We are very proud to have screened and supported this film at 2014 A3C Festival. Paper City is a film & educational program made for youth to achieve their dreams through education, empowerment, and nonviolence. Paper City is currently in the final weeks of a Kickstarter campaign. Check out the video and support.
Paper City is a feature-length documentary about the American Dream and the school-to-prison pipeline—the nationwide phenomenon in which high school dropout rates coincide with mass incarceration of urban youth. Set in Holyoke, Massachusetts, a post-industrial city once known for its thriving paper industry, Paper City follows Iesha Ramos, a college student born and raised in Holyoke who returns to her old middle school every day to run her afterschool program for arts and leadership, the Teen Resource Project.
Paper City started from interviews with these students, who must navigate booming drug economies, struggling school systems, gang warfare, and unprecedented rates of incarceration to make it to graduation. Paper City reveals these issues firsthand in a visually and musically driven experience that incorporates the perspectives of community leaders—teachers, law officers, activists, and politicians—for youth to understand these issues and the power they have as individuals to make a choice about the future.
At 45 minutes, Paper City was intentionally designed for use as an educational resource in middle schools, high schools, and juvenile detention centers to help youth realize their dreams outside the school-to-prison pipeline. The film’s central message is this: you have power, and your power will change the world.