Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Non-Fiction Pick: Andrew Jenks: My Adventures as a Young Filmmaker

Andrew Jenks: My Adventures as a Young Filmmaker
by Andrew Jenks
Scholastic Press
224 pages

Available March 1, 2013

If you’re under twenty-five and watch MTV, you know who Andrew Jenks is. Jenks is a wonderkid of film and ideas. He started the Hendrick Hudson Film Festival when he was just sixteen years old. By age 24, he had his own documentary series on MTV called “World of Jenks.”

His HBO film “Room 335” captures him moving into an assisted living facility and interviewing its older residents as to what is the meaning of life? Jenks finds that there was nothing to do all day except, “…board games, TV watching, nail polishing, and mealtime. And bingo. Bingo was big.” The movie shoot transforms his thinking. Jenks says, “I thought I was going to make a movie about a nursing home….I thought I was going to make a movie about old people, but left knowing that the movie was about Tammy, bill, Josie, Dotty, Elinor…” He sees them not as old people but as friends regardless the huge age difference.

The New York Post raved about the documentary, “It’s a gorgeous, hilarious, sad, wonderful, unblinking look at the joy of life—even at the end of it.”

This book documents each of Jenks’ endeavors in film and his job as correspondent for MTV covering the 2012 presidential election. Not just a filmmaker, Jenks felt that his job was to “vocalize their (young people’s ) interests.” The statistics are grim for people under 30. An average college student graduates with student debt and no hope of securing a job. 25% of those who had moved out of their parents’ house have had to move back home. Jenks believes that young people are getting the shaft from politicians. Most tax money supports programs for the elderly: Medicare gets $486 billion, yet education only gets $68 billion. And Jenks wants to be a “conduit” for his generation.

The blurb from the back cover says it best, “I want to tell the stories of my generation. I want to be a filmmaker that is able to capture what my generation thinks, how they act, and what they ultimately stand for.” (Andrew Jenks)

Highly recommended grade 7-up. Any future filmmaker/thinker, creator will love this book. Jenks’ book will resonate kids who dream big dreams.

FTC Required Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher. I did not receive monetary compensation for this review.

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