Changing the world one film at a time

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BYU students who traveled the world and witnessed change firsthand now have the opportunity to bring back what they saw and inspire people to do the same.

Seven films about social entrepreneurship will premiere tonight at the Peery Film Festival. The free festival will start at 6 p.m. in the Pardoe Theatre in the Harris Fine Arts Center. The documentaries were produced by film students and highlight three organizations that are making a difference around the world.

The film festival is a joint effort between the Ballard Center for Economic Self-Reliance and the Department of Theatre and Media Arts. One purpose of the festival is to explain how students can link their skill sets with the world of social innovation. The event is open to the public but is intended for BYU students who want to know more about getting involved with social entrepreneurship and the Ballard Center.

The Ballard Center is an academic center through the Marriott School that searches for new innovations that address some of today’s biggest social problems. Brad Hales, administrator for the Ballard Center, said one purpose of the center is to encourage students to utilize their skills to help change the world.

“There are a lot of social needs around the world and there are many new and innovative ideas being created to alleviate these problems,” Hales said. “We want students to understand how to do good with whatever major they’re in. If they’re interested in non-profit work they can incorporate it with their skill set.”

The Peery Film Festival highlights how film students used their skills to make a difference. BYU film students traveled to San Francisco, Ecuador and the Dominican Republic to capture the lives of social entrepreneurs creating change in the everyday lives of citizens.

Kody Threlfall, a film major from Provo, worked on producing a film in the Dominican Republic. The film focuses on Ayuda, an organization that helps children in South America manage their diabetes. He said bringing stories like this to the screen inspires him to go into the non-profit sector with his work.

“You can help with hardships through film,” Threlfall said. “It’s a great way of spreading the word.”

Sara Volte, a recent film graduate, helped edit the Ayuda documentary in addition to traveling to San Fransisco to film Youth Venture, a nonprofit that helps disadvantaged youth by giving them opportunities to change the society they live in. Volte said working behind the scenes gave her great insight into how much effort each volunteer puts forth in trying to improve the lives of those around them.

“It’s cool to see how much goes into an organization,” Volte said. “The ones we filmed worked with youth and taught them how to become leaders. It was cool to see them focus on that.”

Andrew Scheuermann, a junior from Eden, also helped with the Youth Venture films. He also had the opportunity to work on the film about a group in Ecuador that helps the impoverished become entrepreneurs through a process called micro-consignment. Similar to microeconomics, micro-consignment consists of giving products to those who can’t afford them so they will sell them and create their own businesses.

“Seeing the hands-on approach of these groups was very inspiring,” Scheuermann said. “A lot of time and effort goes into helping these people and it was great to be able to capture that and bring it back to people.”

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