The Bottom Line
The Scenarios USA films are an important contribution to the available media addressing issues like sexual orientation, sexually transmitted infections, eating disorders, and teen pregnancy. For years I have used them in my classes and I have found them to be a great way to connect teens to topics the movies address.
Scenarios USA holds contests on a given theme (say masculinity) and invites teens to submit scripts. The winning scripts are then turned into short films.
The organization explains that they use, "Writing and film to foster youth leadership, advocacy and self-expression in students across the country, with a focus on marginalized communities."
- Because they are written by teens, most films discuss relevant issues.
- The films covers a wide range of topics.
- There is generally good production quality.
- Some films are better written and acted than others.
- Earlier films may seem a little dated to teens.
- A series of short films on a variety of topics related to the teen experience.
- Contests are held around the country. Teens submit scripts and the winning ones are produced.
- Films are directed by pros who have worked on features like, The Bourne Identity, Borat, and But I'm a Cheerleader.
Guide Review - Scenarios USA Sex Education Films
Scenarios USA creates sex education films written by teens and directed and produced by professionals with Hollywood credentials.
The majority of the films are very effective. The Monster, written by incarcerated teens uses humor to tell a story about fear and stigma around HIV / AIDS. From an Objective Point of View catches the viewer's attention with its take on a pregnancy scare.
A few films have elements which make them less appealing. For example, Today I Found Out, which is about pregnancy among Mexican American teens, includes an anti-abortion statement which might make some viewers uncomfortable. And Nightmare on AIDS Street is a little overly dramatic. But for the most part the films are engaging, fun and compelling
Films That Address GLBT Issues.
- In Lipstick , a soccer player comes out to her friends.
- Just Like You Imagined, follows three teen couples, one of them gay, as they deal with relationship pressures.
- Who I Am tells the story of two girls, one black and poor and the other one white and and gay. The girls struggle to understand each other after being assigned to work on a school project together.
- Man in the Mirror looks at the effect of rumors that a teen boy is gay and how this impacts his self concept and experience at school.
Scenarios USA has done a solid job of creating a venue for the teen voice. I hope that educators across the country discover these films and agree with that assessment.