Pinch Me Films Puts Teenagers’ Reality Back into “Reality Programming”

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Progressive, youth-oriented media company expands from educational/documentary productions into television. Berkeley-based Pinch Me Films is filming a pilot about six individuals coping with issues of relationships and sex. The series is called Xchange.

Pinch Me Films (http://www.pinchmefilms.org) has announced a groundbreaking series that brings a fresh, honest view of teenage sexuality to television. Titled “Xchange,” the program is a bold new take on the reality-show genre, chronicling the experiences of a group of teenagers as they produce a short film looking at sexuality from their own perspectives.

The 13-episode series, now in pre-production, showcases six teens from diverse backgrounds as they collaborate on their own film about desire, choice, relationships, and sex. With assistance of Pinch Me Films, the subject/filmmakers conduct interviews, write, shoot, and edit a complete film. Xchange will document the process in a reality-series format, letting these young people tell their stories as they learn and work together.

The new project takes Pinch Me Films forward from their previous work in educational documentaries and youth programs into programming for television. The idea for Xchange came from the success of their Silence Ain’t Sexy project. “Making Silence Ain’t Sexy, we were blown away by the knowledge, maturity, creativity, and drive of the young people we worked with,” says co-founder Julia Robertson. “What if they create the next installment themselves? The combination of provocative subject matter, powerful personalities, and a fresh, honest approach will make a really compelling alternative to “reality” programming.”

The project meets an important need at a crucial time. As Robertson explains, “Giving teens the information they need about sexuality is more important than ever. Teen pregnancy rates are still alarmingly high, and some STDs are actually on the rise, but at the same time responsible sex education is being replaced by abstinence-only approaches or disappearing completely.”

Many parents feel that schools and should take care of sex education, or that it’s not a really a problem. Schools, under pressure from all sides, look to parents to take responsibility. And teens who attend church typically hear a message of abstinence, an approach many experts consider dangerously out of touch with reality.

According to a recent People Magazine/NBC poll, 67% of teens had never learned about sex from a teacher or nurse in school, while 72% had never learned about sex in church. Yet 41% of these 15- to 16-year-olds were sexually active. [http://people.aol.com/people/articles/0,19736,1017005,00.html

Where do teens get the information they need? From the media. Young people up to age 17 watch an average of 15,000-18,000 hours of television each year, compared to 13,000 hours spent in school. Recognizing the huge role of broadcast media in shaping teenagers’ beliefs and attitudes, Pinch Me Films works with young people to produce teen-oriented media content, addressing the issues that matter most to teens in a style that challenges and entertains.

“We call our work ‘media with a conscience.’ We use the power of media to help youth learn to make responsible choices. Xchange takes the concept a step further, bringing teens into the heart of the process,” says Robertson. “Teens place a huge value on honesty, on ‘keeping it real’. This project is a real as it gets, and we expect it to have a powerful impact.”

ABOUT PINCH ME FILMS

Pinch Me Films (PMF) is a non-profit organization that promotes social change by creating and distributing entertaining and educational media for youth. The organization’s name reflects their mission to help people wake up and talk candidly about important social issues that are obscured by silence, ignorance, or hype.

Director/Producers: Crescent Diamond, Julia Robertson and Nils Moe co-founders of PMF (Bios available at http://www.pinchmefilms.org/bio.htm). Our Board of Advisors includes Barbara Huberman, founding board member of the National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy and current National Director of Education and Outreach Education for Advocates for Youth, Washington D.C.; Dr. Lynn Ponton, author of “The Romance of Risk: Why Teenagers do the Things They Do” and “The Sex Lives of Teenagers”; and Dr. Dale Rose, an expert in psychometric measurement and evaluation of educational programs. Part one of the “Silence of Sex” documentary series has been endorsed by Planned Parenthood. Part two is in production.

Pinch Me Films

Contact: Donna Lehman, 510-525-1474

dlehman@market-up.com

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Donna Lehman