Original film by Brooklyn teenagers exposes devastating effects of gun violence in their Bedford Stuyvesant neighborhood
SAN FRANCISCO — Feb. 9, 2005 — Salesforce.com/foundation, the leader in integrating philanthropy and business, today announced that "Bullets in the Hood — A Bed-Stuy Story", a short documentary directed and produced by two teen filmmakers, earned a Special Jury Recognition Award at the Sundance Film Festival last month in Park City, Utah. The film, recognized by the festival's Shorts Jury, was partially funded by the Salesforce.com/foundation, via a grant to New York's Downtown Community Television Center (DCTV). In recognizing "Bullets in the Hood — A Bed-Stuy Story" with a Special Jury Recognition Award the jury commented, "This film was chosen not only for its passion and candor, but for being emblematic of the future of grassroots political filmmaking."
"Bullets in the Hood — A Bed-Stuy Story," produced through DCTV's Professional Television Training program (PRO-TV), provides a raw and heartfelt perspective on inner-city teenagers struggling with the issues of gun violence in their community. Produced by 19-year-old filmmakers Terrence Fisher and Daniel Howard, the film focuses on Fisher's best friend Timothy Stansbury who was accidentally killed in January 2004 by a New York police officer patrolling the Louis Armstrong Housing Project in the Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn. The January 2004 shooting was deemed "unjustified" by New York Police Commissioner Ray Kelly. The police officer involved was not indicted following a grand jury investigation.
Fisher was standing behind Stansbury when he was fatally shot. "Bullets in the Hood — A Bed-Stuy Story" draws on the video footage that Fisher captured in the tense hours and days that followed the controversial incident to examine reactions to the shooting from Stansbury's family and other project residents.
Fisher and his DCTV classmate Howard were working on a documentary about gun violence when the killing occurred. "Bullets in the Hood — A Bed-Stuy Story" was produced in DCTV's New York studios and supported by a grant from the salesforce.com/ foundation as part of its commitment to providing the tools and resources for multi-media expression to youth in underserved neighborhoods around the globe. Salesforce.com/ foundation honored the excellent work of Fisher and DCTV at the Second Annual Youth Film Festival in San Francisco in September, 2004.
"We are incredibly proud of Terrence and Danny," said Mami Kuwano, filmmaking instructor at DCTV's PRO-TV program for inner-city youth. "Recognition from an organization such as Sundance is a huge boost for all of the young filmmakers in the program. It validates the importance of their voices, as well as their skills, which are on par with the best in the country. We're grateful that the people at salesforce.com and the salesforce.com/foundation were willing and able to help make this happen."
In the four years since the Foundation was created, it has supported more than 60 community technology centers in 12 countries and awarded numerous grants for youth media projects around the globe. The foundation's annual Youth Media Festival introduces the work of young filmmakers, photographers, artists and writers from around the world on topics such as peer pressure, drugs, health, homelessness and peaceful co-existence. The 2004 festival brought together more than 50 students from four continents, including Fisher and Howard, for the world premiere screenings of their award-winning multi-media projects. A selection of projects can be viewed at YouthSpace.net (http://www.youthspace.net).
"We've found that 'at-risk' youth are often attracted to programs that allow them to express themselves in unique and creative ways," said Suzanne DiBianca, executive director, salesforce.com/foundation. "Young filmmakers have an important voice. Multi-media programs allow that voice to be heard while also teaching valuable technology and production skills that are critical to upward mobility in today's world. Terrence and Danny's success sets a great example for other aspiring young filmmakers and brings an important voice and perspective to the Sundance audience."