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Film Made by Boys in Westchester Jail to Premiere

VALHALLA, N.Y. – A film created by students in a youth program at the Westchester County Jail in Valhalla will premiere at the Jacobs Burns Film Center (JBFC) in Pleasantville Monday night.

The nine-minute feature film that chronicles masculinity in prison today was filmed entirely within the confines of the prison by a handful of now former inmates from the Southern Westchester BOCES Incarcerated Youth Program.

"It's been an incredible experience for the JBFC to work with the Incarcerated Youth Program and we are proud to be screening the courageous story the students chose to tell this year," said Emily Keating, director of education programs at the film center. "This transformational experience provides the youth with essential 21st century digital literacy skills and gives them a powerful means of expression."

The film entitled “In Waiting” is an adaptation of Israel Horovitz's seminal play “The Indian Wants the Bronx,” which tells the story of an Indian native who comes to New York knowing very little English and is subsequently taunted and attacked by some young punks.

JBCF staff spent six months teaching the students how to film and edit digital video and helped them produce, write and direct a film amid the dark, barren walls of the jail.

The film project initiative first began at the jail in the fall of 2008. “In Waiting” is the third film made by youths and JBCF. The first was called “Judgement,” which explored the idea of being judged and judging others, while the second, called “Look Inside,” looked at the daily life experiences of being in jail and reflections from students.

The Southern Westchester BOCES Incarcerated Youth Program serves approximately 900 students annually and 140 students a day. There are 18 classrooms available to students, who are in class five hours a day. Credits for the courses are given by the home school districts of the students.

Donnie Simmons, supervisor of the program, said the goal is to "provide the best quality educational services we possibly can to this entire constituent population."

None of the students who worked on “In Waiting” were available for comment. A panel discussion will be held at Jacob Burns following the screening, which is scheduled to take place at 6:30 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.

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