First Week of Media Lab Summer 2011!

My name is Leneya and my first day of MediaLab was Monday, July 11. The first two days we learned the basics of documentary production and researched our documentary topic: Undocumented Youth. I learned the roles of script supervising and set design. My classmates learned how to operate the digital video cameras, the still camera, the lights, the sound equipment, how to set up a shoot and be directors and producers.

The third day, we went to The New York State Youth Leadership Council  which is the only undocumented youth led organization in NY that works on improving access to higher education and creating equal opportunity for immigrant youth and children of immigrants regardless of immigration status through leadership, development, organizing and advocacy. They are working on passing the NY Dream Act, a bill that if passed will allow immigrant youth who have grown up in the US to access to state funded financial aid programs, obtain financial support for their education, ability to enroll in health insurance programs, access to NY state drivers license and equal access to any and all internships. We went there to interview one of their youth leaders, who is a Columbian born undocumented college student at Lehman college, named Melissa. It took us 45 minutes to set up the shoot and make Melissa feel comfortable. As the set designer, I chose the sign that would fit perfectly with the tone of the interview. It read: Pass The Dream Act Now. I also arranged how and where she would sit and helped advise on where the lights and cameras would be placed. It took a few trials to get the set in order.

Through listening to her story, I was able to place myself in her shoes and understand how she feels and the struggles she goes through as an undocumented resident. I was inspired when she shared the quote that her mother and grandmother tell her “ People can steal anything from you, but they can’t steal your education.” This quote is relevant because your education is your key to success and we all need to work on passing The Dream Act so all people have the right to an education. We appreciate how the other members of The New York State Youth Leadership Council  were very open to sharing their space with us and allowing us to interview Melissa so she can make the documentary personal.

Blog Post by Leneya
Photography by Kendra