An online fundraising campaign has been launched to help Ute Mountain Ute teens attend next month’s LA Skins Fest.
Earlier this year, some 14 teens from Towaoc wrote, directed, produced and performed in “Escape,” a 23-minute narrative film depicting struggles that Native American youths face living on a reservation. Tapped as an official selection at LA Skins Fest, “Escape” makes it national debut at Culver Studios in Los Angeles on Nov. 15.
A recently launched social media GoFundMe.com campaign aims to cover the cost to send all of the Ute Mountain Ute teens that had a role in the film making process to attend the Native American film festival.
“Your contribution will help give these youth a once in a lifetime experience to present their film, and speak on a national stage about the prevention of teen suicide and violence,” said fundraising organizer Beverly Santicola.
Santicola is seeking individual donations of $20 or more prior to Nov. 13.
“Escape” centers on the lives of two main characters, Rachel, a bullied teen played by 14-year-old Kamea Clark, and Adam, a teen struggling with his sexual orientation, portrayed by 17-year-old Wendell Mills, Jr. The duo forms a suicide pact to escape their perceived hopelessness.
“It moved me,” said Ute Mountain Ute Chairman Manuel Heart after a world premiere screening in Cortez earlier this month. “This is going to open people’s eyes as well as their hearts and minds.”
“Escape” is one of 50 films to be screened at LA Skins Fest, which aims to offer a voice for emerging Native American actors, filmmakers, writers and directors.
To donate, visit gofundme.com/sv6gjk6g.
To view “Escape,” visit vimeo.com/141806754.