This compelling event will showcase short films produced by Chicago area students who had dropped out of high school and re-enrolled back into small, community-based high schools. The films are developed in classes taught by Community TV Network instructors, and sponsored by the Alternative Schools Network. Some of the schools have incorporated the project into the classroom curriculum. Schools also utilize the film curriculum in their after school programs and in their regular classes where students use the cameras as a tool for personal reflection and artistic expression. Teens chose their topics for the films, deciding above all what messages teens really need. These films take several months to produce, and include topics students considered crucial, including domestic violence, voter registration, safe sex, and gang violence. “The Film Festival enables students to develop the skills and techniques necessary for using this medium effectively. Moreover, it debunks the stereotype of African Americans and Latinos as performers, in front of the camera, by requiring students to be the producers, directors, and editors behind the camera,” said Jack Wuest, Executive Director of the Alternative Schools Network. The Film Festival gives students the capacity to disseminate their stories to a wide and varied audience.