Telluride Public Library Hosts Film Premier About Telluride Teens

[click “Play” to hear Ryan Wilson’s interview with Katie Karrow and four of the young people]

 

by Ryan Wilson

Speak Editor’s note: If you attended the graduation of Telluride’s Class of 2011, you saw the notion of American exceptionalism in action: a group of young people who excelled in the classroom and on the mountain being rewarded for their achievements with scholarships to top colleges. True, we live in a small town, but that does not mean an absence of big opportunities. Telluride teens with aspirations have lots of places to turn for support. The following story by the Wilkinson Public Library’s Ryan Wilson illustrates that point.

Ever wonder what teenagers today are thinking?  On Saturday, August 27, 5:15 p.m., Program Room, Telluride’s Wilkinson Public Library, a group of 11 Telluride teens open a window into their minds at the premiere of their short documentary film “Speak.” 

Participants in Telluride’s new Director’s Club, a youth organization sponsored by the Library, Telluride Television and the Just For Kids Foundation, enterprising teenagers were encouraged to film themselves for 10 minutes a day over the course of two weeks.  The result: a 16-minute documentary that covers a variety of teen-related topics including growing up in Telluride, finding balance between school and long-term aspirations, the role of parental guidance and personal tragedy. 

“Our goal,” explains Scott Doser, a board member for Telluride TV and the program director at the Wilkinson Public Library, “was to expand this youth initiative to a broader audience by providing a neutral space for teenagers to come and learn the art of documentary filmmaking in a safe and supportive environment.”  As the Marketing Coordinator at the Library, I have worked in filming a number of library programs, and prior to this job I taught teenagers at Ridgway High School in graphic design and film.   Knowing my background, Scott Doser and Katie Karrow approached me to create a new format for Director’s Club that would expose students to a professional examination of the filmmaking process. Working with David Byers, a videographer for Telluride TV, we decided to use a hands-on approach to teaching the art of documentary filmmaking. We required each student to operate a camera, record his reflections, and edit his own footage.  The end result is a documentary that shows 16 students on the screen simultaneously, with individual cameos highlighted one by one. 

The program was so successful, Telluride TV has now partnered with the University Centers of the San Miguel and our Library to offer a non-fiction film class to adults. This new iteration of the Director’s Club will be taught by Telluride Town Councilman and filmmaker David Oyster and me. 

Prior to the screening of “Speak,” the program also includes a documentary about music by Eric Nunn, a commentary about sweatshop labor by Zach Wilson, a game show by Pamela Shifron and a mockumentary by Diane Wolfson. 

To learn more about the film “Speak” listen to my interview with the Executive Director of Telluride TV Katie Karrow and four students who participated in the making of the film.

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