View the full Project VoiceScape documentary short films and vote your favorite until Sept. 30, 2011!

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.

Sergio Ricardo Ortiz - Project VoiceScape

Project VoiceScape filmmaker
Sergio Ricardo Ortiz

Sixteen-year-old Sergio Ricardo Ortiz of Viera, Florida, is a gamer. There’s no doubt about it. But when he starting asking whether video game violence could affect behavior in the real world, he knew he was onto an idea that could make for a great documentary.

The result of his curiosity is Pwning @ Life, a Project VoiceScape grant-winning documentary.

Sergio learned of the grant from Mrs. Minor, his high school history teacher at Viera High School’s Academy for Digital Arts and Media, where he discovered an interest in making short films.

“She saw some of my videos and believed that I could become one
of the finalists,” says Sergio.

He applied. And after weeks of anxiety (and refreshing the Project VoiceScape page constantly), Sergio got the call that he had been selected for his new film about video games.

“I ran home from school that day and told my family all about it.”

Like any filmmaker, Sergio has had to work through the hurdles of production. “Music has become one of the most frustrating parts of the process,” he says. “The visual flairs and transitions aren’t as good as they could be.”

Juan Carlos Zaldivar (90 Miles)

Sergio’s mentor is
Juan Carlos Zaldívar
(90 Miles)

Luckily, he’s had the assistance of mentor Juan Carlos Zaldívar, the award-winning filmmaker behind 90 Miles, and Sergio says he was “very helpful.”

“I had never done a documentary before,” says Sergio. “I had no sense of direction and no idea how to produce one.” Zaldívar helped him understand “what exactly a documentary was.”

Sergio hopes that audiences will “come to view video games in a new light.”

And for Sergio? He wants to explore a career in music (“whether it’s creating sound effects or becoming a great producer”) or professional game development.

“To be able to work on the latest and greatest games would be an honor.”

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.

Published by

POV Staff
POV (a cinema term for "point of view") is television's longest-running showcase for independent non-fiction films. POV premieres 14-16 of the best, boldest and most innovative programs every year on PBS. Since 1988, POV has presented over 400 films to public television audiences across the country. POV films are known for their intimacy, their unforgettable storytelling and their timeliness, putting a human face on contemporary social issues.