Press Releases

The Ferasha Films film crew.

The Ferasha Films film crew.

Film Facts:

Filming Dates:
October 2011 - June 2012

Press Contact:
Brendan Schaller,
Director of Communications
brendan@ferashafilms.com
 

Social:

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facebook.com/ferashafilms
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[Read what's been said in the press]

 

 

 

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 

Ferasha Films to screen new version of award-winning documentary at First Presbyterian Church of Bethlehem

Sunday, October 12, 2014 at 6 pm

 “The Backyard Philly Project” highlights the troubles faced by inner-city youth –

September 3, 2014 Bethlehem, PA – Founder and director, Amanda Danziger, and the Ferasha Films team will bring their award-winning film back to their roots for a one-night screening event at First Presbyterian Church of Bethlehem on October 12 at 6 pm. The film focuses on the stories of four teens growing up in a poverty-stricken neighborhood in the center of Philadelphia, and has been remade in a brand new way. The event is free and you can reserve tickets online at www.ferashafilms.com.

Premiering in Philadelphia in May 2013, “The Backyard Philly Project” has since won awards and accolades at film festivals near and far, including; “Best Documentary” and “Best Feature” at the 2013 Greater Lehigh Valley Filmmaker Festival, “Feature-Length Independent Film of the Year” at the 2013 Philly Geek Awards, and more. The film has been recut and the new version will officially be premiered at FPC Bethlehem on October 12.

Danziger, who works as the Contemporary Music Assistant at FPC Bethlehem, also premiered her film, “Threads of Hope,” at the church in 2010.

“We planned a screening of the film at FPC last fall, but had to cancel due to scheduling conflicts,” said Danizger. “We’re very excited to share this special version of the film with the church community.”

Poverty is a painful reality for many Philadelphians. Recent studies from the Pew Research Center show that over one out of every four residents of Philadelphia live in poverty - the second highest of the U.S.’s twenty-five largest cities. The cycle of poverty, addiction and violence is one that plagues many neighborhoods, like Penn Town: the focus of The Backyard Philly Project and four teens who struggle to break free of its grip.

 The four teens featured in “The Backyard Philly Project” were provided their own video cameras to document their everyday lives and to share their stories of growing up mere blocks from Center City Philadelphia and the Liberty Bell. The film gives a voice to the teens, whose lives have been plagued with violence, poverty, and gaps in the city’s education system.

The teens’ stories center around the Helping Hand Rescue Mission located in the heart of Penn Town. Filming began in October 2011 and concluded in June 2012. What makes this documentary special is that much of the material was filmed by the teens themselves.

“When we began this project, four of us commuted to Philly from the Lehigh Valley to film and collaborate,” said Cinematographer Bruce Kite. “Now that the five of us are scattered in different places, it’s great to bring the project back home after it’s achieved so much.”

Danziger, a 2006 graduate of Parkland High School, founded Ferasha Films in 2008. She was named to Drexel University’s elite “Forty Under 40” list of successful young alumni, and was also featured in Femme and Fortune magazine and Philadelphia’s RAW: Artists.

In addition to Danziger and Kite, Ferasha Films consists of Director of Still Phortography Nienke Izurieta, Art Director Lucas Clauser and Director of Communications Brendan Schaller. All five are natives to the Lehigh Valley.

Although a small area, the Penn Town neighborhood consists of 400 housing units, mere blocks away from historic Philadelphia sites, including the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall. The Helping Hand Rescue Mission, which is funded by the Kyle Korver Foundation, serves as a safe haven for the neighborhood. Youth Director Adam Bruckner, who runs the after school programs at Helping Hand, has been a major contributor to the film.

For more, visit ferashafilms.com/events.


"The Backyard Philly Project" to be screened as part of Greater Lehigh Valley Filmmaker Festival

Award-winning documentary will showcase the second night of local film fest --

October 21, 2013 Philadelphia, PA – The Greater Lehigh Valley Filmmaker Festival has chosen award-winning documentary, The Backyard Philly Project, to round out the second night of the festival on Friday, November 1st at 7 p.m. The film focuses on the stories of four teens growing up in a poverty-stricken neighborhood in the center of Philadelphia.

Poverty is a painful reality for many Philadelphians. Recent PEW research shows that over one out of every four residents of Philadelphia live in poverty - the second highest of the U.S.’s twenty-five largest cities. The cycle of poverty, addiction and violence is one that plagues many neighborhoods, like Penn Town: the focus of The Backyard Philly Project and four teens who struggle to break free of its grip.

Created by a team of five Lehigh Valley natives, Ferasha Films aims to shed light on Penn Town, a housing community located between 6th and 7th Streets, mere blocks from Center City Philadelphia and the Liberty Bell. The film gives a voice to four teens who have grown up in this neighborhood, and whose lives have been plagued with violence, poverty, and gaps in the city’s education system.

“The Backyard Philly Project” premiered to a two-night sold-out crowd at Drexel University in May, and was named Best Feature-Length Independent Film of the Year by the Philadelphia Geek Awards in August. It was also an official selection at both the People’s Film Festival in Harlem and the First Glance Film Festival in Philadelphia.

“We knew from the beginning that there are certain elements of this neighborhood and this life that we as outsiders would not have access to on our own,” said the film’s director, Amanda Danziger. The four teens were provided their own video cameras to document their everyday lives and to share their stories.

Danziger, a 2006 graduate of Parkland High School, founded Ferasha Films in 2008. She has also been named to Drexel University’s elite “Forty Under 40” list of successful young alumni (she was number two). Ferasha Films consists of five young professionals working in various fields and volunteering their time to complete the project.

The teens’ stories center around the Helping Hand Rescue Mission located in the heart of Penn Town. Filming began in October 2011 and concluded in June 2012. What makes this documentary special is that much of the material was filmed by the teens themselves.

“Our scheduling limitations during production and post production required us all to make sacrifices, but this is a project we all strongly believe in. The teens and their openness has touched our lives and inspired us to make an impact on our communities,” noted Nienke Izurieta, Director of Still Photography and Assistant Director of The Backyard Philly Project.

In addition to Danziger and Izurieta, Ferasha Films consists of Cinematographer Bruce Kite, Art Director Lucas Clauser and Director of Publicity and Promotion Brendan Schaller.

Although a small area, the Penn Town neighborhood consists of 400 housing units, mere blocks away from historic Philadelphia sites, including the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall. The Helping Hand Rescue Mission, which is funded by the Kyle Korver Foundation, serves as a safe haven for the neighborhood. Youth Director Adam Bruckner, who runs the after school programs at Helping Hand, has been a major contributor to the film.

“We show them that there is a good path available, and we try to walk it with them,” Bruckner said of the youth at risk. “We can’t fix the problems of a major city, but we know that we can help.”

“The Backyard Philly Project” is in the running for Best Documentary and Best Feature. It will be screened along with other short films during the second night of the festival on Friday, November 1st at 7 p.m. at the ArtsQuest Center in Bethlehem, PA. For more, visit ferashafilms.com/events.

 


The Backyard Philly Project to premiere May 10th & 11th, 2013. 
Doors open at 6pm, Movie start time at 7pm at the Drexel University URBN Center Annex

All are invited to come out to: 

  • Meet the teens who tell their stories in "The Backyard Philly Project;" 
  • View a photography exhibit by Nienke Izurieta (Ferasha Films' Director of Still Photography)
  • Share with Adam Bruckner, director of Philly Restart and youth director at The Helping Hand Rescue Mission

April 23, 2013 Philadelphia, PA –  Ferasha Films will host the world premiere of their new documentary, The Backyard Philly Project, to a sold-out audience at the Drexel University URBN Center Annex on May 11. Tickets are still available for the Press Screening event on May 10, beginning at 7 p.m. The film focuses on the stories of four teens growing up in a poverty-stricken

neighborhood in the center of Philadelphia.

Poverty is a painful reality for many Philadelphians. Recent PEW research shows that over one out of every four residents of Philadelphia live in poverty - the second highest of the U.S.’s twenty-five largest cities. The cycle of poverty, addiction and violence is one that plagues many neighborhoods, like Penn Town: the focus of The Backyard Philly Project and four teens who struggle to break free of its grip.

As a Philadelphia-based documentary firm, Ferasha Films aims to shed light on Penn Town, a housing community located between 6th and 7th around Green Street. The film gives a voice to four teens who have grown up in this neighborhood, and whose lives have been plagued with violence, poverty, and gaps in the city’s education system.

The film’s World Premiere screening on May 11 is already sold out.  However, the special Press Screening to be held on May 10 still has tickets available for the public to purchase. Both screenings will be hosted at Drexel University’s new URBN Center Annex. Doors open at 6 p.m. and the film begins at 7 p.m. both nights. A special premiere reception will be held following the May 11 screening in the URBN Center Lobby.

“The evening will be much more than just a film screening,” said the film’s director, Amanda Danziger. “It will be a tangible experience of teen life in Penn Town with a photo gallery, chance to met the young ‘stars’ of our film and more.” The Ferasha Films team expects tickets for both nights to sell out.

Danziger, who founded Ferasha Films in 2008, was recently named to Drexel University’s elite “Forty Under 40” list of successful young alumni (she was number two). The two-night premiere event will be hosted by the Entertainment Arts Management Department of Drexel University’s Westphal College.

Members of Ferasha Films were recently invited to the University of Pennsylvania to panel a Teach For America roundtable discussion on education in inner-city areas and to share details of The Backyard Philly Project with first and second-year teachers.

The teens’ stories center around the Helping Hand Rescue Mission located in the heart of Penn Town. Filming began in October 2011 and concluded in June 2012. What makes this documentary special is that much of the material was filmed by the teens themselves.

“We knew from the beginning that there are certain elements of this neighborhood and this life that we as outsiders would not have access to on our own,” said Danziger. The four teens were provided their own video cameras to document their everyday lives and to share their stories.

Ferasha Films consists of five young professionals working in various fields and volunteering their time to complete the project.

“Our scheduling limitations during production and post production required us all to make sacrifices, but this is a project we all strongly believe in. The teens and their openness has touched our lives and inspired us to make an impact on our communities,” noted Nienke Izurieta, Director of Still Photography and Assistant Director of The Backyard Philly Project.

In addition to Danziger and Izurieta, Ferasha Films consists of Cinematographer Bruce Kite, Art Director Lucas Clauser and Director of Communications Brendan Schaller.

Although a small area, the Penn Town neighborhood consists of 400 housing units, mere blocks away from historic Philadelphia sites, including the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall. The Helping Hand Rescue Mission, which is funded by the Kyle Korver Foundation, serves as a safe haven for the neighborhood. Youth Director Adam Bruckner, who runs the after school programs at Helping Hand, has been a major contributor to the film.

“We show them that there is a good path available, and we try to walk it with them,” Bruckner said of the youth at risk. “We can’t fix the problems of a major city, but we know that we can help.”

Tickets for the May 10 Press Screening event and opportunities to become a sponsor of the two-night premiere event can be found at ferashafilms.com.

 


 

 

The Backyard Philly Project to premiere May 10th & 11th, 2013. 

Doors open at 6pm, Movie start time at 7pm at the Drexel University URBN Center Annex

All are invited to come out to: 

  • Meet the teens who tell their stories in "The Backyard Philly Project;" 
  • View a photography exhibit by Nienke Izurieta (Ferasha Films' Director of Still Photography)
  • Share with Adam Bruckner, director of Philly Restart and youth director at The Helping Hand Rescue Mission

 

March 4, 2013 Philadelphia, PA –  The city of Philadelphia has much to recommend it.  It is the largest city in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the fifth-largest city in the United States.  With one of the largest health education and research centers in the United States, Philadelphia ranks as the seventh-largest metropolitan economy, contributing some $350 billion in gross metropolitan product, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis.  Historically Philadelphia was the birthplace of the United States and the city where the Declaration of Independence and The Constitution were signed.

Without question, Philadelphia is an important American city, but also one sadly where poverty and social ills are prevalent.  According to the Census Bureau Philadelphia has the third highest poverty rate in the country, after only Detroit and Cleveland.  And the poverty rate is even higher for families with children, putting Philadelphia’s youth particularly at risk.

Ferasha Films in its new documentary looks through the eyes of four Philadelphia teens to expose both the challenges and hopes of inner-city life.  Ferasha Films is a documentary film organization based in Philadelphia and founded by Amanda Danziger, recently named to Drexel University’s Magazine elite list of ‘40 under Forty’ alumni for her accomplishments at Ferasha Films.

“After filming documentaries of poverty and hope in Africa and India, I discovered you don’t have to go overseas to explore these stories.  They exist right in my own backyard,” says Danziger.  “I received my college education in a city where about half of high school students don’t graduate on schedule, if at all.” 

The Backyard Philly Project delves into the lives of four teens growing up in Penn Town, an inner-city neighborhood, and how their involvement with Helping Hand Rescue Mission has given them hope for a better life through tutoring and other character-building activities aimed at young people.  Filming began in October 2011 and concluded in June 2012, and consists partly of video shot by the teens.

In an innovative twist to see the world from these young people’s perspective, Ferasha Films gave video cameras and instructions about how to tell their life stories on film.  “We wanted to give the teens a chance to tell their story from their own perspective,” said Danziger. “We knew from the beginning that there are certain elements of this neighborhood and this life that we would not have access to on our own.”

The neighborhood referred to as Penn Town exists between 6th and 7th Streets and Spring Garden Street, mere blocks away from historical Philadelphia and Center City. Although a small area, the neighborhood consists of 400 housing units. The Helping Hand Rescue Mission, which is funded by the Kyle Korver Foundation, serves as a safe haven for the neighborhood youth at risk.

Ferasha Films thanks Adam Bruckner for his help in telling the young peoples’ stories.  Bruckner is the Youth Director of The Helping Hand Rescue Mission and also runs the program, Philly Restart, which provides identification and meals to Philadelphia’s poor and homeless.  Bruckner will be on hand for the premiere to answer questions and share his experiences serving the underprivileged in Philadelphia.

“What began as a glimpse into the life of a teen growing up in the projects turned into a film advocating after-school programs and the need for a unified community to break the cycle of poverty, not just in Philadelphia but across the country,” said Bruce Kite (Director of Cinematography). The team of volunteers cited their late nights and difficult schedules as part of the film making process. Ferasha Films consists of five young professionals working in various fields.  In addition to Nienke Izurieta and Bruce Kite, the Ferasha Films team also includes Lucas Clauser (Director of Art) and Brendan Schaller (Director of Communications).

Please join Ferasha Films for The Backyard Philly Project premiere on May 10th and 11th at Drexel University’s URBN Center Annex at 6pm. Tickets will go on sale via www.ferashafilms.com on Monday, March 18 for $10.