out in ANY of those areas but that is not always the case. In fact, almost a year later, I am attending volunteering events but my repeated efforts to join a specialized program, which is where the real work is done, were not yet rewarded. More in this post.

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