Teen Health and Media Festival Seeks to Counter Glamorization of Tobacco Use

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.
    • 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.