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Triggering Wounds: New York Teenagers Make Raw Film About Gun Violence
April 27, 2013
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NYPD investigate a shooting in East Harlem - El Barrio

This video is the trailer for a new 15-minute documentary called 'Triggering Wounds' about gun violence in Harlem, New York.

The film was shot, edited and produced by 14 high school students, who are part of the Teen Producers Academy at the Maysles Institute in NYC.

It was shown this week at New York's Tribeca Film Festival and screened last night at the Harlem Hospital Center.

The filmmakers, who come from three New York City boroughs and New Jersey, share the story of "Beloved", a former Harlem gang member and shooting victim left for dead in the middle of the street.

He served 8 years in prison for his crimes, but has straightened his life out and is now part of an anti-violence group in the community.

The students spent a year and a half making the film, focusing mostly on families who've been directly affected by shootings.

'Triggering Wounds' shows tearful family members attending S.A.V.E., (Stop Another Violent End), a group of mothers who've lost children to gun violence.

The most jarring sequence though, is a visit to the Harlem Hospital mortuary, where too many young people end up.

Here's the trailer.

The film is aimed at 13 to 24-year-olds, with the original idea of showing it to gunshot victims while they're still recovering in hospital. Now, the plan is to show it to people long before they end up hurt or in danger.

Erik Cliette, director of injury prevention at Harlem Hospital, tells the New York Daily News, "Once young people see this film it will kind of let them know how much the community wants them to be safe. We're hoping that this will penetrate and they will make changes that will be productive for them."

In West Harlem, 125th Street has become a front line for tensions between gangs in two large public housing developments. The president of the local tenant council tells the Village Voice: "There are a lot more gangs. There's nothing for kids to do with their time."


From here, the young filmmakers are looking to take their work to Los Angeles, Chicago and other cities.

As one of the directors Josue Loayza, 17, puts it "Gun violence is not only an issue in Harlem. It's a very universal topic. It can happen to anybody."


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