Program originally ran February 2 – April 5 2021

All programs are free to view. Please consider a donation to the VSW Film Series so that we can continue to support artists, and preserve and share our collections with the public.

  • Curator’s Statement

    When watching these films I struggled to find common ground at first. I was originally thinking I wanted to do something centered around activism that engaged the youth but I realized everything doesn’t have to all connect to that one aspect of my life. After watching all the films I realized that they were all showing the youths take on certain topics. Then I realized that could literally be my theme. The lens of the youth. And so, that is what you will see all throughout the film. The youth’s lenses through their powerful voices in spoken word pieces, questions they ask in interviews, and even the angles they decide to film from.

    -Sarah Adams, Curator

    We Are the Young: The Power of Youth Voices is a selection of early videos from the VSW Archive that demonstrate the resilience, power and poetic vision of young adults. These videos were shot and edited between 1972-1982 by youth in Rochester and NYC using the earliest form of portable video equipment, the Sony Portapak. Community Curator Sarah Adams has selected key moments from these early works that highlight the unique approach of these young filmmakers as they set out to explore, challenge and interpret the world around them. Despite the low resolution of the early video format, these works remain poignant examples of the power of youth voices.

    Sarah Adams is a poet, community organizer, social justice activist and Youth Ambassador who has been actively participating on the frontlines of protest movements for years. Sarah is one of Rochester’s most vocal and visible community leaders, organizing student walk-outs to protest teacher layoffs and co-authoring a list of Student Demands with the Youth Advocacy Committee, a student led activist group that addresses homophobia, transphobia, and racism in the Rochester City School District. With the support of her parents, Mary and Ricardo Adams, Sarah – who is fourteen years old – is just getting started.

    This is event is part of VSW’s Community Curator Program.

    The Community Curator program invites representatives from  community groups in the Rochester region to curate film screenings using VSW’s collection of over 10,000 film and video titles.  For more information on how to participate, visit the Community Curator page on our website.

    The VSW Film Series is made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature, and by the ArtWorks program of the National Endowment for the Arts.

  • Sarah Adams, Community Curator
  • Program includes excerpts of the following videos:

    B’ism Allah Outtakes (1975)
    A youth poetry and performance troupe in Rochester, NY, arranged by teacher Ken Starkis. Produced by Nancy Rosin/Portable Channel.

    East Side Community Center (1979)
    Youth from Rochester’s East Side Community Center travel from the East Side Community Center along Melville Avenue, interviewing community members about their neighborhood. Produced in cooperation with Mark Brady and the East Side Community Center’s Youth Outreach Program.

    Ankh #5 (1976)
    Youth discuss Black Student Union at East High circa 1976. Produced by Charles McGill/Portable Channel.

    Youth Video Projects (1982)
    Student projects from the videographics class of Wilson Magnet High School and Frederick Douglass Jr. High School, Rochester NY

    All About Arthur Ave (1979)
    “Youth Perspectives in Video:Belmont Tape, Community Cable Center of Washington Heights” NYSCA report on summer workshop on Video Production for young people by the Community Cable Center of Washington Heights (NYC).