Pushing Buttons, Pushing Boundaries: Venice Arts’ Debut Web Series Gives Diverse Students a Voice

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What happens when you give a group of diverse, young filmmakers all the tools they need to make a web series? Nothing short of magic. 

Venice Arts is pleased to announce the arrival of Pushing Buttons, the first web series to come out of its media arts workshops for low-income youth, which debuted on 10/13/15. Created by our dedicated Advanced Film students, Pushing Buttons follows the story of a young electronic music producer, Amanda, who finds herself under house arrest with her overbearing mother after a violent, public meltdown. Over the course of the series, Amanda is forced to face herself and her family history in an attempt to come to terms with both. 

With guidance from industry professionals teaching artists in Venice Arts’ Art Mentoring program, the teens wrote, produced, and shot the 8-episode series, learning the ins and outs of script writing, casting, and post-production along the way. What began as an idea in mid-January 2015 has now come to fruition as a result of students’ relentless hard work and dedication.

While the finished project is impressive, Pushing Buttons represents much more than a class project—it is also exemplifies Venice Arts’ mission of igniting impoverished youths’ imaginations through innovative art mentoring and education programs that amplify their creative voices. In making the necessary tools accessible to our participants, and letting them take creative control, Pushing Buttons gives a group of underrepresented youth a platform to make the media they want to see. More importantly, it serves as an entry point for our students—largely, young people of color—into the film and television industry, equipping them with competitive skills and credentials. It is a direct catalyst for diversifying the largely homogenous field, allowing all voices to be heard.

Through projects like Pushing Buttons, students affront the lack of diversity in Hollywood. In proving themselves as worthy, up-and-coming directors, writers, producers, and editors, they not only expand others’ expectations of them, but also broaden their own sense of possibility for their lives.

Subscribe to the Pushing Buttons Youtube Channel for updates and behind-the-scenes footage!