‘To be Heard’ was heard loud and clear at the 2011 Hamptons International Film Festival. The documentary, directed by Roland Legiardi-Laura, Amy Sultan, Deborah Shaffer and Edwin Martinez, played to a very attentive audience.

Shot with casual immediacy over four years, this inspiring and poignant documentary follows three high school friends as they overcome the challenges of daily life in the Bronx through poetry, expressing their personal hopes and frustrations. Empowered by the message of a radical poetry workshop whose motto is, “If you don’t learn to write your own life story, someone else will write it for you,” Anthony, Pearl, and Karina emerge as a group of accomplished, self-aware artists. These teenage friends––the “Tripod,” as they call themselves––use their creativity to alter their circumstances and, ultimately, write their own life stories.

The story commences with the din of the city.  It is set in the Bronx and chronicles the lives of three teens over a four year period.  The three main characters deliver masterfully performed soliloquies throughout the film.  These soliloquies serve to relay each character’s story.

The film successfully explores human emotions or feelings through poetry.  It addresses the sense of hopelessness and helplessness that these teens feel  as a result of their home life.  However, there are three adults who strive to show these teens that they can have a better life. So, through power writing /poetry they provide an effective forum for them to vent their inner frustrations, their hopes and dreams.

Power writing is a peaceful, quiet and safe place for them to escape to in the midst of the din.

This story is effectively relayed on screen and serves to draw empathy from the audience.

It is a tear-jerker.  A must see.  It is a lesson in hope and possibilities.

– Angela Ramsay –

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