Update: Morgan Wilcock won Project VoiceScape’s 2011 Best Documentary Award for This Gay And Age and the film was featured in the 2012 PBS Online Film Festival. Watch the film »
Project VoiceScape is a partnership with Adobe Youth Voices, PBS and POV to mentor today’s best young documentary filmmakers. Keep up with news from the filmmakers and their mentors on the Project VoiceScape blog.
Watch a sneak-preview clip from Morgan Wilcock’s documentary This Gay And Age.
Morgan Wilcock learned about Project VoiceScape at the last minute, while browsing the Internet late at night, looking for summer filmmaking opportunities for local students. She says she applied for the program “on a whim” after finding the ad, but there is nothing spontaneous about her interest in film production. Morgan, a high school student from Minneapolis, began experimenting with film at age 10, and has continued making short films.
“It seemed the perfect opportunity,” said Morgan about learning of the Project VoiceScape program. “I knew my chances of being accepted were slim… When I learned I was accepted, I was ecstatic — my summer, and perhaps my entire future, had finally been set on the filmmaking track.”
The best piece of advice Morgan says she has received from her mentor, Natalia Almada (El General, Al Otro Lado), is to “begin filmmaking equipped, before anything, with a point of entry — i.e., a simple question that drives the pursuit of footage.”
In her Project VoiceScape documentary This Gay And Age, Morgan’s line of inquiry is to uncover the role of the media and differing cultural settings in shaping today’s teen experience of sexual identity. “Television programs, popular songs, and news reports either strongly advocate gay and lesbian expression or suppress it, rarely finding middle ground. Students, as a result, are forced to make drastic decisions about where they stand on the issue, for better or worse.”
Rather than accept the prevailing cultural assumption that sexual orientation is a defining, binary state, Morgan reveals that teen choices regarding experimentation and expression are more nuanced, and the identity of gay and lesbian students is not two-dimensional. “Using one-on-one interviews, I wish to expose the human side of the teens featured in my film — being gay or lesbian does not define who they are, even though popular culture often creates this illusion.”
Follow the progress of all the Project VoiceScape filmmakers and their award-winning documentary mentors, along with videos and more behind the scenes coverage, at the Project VoiceScape blog.