LatinaLista — Since its founding in 1999, Scenarios USA has been an organization that empowers at-risk youth via film and writing. The way it works is that the Scenarios USA team sets a yearly theme as part of its Real Deal program. High school students write a screenplay that fits the theme. Then screenplays are selected where the young writers are paired with accomplished directors to bring their short films before audiences, from broadcast on cable TV networks to film festival screenings.
Each film deals with an issue relevant to young people and helpful to educators. Discussion guides are supplied with each film.
This year’s Real Deal theme was “What’s the real deal about masculinity?” It was a question that Treviny Marie Colon, a student at the High School of Fashion Industries in the Chelsea section of New York, tackled in her screenplay “Man in the Mirror.”
Directed by Joel Schumacher, who directed “Batman Forever,” this short film tells the story of a popular, athletic Puerto Rican high school student with a girlfriend…and a boyfriend.
Already a winner of several awards and slated to be shown on Showtime, Treviny reveals she had a deeper reason for writing her story than just getting accolades:
There are so many young men of color who are afraid to come out because they’ll be labeled and judged. They’ll be rejected by their family, friends, community and religion. Because they’re afraid of losing everything they’ve ever known. And every time they hear a slur against gays, or don’t hear anything about homosexuality in a sex-ed class or a discussion on masculinity, they become more fearful. They hide from themselves. When people see Man in the Mirror, I hope they’ll step into the unknown, see what’s rarely talked about and understand exactly what’s at stake for a gay man of color in the closet.