International Youth Media Summit Tackles Tough Social Issues

The ninth annual Intl. Youth Media Summit, founded by teachers Evelyn Seubert and James Gleason from Cleveland High School Media Academy in Reseda, Calif., and Aileen Marshall of Screen School in Scotland, brings together young filmmakers between the ages of 14 and 24 from around the world to empower their generation through media and action. Countries represented at the summit have included China, Sweden, Serbia and Iran.

“We knew that there was a great untapped potential in kids,” Seubert says. “They think they can do anything and sometimes they can.”

During the two-week summit, which takes place July 14-27 at Soka U. of America in Aliso Viejo, Calif., teens will collaborate with Hollywood professionals and nonprofit experts to create seven PSAs based on seven issues: discrimination, environment, health, poverty, violence, women’s rights and youth empowerment. Some of the PSAs have been featured at the L.A. Short Films Festival.

Per Seubert, the summit makes a lasting personal, community and worldwide impact.

“Every kid comes up to me and it’s like it’s a secret. ‘Ms. Seubert, they’re just like us,’ ” she says. “And that’s the amazing thing that happens when you get kids together from around the world. Words can’t describe the incredible possibilities that one sees in the last days of the summit — the energy, the passion, the connection. It really gives me hope for the future.”

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