August 2003

Grant Results

SUMMARY

At the 2002 Taos Talking Picture Festival, Taos, N.M., and in the period leading up to it, Taos Talking Pictures initiated a youth education program to counter the glamorization of smoking depicted in the media.

Taos Talking Pictures is a not-for-profit media arts organization that seeks to encourage the thoughtful production and informed consumption of mass media. The organization has sponsored an annual film festival since 1995.

Key Results

  • Taos Talking Pictures initiated a health-related component to the "Teen Media Conference" during its 2002 Talking Picture Festival (April 11–14 in Taos, N.M.) and conducted 25 health-related media education programs from January to April 2002.

    These programs were geared toward middle and high school students. The 2002 film festival screened 120 films and videos and attracted 9,000 filmgoers and 200 filmmakers and media professionals.

    According to project director Jason Silverman, Taos Talking Pictures accomplished the following:
    • Reached approximately 1,900 youth at the 2002 film festival and through the health and the media education programs leading up to it.
    • Identified and acquired 19 feature films, short films and documentaries that are free of tobacco use and addressed issues such as product placement and advertising and film techniques directed at youth (see the Appendix).
    • Conducted 19 Critical Viewing Workshops that helped youth learn about the connections between what they watched and their health.
    • Conducted six health and the media presentations and screenings for middle school, high school and college students.
    • Initiated "Teen Health and the Media" in the 2002 film festival's Teen Media Conference. The session, attended by 115 student media makers, featured a screening of The Ad and the Ego, a documentary that explores how advertising distorts reality, and a discussion led by the film's director and composer.

Funding
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) provided partial support of $15,000 for this project between October 2001 and October 2002.

 See Grant Detail & Contact Information
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THE PROBLEM

In recent years, Hollywood films have increasingly presented smoking as a natural and cool youthful experience. In New Mexico, where the rate of tobacco addiction is already higher than average compared to the rest of the United States, tobacco abuse by teens continues to rise.

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THE PROJECT

Taos Talking Pictures initiated a health-related component to the "Teen Media Conference" during its 2002 Talking Picture Festival (April 11–14 in Taos, N.M.) and conducted 25 health-related media education programs from January to April 2002. These programs were geared towardmiddle and high school students. The 2002 film festival screened 120 films and videos and attracted 9,000 filmgoers and 200 filmmakers and media professionals.

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RESULTS

According to project director Jason Silverman, Taos Talking Pictures accomplished the following:

  • Reached approximately 1,900 youth at the 2002 film festival and through the health and the media education programs leading up to it.
  • Identified and acquired 19 feature films, short films and documentaries that are free of tobacco use and addressed issues such as product placement and advertising and film techniques directed at youth (see the Appendix).
  • Conducted 19 Critical Viewing Workshops that helped youth learn about the connections between what they watched and their health. Media education experts used videos and discussions to teach small groups of middle and high school students how to critique movies and television. Workshops were held at high schools, residential substance abuse treatment centers and youth groups.
  • Conducted six health and the media presentations and screenings for middle school, high school and college students. Media activists made presentations, showed videos and led discussions at schools, colleges and three public screenings.
  • Initiated "Teen Health and the Media" in the 2002 film festival's Teen Media Conference. The session, attended by 115 student media makers, featured a screening of The Ad and the Ego, a documentary that explores how advertising distorts reality, and a discussion led by the film's director and composer.

Communications

Taos Talking Pictures disseminated its list of smoke-free films at the 2002 film festival.

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LESSONS LEARNED

The project generated the following lessons.

  1. Middle school students are more receptive than high school students to messages about the influence of movies on their decisions about smoking. Taos Talking Pictures found that middle school students who participated in this project were enthusiastic, interested and engaged, while the high school students were less receptive and, for the most part, had already made up their minds about smoking. (Project Director)
  2. Working with small groups of motivated teenagers can be very productive. Taos Talking Pictures found that some small groups of motivated teenagers were eager for information and to take action; project staff thought offering more comprehensive programs would enable them to become persuasive advocates for responsible media. (Project Director)

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AFTER THE GRANT

Taos Talking Pictures is enhancing, and continues to sponsor, the Critical Viewing Workshops. The organization plans to include a health and the media program in the 2004 festival; the 2003 festival did not include workshops due to lack of funding.

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GRANT DETAILS & CONTACT INFORMATION

Project

Teen Health and Media Festival to Counter Inaccurate Depictions of Tobacco Use

Grantee

Taos Talking Pictures (Taos,  NM)

  • Amount: $ 15,000
    Dates: October 2001 to October 2002
    ID#:  043502

Contact

Jason Silverman
(505) 982-2097
artisticdir@ttpix.org

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APPENDICES


Appendix 1

(Current as of the time of the grant; provided by the grantee organization; not verified by RWJF.)

Smoke-Free Films Featured at the 2002 Taos Talking Picture Festival

The Ad and the Ego
Darkside
Earth, Wind, Water
Escuela
Grand Champion
The Hidden Fortress
Low-Tech Hijinks
Much Ado About Something
The Price of Forgiveness
Rages and Rhymes
Ram Dass: Fierce Grace
Ravi Shankar: Between Two Worlds
Rocks with Wings
The Shaman's Apprentice
Topa Topa Bluffs
A View from Within
Waterboys
Wildflowers
You Are Here

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BIBLIOGRAPHY

(Current as of date of this report; as provided by grantee organization; not verified by RWJF; items not available from RWJF.)

Sponsored Conferences

"2002 Talking Picture Festival," April 11–14, 2002, Taos, N.M. Attended by nearly 9,000 filmgoers and 200 filmmakers and media professionals, with 120 films and videos from 26 countries screened. The "Teen Media Conference" featured "Teen Health and the Media," a documentary screening and a discussion. Attended by 115 student media makers from 13 states.

Sponsored Workshops

Several "Critical Viewing Workshops," were held from January 18 through March 20, 2002, in Taos, N.M. Attendees were middle school and high school students. Specific locations and dates are listed below.

  • Casa de Corazon (residential treatment center), January 30, February 20, February 27 and March 6, 2002.
  • Chamisa Mesa High School, January 24 and February 6, 2002.
  • Community Wellness Council, January 29 and February 25, 2002.
  • Evolving Creative Opportunities (arts-related youth center), January 23, January 30, February 6, February 13, February 21, February 27 March 6 and March 20, 2002.
  • La Plaza Telecommunity, February 4, 2002.
  • Rocky Mountain Youth Corps, January 30, 2002.
  • Taos High School, January 18, 2002.

"Health and the Media Workshop," March 4, 2002, Taos Middle School, Taos, N.M. Attended by 208 middle school students.

"Screening and Workshop: The Ad and the Ego," April 9, 2002, Taos High School, Taos, N.M. Attended by 250 high school students.

"Screening and Workshop: The Ad and the Ego," April 10, 2002, Taos Middle School, Taos, N.M. Attended by middle school students.

"The Link Between Advertising and Smoking and Alcohol Abuse," April 10, 2002, Taos, N.M. Attended by sixth-grade students and teachers.

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Report prepared by: Karin Gillespie
Reviewed by: Lori De Milto
Reviewed by: Molly McKaughan
Program Officer: Nancy Kaufman