The Haverhill Gazette
---- — The Alliance for Community Media-Northeast Region recently awarded Haverhill Community Television’s Chris Bowden, program director, first place in the category of Community Impact.
The award came at the 13th annual Northeast Video Festival at the Methuen Memorial Music Hall.
The Northeast Region encompasses Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island and Vermont. The 10-minute video titled “Weapon Violence’’ was created and produced in collaboration with the Violence Intervention and Prevention program (VIP) at Haverhill High School.
“I was very fortunate to work closely with the VIP team to produce an impactful public service announcement that focuses on the devastating consequences of choosing violence over other conflict resolutions,’’ Bowden said. “VIP came up with the concept, and I produced and directed the piece according to their goals and vision.’’
The VIP team is made up of a diverse group of high school students committed to preventing violence and promoting peace and within their school and community. Lori Curry, co-advisor of the group with Carol Ireland, has turned to HCTV for six years for guidance and support to create anti-violence videos.
“This year, we chose weapon violence as our focus because we were witnessing an increasing amount of coverage around tragic school events both locally and nationally,’’ Curry said. “According to the 2010 Youth Risk Behavior Survey, 18 percent of students will carry a gun to school within a 30-day period. It is our goal to get students to think about their decisions and to understand that violence is never the right choice.’’
The ACM-NE rated all video submissions on the following criteria: Content, creativity, technical elements and the viewer’s overall reaction.
“We didn’t sugar coat what violence can do and how ugly it can be,’’ Bowden said. “As the director, I felt it was important to make this video realistic and to send a visually memorable message. I believe we accomplished that goal.’’
The video was created during the summer with students enrolled in the VIP’s Safe Summer for Youth program.
“It was very rewarding working on this project because the students in this program are really working hard to make a difference,’’ Bowden said. “Some have even expressed an interest in video production, and that is especially exciting with the tremendous opportunities offered to them here at HCTV. They can learn the craft in a supportive, encouraging, and creative environment.’’
Bowden was first exposed to HCTV as a student in the video production class offered by Northern Essex Community College and held in the station’s training room.
“Chris started out with us as a volunteer and then we hired him as a production assistant,’’ said Darlene Beal, executive director. “He quickly worked his way up to program director and is now a full-time employee.’’
Bowden said it is because of HCTV that he has been so successful.