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Sammy Linebaugh Reporting...Some local teens are taking on the stereotypes that, they say, unnecessarily divide the Salt Lake valley. Their message comes in the form of an interesting documentary film.
Music: “THERE'S A TRAIN TRACK, A TRAIN TRACK MEANT TO DIVIDE THE RIGHT SIDE OF THE TRACK FROM THE WRONG SIDE OF THE TRACK."
It's a story meant to spark discussion about stereotypes and perceptions of people living on the so-called "west side."
Lady Lavish/Utah Hip Hop Artist: "I WAS DARKER WHEN I WAS LITTLE. AND THEY SEE MY KNEES AND SAY WHY ARE YOUR KNEES DIRTY, CAUSE YOU KNOW, WE HAVE BROWN SKIN. WHY YOU DIRTY RIGHT THERE?"
Local hip hop artists are among those interviewed by these young filmmakers who set out to show life west of the tracks the way it really is.
Filmmaker: "BASICALLY ALL I KNEW WAS HOW TO PUSH A BUTTON ON A CAMERA.”
In fact none of them knew much about making movies. But they knew well their subject matter. So with help from the local non-profit studio Spy Hop Productions, Julian Lopez, brother Tony, and Anna Vakapuna got to work shooting, interviewing and writing a script.
Matt Bradley/Spy Hop Productions: "ANNA HAS INCREDIBLE STORES OF KNOWLEDGE ABOUT HER COMMUNITY AND WHERE SHE LIVES."
Anna Vakapuna, Filmmaker: "WE GREW UP WITH A SINGLE MOTHER. SHE'S A POLICE OFFICER AND SHE DIVORCED MY DAD WHEN I WAS LIKE A BABY AND HE'S BEEN, YOU KNOW, A DRUG ADDICT A LOT AND IT'S AFFECTED MY BROTHER A LOT
That brother, Vili, is featured in the film. His story includes the role music has played in helping him leave behind a life of crime. The story is also about and the battles of others whose passions and talents aren't exactly considered mainstream.
Julian Lopez, Filmmaker: "I'M KIND OF HYPOCRITICAL TOO BECAUSE I SEE PEOPLE AND I JUDGE THEM BY STEREOTYPES TOO."
Matt Bradley/Spy Hop Productions: "THEY START TO RECOGNIZE OH WAIT, I HAVE PREJUDICE AND I HOLD CERTAIN STEREOTYPES ABOUT PEOPLE WHO LIVE ON THE EAST SIDE
Three documentaries targeting issues of cultural divide -- all produced as part of Spy Hop's "Crossing the Tracks" project -- debut this Saturday.
Sammy Linebaugh/Eyewitness News: "THE DOCUMENTARIES ASK QUESTIONS LIKE HOW DID WE EVER GET THE NOTION OF THE EAST SIDE AND WEST SIDE. AT LEAST ONE ANSWER IS THE TRAIN TRACKS."
The tracks themselves are a physical barrier dating back to the 1800's. Young filmmakers here hope the tracks will, some day, be nothing more than a way to get from A to B.
For completing the film, the students receive college credit for through the University of Utah Humanities Department.