The many voices of Morristown, hip hop style, competing in Film Fest, Aug. 24


By Rachael Moore

There are many ways to document a story, as viewers will discover at the Sixth Annual Film Festival on Saturday, Aug. 24, 2013.

Morristown Mo-Town takes an innovative approach to Short Documentaries–the competition’s theme–by describing Morristown with an original hip hop song.

Local youths, ages 12 to 18, had full creative control over the project, with help from TeenPride Inc. and Arts By The People.

Scene from 'Morristown Mo-Town,' a hip hop entry in the Sixth Annual Film Festival.
Scene from 'Morristown Mo-Town,' a hip hop entry in the Sixth Annual Film Festival.

“The kids did all the planning,” said TeenPride director Dan Levitt. “About 20 kids were involved and they did everything except for the editing, which was done by our artist, Gustav Guantlett.”

Filmed over six weeks in April and May, the artists got together twice weekly for a few hours to brainstorm about how they wanted to convey their feelings about Morristown. A hip-hop video was the final decision, and the teens began writing the lyrics, recording their song and coming up with the choreography and production.

Guantlett, a resident of Brooklyn, pulled together the final piece and served as the “conductor of the orchestra,” Levitt said. The main teens on screen, Noelle and Chris, were the rappers and enjoyed writing the lyrics themselves. Camera-shy kids helped as extras and crew members.

The Sixth Annual Film Festival

Saturday, Aug. 24, 2013

Hyatt Morristown, 6 PM

Admission: Free. Live music: SteppingSTONE Band

Home-grown short documentaries; vote for your favorite!

Bring lawn chair / beach blanket for indoor beach party

“For the kids, being a part of this documentary was a great way to express their feelings. They were honest about where they live and had a unique take on sharing things that were different than an adult’s opinion,” said Levitt.

Levitt said the documentary started taking shape last winter.

“We talked to Paul Rabinowitz, the executive director at Arts By The People, and we wanted to do something positive with the kids so they could have a voice. They were very flexible and in tune with what kids like these days. Also, with their technology savvy phones and YouTube experience, we decided that a video was the best way for the kids to shine!”

Teens plan 'Morristown Mo-Town,' their entry in the 2013 Film Fest.
Teens plan 'Morristown Mo-Town,' their entry in the 2013 Film Fest.

TeenPride is a nonprofit that provides counseling and activities designed to promote self-esteem, self-reliance and healthy lifestyles.

Established in 2009, Arts by the People is a nonprofit that provides educational and artistic opportunities for youths and seniors.

Morristown Mo-Town is competing for prizes in three categories: Diversity, Critics’ Choice and People’s Choice. The show starts at 6 pm in the Hyatt Morristown’s Plaza Ballroom. Admission is free; bring a lawn chair or beach blanket for this indoor beach party.

Rachael Moore of Morris Township is majoring in communications at Adelphi University, where she will be a senior this fall.


MG Film Fest 2013 poster reprise

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