A look at our own ‘Backyard’

Drexel grad Amanda Danziger recruited teens to make a movie about Penn Town.  Credit: Ferasha Films
Drexel grad Amanda Danziger recruited teens to make a movie about Penn Town.
Credit: Ferasha Films

Amanda Danziger, the founder of Ferasha Films, discovered her passion for filmmaking as a student at Drexel University doing volunteer work abroad. Her first two films documented that work: “Umuryango” was about children orphaned in the Rwandan genocide, and “Threads of Hope” was about women at a fair trade vocational school in India.

But her third project hits closer to home. “The Backyard Philly Project” is about four teens growing up in Penn Town, the housing project at Seventh and Greene. Danziger handed out video cameras and gave them a topic each month, from October 2011 to June 2012. The teens filmed themselves and their neighbors, creating video journals about the problems around them: violence, inadequate schools, often a lack of support at home. Interviews supplement this footage.

All four of the movie’s subjects have hopes for a better life — one has already graduated from college, and two of the other three are planning to attend, thanks to a boost from the Helping Hand Rescue Mission, a safe haven from the problems in Penn Town. Youth director Adam Bruckner was the one who originally got Danziger involved in the neighborhood, when he recruited her to be a tutor in the mission’s after-school program.

“Filming is different in Philadelphia,” Danziger says. “In a third-world country, I’d stick out like a sore thumb. In Penn Town, there were still cultural differences — we had to learn about the culture of the housing project, which is different from the culture I grew up in — but once we did, we were able to blend in.”



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Federal mediator joins Met Opera labor talks as…

Unions representing the orchestra and chorus of the Met Opera agreed to have a federal mediator join labor talks on Thursday as a threatened lockout loomed.

Local

Winning $7 million New York lottery ticket sold…

The only $7 million winning New York Lottery ticket for Monday's Cash4Life drawing was sold at a Queens 7-Eleven, officials said on Tuesday.

Local

Brooklyn man charged in roommate's stabbing death

A Brooklyn man accused of violently stabbing his roommate to death on Monday is in police custody and faces murder charges.

International

Dinosaurs could have survived asteroid strike

It turns out there is a good and a bad time for the planet to be hit by a meteor, and dinosaurs were just unlucky.…

Movies

Review: 'Guardians of the Galaxy' is a refreshingly…

Marvel is sitting so high on a cash mountain that it's now thrown $170 million at the relatively obscure and very silly title "Guardians of the Galaxy."

Movies

Review: 'Get on Up' is a war between…

James Brown finally gets his own boring biopic with "Get on Up," but the Godfather of Soul puts up a good fight against the usual cliches.

Movies

Review: 'Child of God' finds director James Franco…

James Franco's 11th directed feature is a noble but sloppy adaptation of Cormac McCarthy's "Child of God," about a feral mountain man (Scott Haze).

Movies

Review: Alex Gibney's Fela Kuti doc 'Finding Fela'…

Prolific documentarian Alex Gibney takes on Afrobeat god Fela Kuti in "Finding Fela," but fails to capture his unique essence.

MLB

Yankees land Stephen Drew, Martin Prado at trade…

Yankees land Stephen Drew, Martin Prado at trade deadline

College

Playing the Field: Valentine's Day coupling edition

  It’s Valentine’s Day, a day created by Hallmark to make couples spend loads and loads of money on candy, flowers and gourmet dinners. Or…

MLB

Angelo Cataldi: Ryan Howard deserves better from Phillies

Just last week, Ryan Howard endured the embarrassment of a benching that was inevitable, and yet still shocking.

NFL

Larry Donnell has inside track in Giants tight…

Little-known Larry Donnell of Grambling State currently has the inside track, as the second-year player has received the bulk of the first-team reps.

Career

What do you wear to a career fair?…

Getting that gig starts with presenting the most polished and memorable version of yourself, so refer to our expert fashion advice.

Style

Editors pick: Margiela's finger armor ring

These cool rings from Maison Martin Margiela are designed to overlap over the finger, covering each joint like armor.

Style

Givenchy champions diversity

Riccardo Tisci's uses a variety of ethnically diverse ladies for his spring campaign including Erykah Badu.

Wellbeing

Don't settle for the hotel fitness center with…

Travelers who want to skip the hotel fitness center in favor of local gyms that may offer better equipment, classes and amenities can turn to…