Film highlights area youth

‘Action Conversations: Bellows Falls,’ which tackles youth issues across generations, premieres March 6

BELLOWS FALLS — A dance documentary film project, “Action Conversations: Bellows Falls,” premieres Thursday, March 6, at 7 p.m. at the Bellows Falls Opera House.

This screening, the first time the final cut has been shown in any movie theater, is a collaboration of Vermont Performance Lab and Youth Services. Admission is free.

Along with the screening, organizers promise a dialogue between local youth and audience members about growing up in Windham County, and how the community can best support youth in growing up as healthy, empowered, and contributing members of society.

Visitors also will hear from local youth who were part of the filming, and Los Angeles-based choreographer Victoria Marks, who directed the “action conversations” (of movement, self-expression, and dialogue) workshop and film.

Marks visited Windham County three times over 18 months to research and plan for “Action Conversations: Bellows Falls.”

In June 2012, she returned with Los Angeles-based documentary filmmaker Ann Kaneko to embark on the project that brought together the participants: five adults and five teens, all women from the Bellows Falls area.

In an event announcement, Sara Coffey, director of Vermont Performance Lab, said the shared hope for the project is “to help bridge a perceived gap between adults and youth in Bellows Falls, and I believe that this residency with Vic Marks helped initiate a conversation and some trust that I hope will continue beyond the project and the film.”

For the five young women who participated in “Action Conversations: Bellows Falls,” the project served as part of their job training with Youth Services' summer youth employment program. The five adult women donate 60 hours of their summer to participate with the youth on the project.

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