by Amanda McCann, staff writer

ENT Center of The Arts, Colorado Springs, Colo. — On Thursday February 8th, the Youth Documentary Academy will host “Shifting the Lens: Real Films, Real Talk,” an evening showcasing eight films produced by high school students that focus on mental health and identity struggles.

The event will include two time blocks, with four films shown in each block. The first block, from 1:40pm-4:20pm, will focus on intergenerational mental health while the second block, from 4:45pm-7:20pm, will focus on Immigration, Colorism, Toxic Masculinity, and Transgender Lives.

After each time block, there will be a panel with not only the young filmmakers, but also the faculty of the UCCS Social Work program. The event will be moderated by the director of the Pikes Peak Suicide Prevention Partnership.

After the sessions, it is highly encouraged to continue the hard conversations in the lobby where there will members of the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Department of UCCS facilitating conversations and giving the audience members an opportunity to share their thoughts.

Deputy Director of the YDA, Mari Moxley, says “I love that it brings what we normally put away into the corner into the light and takes the stigma away, and allows people to seek resources outside of [the event].”

Moxley also says that this should promote “healing for all generations. Gen Z is courageous around mental health subjects, whereas older generations are typically not.”

The Youth Documentary Academy is a program that showcases powerful stories high school students ages 14-18 tell through the artistry of filmmaking. By controlling the narrative of the stories through their art, they are able to create impactful documentary-style films such as the ones being shown on Thursday, which opens the door for courageous conversations.

If you would like to attend both time blocks, please register for both separately. This event is free and open to members of the community 14 years and older.