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THE CIVIC HEART Powered by AT&T, BCAT, and Squeaky Wheel Student Film Project | Arts & Culture

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THE CIVIC HEART Powered by AT&T, BCAT, and Squeaky Wheel Student Film Project
THE CIVIC HEART Powered by AT&T, BCAT, and Squeaky Wheel Student Film Project

THE CIVIC HEART powered by AT&T, Buffalo Center for Arts and Technology (BCAT), and Squeaky Wheel documentary project is a powerful short film diving into the motivation of “public servants” and outlining the ways in which all residents can have a voice in the future of our beloved Buffalo and Western New York region.  Thirty high school students from all over the City of Buffalo worked as a team for six weeks to create a documentary to capture the spirit of the people who serve the people of Buffalo and all of Western New York during the free 2017 Summer Youth Arts Program.  Instructor Kevin Kline worked with teens program to develop this unique Buffalo specific documentary supported by AT&T.

The premiere of student created THE CIVIC HEART powered by AT&T, BCAT, and Squeaky Wheel documentary was held on Thursday August 24th at 11am at the home of BCAT at 1221 Main Street.  A brief ceremony highlighting the teens’ accomplishments took place before the inaugural viewing of THE CIVIC HEART powered by AT&T, BCAT, and Squeaky Wheel.

AT&T’s partnership with BCAT and Squeaky Wheel on this initiative was a unique and creative way to expose local students to the skills and technology necessary to create film, new media and multimedia projects. As video content continues to become more and more popular, the profession of filmmaking and content development has become more and more in demand. In addition, it provided the students with a unique opportunity to learn valuable lessons on civic engagement, public duty and what it entails to be a public servant. The distinguished community stakeholders and elected leaders participation in the documentary proved very rewarding for the students and will help all viewers of the movie benefit from their distinct perspective on civic engagement through elected positions and community activism. 

Educational programs like this one are important because according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics and U.S. Department of Labor, much of the growth in the domestic and global economy will come from science, technology, engineering and math (STEM)-related jobs – a highly lucrative and competitive field. It is estimated by 2020 there will be 2.4 million unfilled STEM jobs. This underscores the importance of engaging students in STEM and providing them the tools and skills necessary to compete in the innovation economy.

AT&T’s $20,000 contribution to support this film and STEM program is part of the company’s legacy of supporting educational programs focused on STEM and emerging technology disciplines in New York. The support was made possible by AT&T Aspire, the company’s signature $400 million philanthropic initiative that drives innovation in education by bringing diverse resources to bear on the issue including funding, technology, employee volunteerism and mentoring. Aspire is one of the nation’s largest corporate commitments focused on school success and workforce readiness by creating new learning environments and educational delivery systems to help students succeed and prepare them to take on 21st century careers.

Civic community leaders featured in the film include:

·         Mayor of the City of Buffalo Byron Brown

·         University at Buffalo  Civil Engagement Academy Barbara Bono

·         Teens In Progress Paulette Chapman

·         US Congressman Brian Higgins

·         New York State Assemblywoman Crystal D. Peoples-Stokes

·         Former City of Buffalo Common Council President James Pitts

·         City of Buffalo Common Council President Darius Pridgen

·         New York State Senator Chris Jacobs

·         New York State Senator Tim Kennedy

·         Citizen Action of New York Samantha Nephew

·         Partnership for the Public Good Sarah Wooten

“AT&T is proud to support the production of this inspiring film and to provide an opportunity for these impressive young minds to share their unique perspective and artistic vision on civic engagement and duty in Western New York and I thank the elected officials and community civic leaders for participating in this film and sharing their personal insight and civic drive with the students,” said Kevin Hanna, director, External Affairs, AT&T.  “As the world’s economy continues to transform at a robust pace — requiring a workforce with a focus on technological education and literacy — STEM programs like this one that provide immersive learning environments are vital to ensure that the students of today are equipped with the transformational skills needed to compete in the global innovation economy of tomorrow.”

NYS Assemblyman Crystal D. Peoples-Stokes, who participated in the film, said, "I am impressed by the maturity of these young people and their ability to take on such a project.  AT&T, BCAT and Squeaky Wheel should be commended for their dedication to their students!"  

Da'Von McCune BCAT Youth Coordinator said, "We are so thrilled with the work and dedication from all of the students on this project. It has been inspiring to see their teacher Kevin bring out the best in each of the students as individuals while bringing them together to create a team."

The civic theme of the film project was selected by the students because civic engagement is becoming a more and more needed and discussed concept and practiced in our current social and political climate. At this moment, now more than ever, residents across the country are re-evaluating what it means to be engaged in their communities, politics and neighborhoods.  It was also selected because Buffalo is known as “The City of Good Neighbors” and students wanted to learn more about the civic acts that are practiced in many ways in their community and tell the story via video on the region’s vibrant and diverse civic scene, with many areas of social, political and environmental ideas being represented in the film.  THE CIVIC HEART powered by AT&T, BCAT and Squeaky Wheel explores individuals from both the community as well as elected officials in the city and state.  This short documentary explores the reasons why people have chosen their paths to serve our community and perhaps more importantly what fuels their passion and continues to engage their hearts.

Kevin Kline , Education Director, Squeaky Wheel Film & Media Art Center added, "This is our 15th year running the Buffalo Youth Media Institute (BYMI) providing media literacy and training in media arts to the youth in the City of Buffalo. Each year we set out to create a project that engages the students with different aspects of their city. This year was an exceptional group of youth and a very daunting project that allowed the kids to grow, become leaders and find a platform for their voices through the media arts."

Internet access to the short film can be found at http://squeaky.org/education/buffalo-youth-media-institute/ or https://vimeo.com/230949841.



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