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TRUST: Second Acts in Young Lives

Nancy Kelly

On Friday, June 8, I’ll be presenting my award-winning documentary TRUST: Second Acts in Young Lives during the 2012 Americans for the Arts Annual Convention in a session titled, “Documenting the Importance of Arts Education.”

The film follows Marlin, an 18-year-old Hondureña, who shares a hidden history about her childhood with a theater company in her Chicago neighborhood, the renowned Albany Park Theater Project.

Marlin’s story is about resilience and empowerment. TRUST captures the amazing response from her fellow actors and the unexpected journey her story takes them on together: they transform Marlin’s story into a daring, original play and Marlin re-claims power over the narrative of her life story.

TRUST is about creativity and the unexpected resources inside teens who may be discounted because of their youth, race, or ethnicity or because they come from under-resourced neighborhoods without access to arts programs.

Woven through TRUST are three main themes: the transformative power of art, the continuing challenges facing immigrants, and the trauma of child sexual abuse. Like the legs of a three-legged stool, these themes are interdependent and not prioritized.

Here is a preview of the film:

TRUST won the United Nations Association Film Festival’s Youth Vision Award, the Sebastopol Documentary Film Festival’s Jury Award, and the Reel Raquache Best Documentary Award and has screened in many film festivals, community organizations, and conferences.

I look forward to discussing with attendees the ways in which we have encouraged communities who screen TRUST to reflect upon the profound effect arts education can have on crossing boundaries and giving audiences new tools to deal with difficult subjects.

I’ll also provide TRUST Community Screening tool kits and TRUST Curriculum Guides as a tool to think about how you can document your own programs and use film as a communication tool to spark conversations about the importance of arts education in your own community.

I hope to see you in San Antonio!

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