GOAL 1: REPRESENTATION
The Alaska trip took place over July of this year, 2016. On July 5th, the boys hiked up to camp on a mountain and when they hiked down 2 days later they discovered a country torn apart by the deaths of Alton Sterling, Philando Castile and 5 Dallas police officers. That night the boys - a mix of black, white and middle eastern teenagers - sat around the campfire discussing America in this moment. The boys argued and agreed and respected one another but like most discussions on the American tragedies of police brutality, systematic racism and a divided country, there was no solution at the end. After this emotional night we, the filmmakers, reflected and agreed that while there is no clear answer right now, maybe this film we are making can do just a tiny part towards creating peace or even saving a life. Right now, we need young African American men depicted in the media as dynamic dreamers and leaders and outdoorsmen not as statistics and not as callus stereotypes. Black lives matter and black stories matter.
America is at a divisive moment. Our country is at odds in a battle of: hate vs. hope. Brooklyn/Alaska is a story of hope. It is a story of twelve teenage boys, strangers from different neighborhoods, races, socio-economic backgrounds, GPA averages, sexualties, family structures, coming together as a teammates and comrades when confronted with the physical and mental challenges of a wilderness 5,000 miles from home. This is proof that despite what the news ticker may say, the next generation is on the right track, that “the kids are allright.”
We believe now is the time to share this message of hope, especially with young African American men at the center of the story.
GOAL 2: EXPOSING ENVIRONMENTAL INEQUALITIES
Systematic racism and classism as old as Robert Moses has resulted in an environmental inequality that restricts low income, New York City youth from accessing nature. We focus on young people from Brownsville, East New York, East Flatbush and Bedford-Stuyvesant who all have limited access to green spaces and public pools. Our concept is to examine first hand via intimate portraits, how important exposure to nature is to the development of a young person and how together with travel it can expand their world and mind. We hope that by documenting the profound change within these young men, this film will encourage more programs that offer inner city youth the opportunity to find themselves in nature.