The after school program at West Preparatory Academy in Harlem, NYC, gathered more than 150 middle schoolers to learn, discuss and develop ideas through creative activities in order to create short documentaries about social values including gender equality, bullying, poverty and the environment. This educational workshop helped the teens to develop their analytical skills through creativity and have been used to foster the dialogue between the Harlem community and the youth of the neighborhood.

3 of these series of 7 short documentaries, “International Girls Day”, “Celebrating Diversity” and “Better Call the Principal”, have been selected as a finalist for the 2018 SONYC FILM FESTIVAL, the recognized festival which celebrates New York City’s youngest and coolest filmmakers from all SONYC after-school programs.

The Documentary Lab has been lead by the filmmaker Pablo Herrera assisted by Alex Faoro, Kent Jackman, Nolan Padilla, Nathael Louis and Shonda Westbrook. Pablo Herrera’s important and critical role in this program, resulted in increased participation by the youth of Harlem and improved art education methods that were greatly received by both, the educative community and the participants.

Reel Works Teen Filmmaking, the organization behind this after school program at the “West Prep,” has been founded in Brooklyn 20 years ago. Reel Works serves over 800 youth annually from middle school through high school and beyond, developing them as young artists and citizens and helping them graduate, get into college, and launch careers in media. It’s a powerful combination that changes young lives while creating startling and original films that have been seen by millions of viewers worldwide.

List of Documentaries:

Let’s Stop Global Warming Students speak out about the consequences of global warming and generate ideas about how we can stop it.

International Girls’ Day Through a series of activities and interviews, students talk about the Rights of Women and expose ideas to achieve a more egalitarian society.

Better Call the Principal Students interview Mr. Carland Washington (the West Prep Academy Principal) asking him about the struggles to be a principal.

Bullying Isn’t Nice Students speak out about bullying, an aggressive behavior that is intentional and that involves an imbalance of power or strength.

Celebrating Diversity This short video shows the incredible diversity of New York.

Let’s Talk About Human Rights These series of  interview fragments have been an important piece to define the topics and contents developed by the students during the 2017/18 program.

Happy Holidays This short choreography was made by the students to celebrate the 2017/18 holidays.

Be up today with the last productions by following this project on Vimeo Channel.