East Bay/Oakland Tribune Article about Adina's Deck
Here’s a link to the original article from Sept. 17, 2007
Movie shot around Bay Area addresses teen cyber-bullying
Oakland Tribune, by Karen Holzmeister
CASTRO VALLEY — “Adina’s Deck,” a new film about teenage cyber- bullying, got its start with a tip from Sarah Moody, a Canyon Middle School counselor.
The 30-minute movie was fleshed out in talks with students at Kennedy Middle School in Redwood City and La Entrada Middle School in Palo Alto.
With young volunteer actors from throughout Northern California, the educational video was shot in May at Gunn High School and Jordan Middle School in Palo Alto, and an Atherton home.
Now co-directors Debbie Heimowitz of Castro Valley and Jason Azicri of Santa Clara are marketing the movie to school districts and educational organizations.
It’s also been accepted for the Kids First Film Festival, which features new and classic children’s movies, television programs and DVDs.
All pretty heady stuff for Heimowitz, 26, and Azicri, 27, the producer and writer of the film, respectively. They shot quickly on a shoestring budget, benefiting from volunteer time and services from sponsors, cinematographers and production companies.
Most of all, Heimowitz and Azicri said, they had the help of hundreds of teenagers on-screen and off to get across their message:
Threatening Web sites, e-mails and text messages happen in the workplace and are often directed at celebrities, such as Britney Spears, and especially at teenagers.
“To some (teenagers), cyber-bullying is funny and a joke, but harmless,” Heimowitz explained. “Others are malicious and they want to hurt somebody. There’s also a big disconnect, a gap, like ‘I know I hurt somebody, but no one will get me.'”
“Adina’s Deck” focuses on Adina, Clara, Skye and Melody. Adina, herself a former cyber-bully, and Clara use computer technology to help Skye discover who created an “I Hate Skye” Web site and who is sending threatening messages.
The “deck” refers to a deck of cards. Players are given five cards and can speak only if they offer a card. A player must hug the person they’re addressing after five cards are used.
Azicri, originally from Miami, met Heimowitz in Los Angeles a couple of years ago, where they created “The Sofa,” an independent movie.
He’s now obtaining his master’s degree in psychology at Santa Clara University. Their joint film project was Heimowitz’s thesis project at Stanford University, where she just completed her master’s degree in design and technology.
Heimowitz, a child actor in musical theater and commercials, wanted to design a show around an educational problem and its solution.
When she spoke with Moody — a co-worker of Heimowitz’s mother, Barbara — the Canyon counselor said self-mutilation, rumors and cyber-bullying are major concerns.
The pre-production work and writing by Azicri — the storyteller – – started in February. Casting calls at Stanford, on Craigslist and at the San Francisco Academy of Art resulted in resumes from 300 Northern California teenagers excited about the prospect of movie- making. About 125 people were involved in what Heimowitz estimates was a $500,000 production.
Final casting, set design, music selection, obtaining insurance and finding shooting locales were conducted simultaneously.
If the film sells, Heimowitz and Azicri hope to create six more episodes, showing teenagers transforming bad technological practices into good ones.
Check out film trailers, the story behind “Adina’s Deck” and resources to discourage cyber-bullying at http:// www.adinasdeck.com.
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