This article was originally published in The Notebook. In August 2020, The Notebook became Chalkbeat Philadelphia.
Glen’s Village, a documentary film produced by the Notebook this year in partnership with 5th Borough Films, has been accepted to four film festivals – from New York to Arizona. The Notebook has launched a crowdfunding campaign to use this film to create awareness of childhood trauma.
The film, by former Notebook intern Dorian Geiger and reporter Paul Jablow, chronicles the life story of Glen Casey, a West Philadelphia native who was dealing drugs as a high school freshman and failing school, but has gone on to attend the University of Pennsylvania, where he is an urban studies major.
Glen’s Village will be screened first at AMFM Fest: Flagstaff, which runs Aug. 27-30 in Flagstaff, Ariz. The 30-minute film was nominated for the “Short Documentary” category.
It will also screen at the Peachtree Village International Film Festival, which will be the weekend of Sept. 26 in Atlanta.
Glen’s Village was also accepted into the first Miami Independent Film Festival and another in New York City.
The son of a deported drug dealer, Glen – and his family – experienced his brother’s death from a gunshot wound. Glen’s cousin survived several gunshot wounds years later, and his mother died shortly before the film was made. And the high school that played a key role in Glen’s turnaround was shut down. The film illustrates the impact that childhood trauma can have on a student, and the "village" of support that it takes to overcome the wounds.
Glen is not alone in his experience.
In Philadelphia, the Institute for Safe Families found that over 37 percent of adults report at least four kinds of traumatic experiences in their childhood. That means more than 400,000 people may live with the consequences of childhood trauma in Philadelphia alone.
Countless young Americans growing up with trauma do not have access to the variety of supports they need to prosper on a road filled with obstacles. But Glen’s story demonstrates that when those needed services are provided, success is possible.
The Notebook is working to create a Glen’s Village package containing the film, a discussion guide, and a poster that can be mailed to principals, high school guidance counselors, and other education advocates who wish to host screenings of the film. It can become a catalyst for raising awareness about childhood trauma and the need for additional resources in schools struggling to help these students succeed.
The Notebook has launched a crowdfunding campaign that seeks to raise $6,000 to fund the film’s promotion and free distribution, and the creation of materials used to raise awareness about the consequences of childhood trauma. This effort needs your support. Contributions can be made here.
The film can be watched in three installments here on the Gallery page.
Greg Windle is an intern at the Notebook this summer.