Two short films made by Quad-Cities youth will be shown online tonight at 6:30 p.m., through the Urban Exposure Independent Film Program.

Jonathan Burnett, founder and creative director for the program, completed his sixth year programming and premiering short films by young adults. However, this year things were a little different. Because of the pandemic, Urban Exposure moved everything to the video conferencing platform, ZOOM.

Urban Exposure is a summer film program for youth based in Davenport.

Instructors taught all the lessons through ZOOM, which allowed them to bring in guest speakers who work in the film industry to advise participants, Burnett said Thursday.

This year’s participants were Akan Dut, 21 (Ames, IA); Malik Dut, 19 (Ames, IA); Liv Franks, 16 (Moline); Thompson Teasdale, 22 (Davenport), and William Hess, 22 (Miami, FL).

“We brought in young adults from outside the Quad-Cities to join the class so that local youth could interact with young adults from other parts of the country and to broaden our program’s reach,” Burnett said. The two short films they made – called “Season of Drought” and “Drug-Z” — were filmed entirely through ZOOM.

To watch these films, you can register through the Figge Art Museum at https://figgeartmuseum.org/programs-and-events/calendar/event/virtual-film-premiere-urban-exposure/312. Or you can watch live at https://www.facebook.com/UrbanExposureFilms.

Urban Exposure is supported by the Doris & Victor Day Foundation, the Iowa Arts Council, and Quad City Arts Dollars, as well as from donations from Facebook friends.

Urban Exposure is a 10-week summer program for young people highlighting filmmaking fundamentals, including writing, directing, and editing.

Under the supervision of experienced filmmakers, high school and college-aged students work with one another to realize their creative visions and produce their own films from start to finish. By the end of the program, each participant writes, films, edits, and typically presents their films to the community at a premiere event held at the Figge Art Museum.

Studies show that participation in programs like Urban Exposure benefits youth’s social, behavioral, and cognitive development, according to the program Facebook page. Yet, these programs are often the first to go when schools are financially strained. Because of that, there is a great need for underserved young people in our community to have a positive and proactive outlet for self-expression.

Azubuike and its Urban Exposure film program provide youth the opportunity to do just that in a healthy and culturally rich environment.

Urban Exposure also offers a two week Acting For Film Workshop and a one-day Production Crew Bootcamp.

For more information, visit https://www.facebook.com/UrbanExposureFilms/.

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Jonathan Turner has been covering the Quad-Cities arts scene for 25 years, first as a reporter with the Dispatch and Rock Island Argus, and then as a reporter with the Quad City Times. Jonathan is also an accomplished actor and musician who has been seen frequently on local theater stages, including the Bucktown Revue and Black Box Theatre.