Educational film on issues of violence facing Cumberland County teens debuted Thursday

·3 min read
Fayetteville Police Chief Gina Hawkins listens to audience members Thursday night after the debut of "The Crux," an educational film that will be shown to Cumberland County middle schoolers to teach about gun violence.
Fayetteville Police Chief Gina Hawkins listens to audience members Thursday night after the debut of "The Crux," an educational film that will be shown to Cumberland County middle schoolers to teach about gun violence.

A locally produced educational film that explores issues facing today’s teens debuted Thursday night with a red-carpet affair at AMC Theater Fayetteville on Lake Valley Drive.

Made in partnership with Project Safe Neighborhoods and the Fayetteville Police Department's Educating Kids about Gun Violence program, "The Crux" explores issues from sexting and guns to the effects of parental death and illustrates the choices that many teens face and the consequences of those decisions.

The 35-minute film will be shown in middle school classrooms districtwide as part of a presentation from a team of police officers and detectives along with photographs, case scenarios, personal stories and small group discussions.

The purpose of the film, according to a news release from the Fayetteville Police Department, is to "educate students about the medical, legal, and emotional consequences of gun possession, gang-related violence, and the positive alternatives available."

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Directed by Jeremiah McLamb and produced by JerFilm productions, based in Fayetteville, the film was paid for with money from a Bureau of Justice Assistance grant.

"It was an incredible journey," McLamb told the crowd of about 100 people following the movie's premiere. "It was just a great opportunity to tell a story that I think really needs to be heard."

The story of "The Crux" centered around troubled school-aged kids with a variety of issues stemming from different personal situations, and the film focused on how the decisions people make can have drastic consequences.

"This movie is about real-life situations happening in our community," Police Chief Gina Hawkins said.

Hawkins said its purpose is to make young people think about the decisions they make and how those decisions affecti them and their friends, family and community.

The film features local actors and police officers, and was shot in Fayetteville at well-known locations like E.E. Smith High School.

After the debut Thursday night, Hawkins welcomed feedback, questions and commentary from the audience, many of whom expressed appreciation for the police department trying to teach young people about good decision making.

Audience members shared suggestions on how to improve the Educating Kids about Gun Violence program, some suggesting that parents also be shown the film, saying that the issues that lead to gun violence "start at home."

Hawkins asked specifically for young people in the crowd to offer their feedback, since they are the target audience of the film and the program.

Some teens thanked Hawkins for drawing attention to the many societal issues addressed in the film, and others made suggestions about how the film can be used to reach young audiences and help inform their decisions.

"Ultimately, it's about choices ... (We are) trying to empower the youth and are going to be expanding it to the families and adults to have conversations about those decisions," Hawkins said.

According to Hawkins, while the film stresses the importance of making good, informed decisions, it's also intended to show that it's never too late to make up for past mistakes.

"Although the impact of their decisions have consequences, there's still hope," Hawkins said.

Crime Reporter Jack Boden can be reached at jboden@gannett.com. Follow him on Twitter at @jackboden5.

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This article originally appeared on The Fayetteville Observer: Fayetteville Police debut new gun violence education program

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