One of the most moving scenes from LOVE’s film festival is an interview with Twinkle Rudberg.
Rudberg was with her husband when he was killed confronting a young boy who had just stolen a lady’s purse. It was based on this experience that she decided to create the Leave Out Violence program.
Leave Out Violence, referred to as LOVE, is an anti-violence organization aimed at providing at-risk youth with media training. The program welcomes young people aged 14–19 who have been touched by violence in some way. Some members of the program have been victims of violence while others have committed violent acts themselves.
The organization held their first annual film festival on Oct. 28 in order to promote their new television show, The LOVE Project.
The film festival is a culmination of efforts from this summer when LOVE worked in Lawrence Heights helping youth express themselves through pictures and video. Many of those videos will be featured on the new show.
“What we do is we teach them how to capture their world and show other people because some kids aren’t that good at talking about what’s going on in the community but they might be really good at showing it,” said Steve D’Alimonte, program coordinator.
One of the videos lined up for the television show is a documentary talking about the controversial Lawrence Heights revitalization project. Dylan Pelletier and Matthew Johnson are both just 14 but did the filming, editing, and even the soundtrack for the short film.
“It was a little hard to edit. It was complicated but it was fun,” Pelletier said.
Youth who are a part of the program learn not only tangible skills that may help them in their future careers, they also gain confidence and become more engaged with their communities.
“It did make me a bit more open,” Johnson said. “Well, actually a lot more open then I was before.”
Youth start out in the media arts program where they get their first taste of media training.
“Upon entering the program each of the youth get a free digital camera and when they complete the program they keep that camera,” D’Alimonte said. “They then graduate into our leadership training program which is where we then teach them to use their photos and go back out into schools and communities and to talk to other youth.”
Aravi Rajeswaran, who conducted the video interview with LOVE’s founder Rudberg, became involved with the organization three years ago and is now interning with them. While first drawn to the program because of her interest in photography, she believes it is LOVE’s unique approach that appeals to young people.
“Whenever we do programs here it’s always the youth talking to the other youth. So it’s not necessarily an adult going and preaching to children about anti-violence. It’s youth kind of connecting with youth at that level,” Rajeswaran said.
Participants hope that its new TV show will help them connect with young people on an even greater scale. The show, which debuts on Oct. 29, has been guaranteed six episodes on Rogers TV, airing on Friday nights at 10:30 p.m.
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