My American Dream: Stories of Immigration

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John C. Williams, Stephanie Walter Williams

Reel Works Teen Filmmaking
77 minutes. DVD $75.

These 11 short films in the “By Teens for Teens” series are products of after-school filmmaking workshops for at-risk teens in Brooklyn, N.Y. Viewers see America and the world through the lens of each young filmmaker – all immigrants.

Palestinian Nael Samara’s “Home” conveys the agony of losing family members in the Arab-Israeli conflict and the cluelessness of Americans who don’t know where Palestine is. “Rules of Engagement” is Noeman Samdani’s attempt to come to terms with his Pakistani parents’ insistence on arranging his marriage and their refusal to consider his desire for a filmmaking career.

Dameon Mills from Grenada dedicates “Out of the Picture” to his father, interviewing three friends about “what happens to teenage boys who grow up without their fathers.”

Although her mother brought her from Jamaica for a better life, Monique Campbell and her girlfriends in “Missing Melodie” agree that their hard-working mothers are missing their daughters’ lives.

Young filmmakers from Germany, Jamaica, Paraguay and countries of the former Soviet Union also offer thought-provoking perspectives. Collectively, these immigrant experiences pack a powerful punch that will persuade American youth to recognize our shared human experience with those of other cultures.

Each film, made between 2002 and 2008 and lasting from four to 10 minutes, is worth seeing and discussing. (212) 279-0708, ext. 115; http://www.youthcomm.org/mva/merchant/mv (orders); http://www.reelworks.org.