At James Lick Middle School, many students have expressed concerns about an increase in teen depression. For 8th graders, Leia, Sofia, and Laura, it affects some of their closest friends. Their film, Depression: The Untold Story, examines this complex issue through their friend Kyle’s experience with depression. For Kyle, as the film suggests, being gay caused a lot of turmoil in his relationships with his family and friends, ultimately leading to depression and the will to live. In their film, the student filmmakers wanted to express how adults think the life of teenagers “is much easier than theirs when it’s not most of the time.”

The film uses dramatizations as ways to illustrate the events that lead up to Kyle’s suicide attempt as well as weaves in a blend of found online videos, images, and statistics about teen depression. Below, is the original outline of the film.

This video was made in collaboration with KQED and San Francisco Peer Resources as part of Project VoiceScape, a partnership with Adobe Youth Voices, PBS, and POV that is aimed at encouraging middle and high school students nationwide to use digital media tools in creating compelling stories about issues and concerns important to them. At Lick Middle School, the students all picked different themes to explore like depression, immigration, graffiti, video game addiction, domestic violence, and race and discrimination. Students produced incredibly poignant films about social issues that personally affect them. Through this personal lens, these films aim to express issues subjectively and do not attempt to hold any sort of objective journalistic integrity. These films also do not represent the opinions of any of the partnering organizations.

KQED Education also worked with students from Philip and Sala Burton High School. All of the work was done in collaboration with the San Francisco Ed Fund’s Peer Resources program. At Burton, the students all picked the theme of college access as a focus for their films. The concept references financial struggles, immigration issues, lack of support, fears and anxieties.

And now, the film Depression: The Untold Story, produced by Leia Brownson, Sofia Ruiz, and Laura Quintero.

Project VoiceScape’s Depression: The Untold Story 10 October,2011Matthew Williams


Matthew Williams

Matthew Williams is a filmmaker and media educator who has recently transplanted to Oakland from Los Angeles. He believes that you are what you eat and feels everyone should have a multitude of dietary options for self-realization. Matthew is the Educational Technologist at KQED.

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