PREMIERING ON "TRULY CA" PBS SERIES
In a city infamous for crime and high dropout rates, the Destiny Arts Center in Oakland, California, provides a safe place for teens to share their stories, build community, and express themselves through dance. Each year, 20 diverse students are accepted into the Destiny Arts Youth Performance Company, where they spend months creating a performance based on their dynamic lives.
Under the thoughtful guidance of Destiny's artistic director, Sarah Crowell, each journey reveals how collaborative art can serve as a foundation for personal discovery, growth, resilience, and hope.
Capturing the powerful grace of a performing arts company for at-risk youth, FREE: The Power of Performance
journeys behind the curtain to spotlight the intimate stories of five particular inner city teenagers whose lives are transformed by the power of collaborative dance.
Created for classroom or community use with the help of educators and the Destiny Arts Center, this 21 page guide provides a variety of ways to help explore the issues in the film and give your class or group the opportunity to share their personal stories and ideas, to discuss the film's themes, and to engage in verbal and movement exercises taught at the Destiny Arts Center. Primarily for high-school age youth, but appropriate for ages 13 and older.Click here if you are interested in purchasing the guide >Click here for an excerpt>
LEARN MORE ABOUT DESTINY ARTS CENTER • www.destinyarts.org
LEARN MORE ABOUT FREE: The Power of Performance
Reviews and Festivals“Even though you might shed a tear or two in sympathy, FREE is ultimately an uplifting, colorful documentary... Seems like these kids will be all right.”
— San Francisco Chronicle
"RECOMMENDED. Mixing personal interviews with street, home, rehearsal, and final performance footage, the stirring documentary captures the reality of everyday life for a group of diverse, talented, and gregarious teens, showing how involvement in the arts inspires hope and raises confidence."
"Candid discussions of alienation, HIV status, sexual abuse, and gang violence contribute to the dauntingly complex storylines that shape the performance they co-create. They turn courage, determination, and stamina into a contagious joy and a breathtaking, inspiring performance."
— Napa Valley Film Festival
“A beautiful, three dimensional portrait of a program that is building emotional resilience and courage in some of Oakland’s most vulnerable and talented young people.”
— Courtney E. Martin, author, Do It Anyway and Project Rebirth
"A tremendously real look at what struggling inner city teens face in their everyday lives. We were extremely fortunate to have the opportunity to share this film with our students.”
— Rebecca C. Walker, Principal, Fort Bragg High School
"Issues are aired in the safe environment of the company, where expression can be both in words and movement. Ultimately, this is a film about hope, change, and life...Might provide hope to teens facing challenges and the adults who serve them."
— School Library Journal
"RECOMMENDED for school and public libraries and communities where there is interest."
— Library Journal
“David Collier and Suzanne LaFetra’s stirring, up-close documentary follows five of the teens in the Destiny Arts Youth Performance Company as they co-create a piece that asks them to dig deeply into the motivating dilemmas and hopes of their lives -- to tell the truth, even if it hurts, because the truth will in some degree set them free.”
— Robin Menken, Cinema Without Borders
"When public fiscal belts get tightened, arts programs for urban youths often suffer the most. This inspiring documentary slams home the point that nonprofits such as Oakland’s Destiny Arts Program are vital not only to teens but to communities overall.”
— The Mercury News
Mill Valley Film Festival, Audience Favorite/Active Cinema Gold
SF Indiefest, Audience Award, Best Documentary
MY HERO International Film Festival, First Place, Excerpt Category
Napa Valley Film Festival
Orlando Film Festival
Dances with Films
Mendocino Film Festival
Richmond Diversity Film Festival
Middlebury New Filmmakers Festival
Women’s International Film & Arts Festival
Oakland International Film Festival
Ojai Film Festival