american teen

American_teen_08.jpgi got to attend a screening of the documentary film, american teen, up in hollywood recently, and i was absolutely blown away. this film won the documentary category at sundance, and is scheduled for theatrical release in late july, spreading to 1200 screens in august.

american teen documents the real-life stories of 5 high school seniors in warsaw, indiana. the school queen bee, the top jock, the dreamboat guy, a unnoticed geek, and an artsy girl who doesn’t fit in. if they weren’t real kids, it would be easier to dismiss as classic stereotypes, especially since they kind of fit in an up-to-date breakfast club portayal. each kid reveals their inner struggles and hurts, and i found myself crying in the screening more than once (which was a bit awkward, since it was a small screening, with about 30 people, in an invitation-only screening room on a studio lot, full of pretension and posturing).

i’m trying to think about what ys could or should do with this movie, because i really feel like every single youth worker in america must see this thing. i would love to have teams of volunteers see it together, then talk about it.

it’s real life stuff, not a christian film; so it’s full of real life teen stuff (including language).

here’s a good summary review of the film from its screening at sundance.
here’s a youtube interview with the creator, nanette burstein.
and here’s a facebook page for the movie, with video clips of the characters, and lots of other good stuff.

10 thoughts on “american teen”

  1. hey marko – thanks for the head’s up on this. it will be in such limited release – maybe you guys could sell the dvd at convention & in your store after it comes out?

  2. I’m in a funny spot, because I grew up in Warsaw, and I know some of these kids’ families. It was really gutsy for them to be as open as they are. I agree with the person before, maybe there’s a way you can show it at NYWC, or be able to sell it. Sounds like a long shot, but it might be worth it. It’s going to open in our hometown, so hopefully I’ll be able to see it.
    It’s kind of strange, because it’s the same town that did “two weeks back”, which made it on the news as well (
    I’m really looking forward to seeing it.

  3. just saw a preview for this yesterday…looks like one for youth leaders to see. Thanks Marko for the info.

  4. I’m in! You already have me excited about this movie. I am hoping that it comes out in a theater in Grand Rapids, MI because I think this movie would be well worth seeing. Hopefully we can get the word out, because it really looks like this would be a valuable learning opportunity.

  5. i can’t wait to see this (somehow) and then do a comparison between nz kids and american teens. so much of our culture is influenced by the same things – it would be interesting to reflect on different and same.

  6. Is this something that we could see with the youth as well? Just curious what you thougth since you have seen it…

  7. erin – i would totally see it with older teenagers. it does have a lot of language; but it’s their real world. i probably wouldn’t take a teenager 14 or under to see it, unless you see it first.

  8. thanks- that’s what i was thinking, especially after watching the trailer. looks very interesting and like a great senior high outing!

  9. I was a youth pastor in that area during my early years in youth ministry, and time does pass slower there than it does in other places. Meaning, the Breakfast Club stereotypes really is a good example of how cliques (vs clusters) are the operating style of grouping.

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