Learning film skills keeps D.C. youth away from gangs

"Don't Shoot Guns, Shoot Cameras," a program based in Washington, D.C., teaches underserved youth camera skills to keep them away from gang violence. Ben Tracy reports.

Video Transcript

NORAH O'DONNELL: Here in Washington, like other cities, too many are exposed to the effects of gun violence at an early age. But some are finding a way to change their focus. Here's CBS' Ben Tracy.

BEN TRACY: 16-year-old Muhammad Toumbou wasn't sure what he was good at, besides basketball.

MUHAMMAD TOUMBOU: Especially living in D.C. All you know is basketball, gang violence--

- Get about right here.

BEN TRACY: But then he heard about a program teaching kids to make short films.

MUHAMMAD TOUMBOU: And I said, I want to be a part of this. The only type of videos I've ever shot was on my phone.

BEN TRACY: It's called Don't Shoot Guns, Shoot Cameras.

YASMIN SALINA: Once you tell kids not to get into gang violence, what are they going to do?

BEN TRACY: Yasmin Salina and comedian Rodney Grant run the program. His nephew was shot to death in 2015.

RODNEY GRANT: These kids don't deserve guns in their hand. They don't deserve people not believing in them. They've got to have more people believing in them.

BEN TRACY: After working on the group's final short film, 17-year-old Marley McDonald is now heading to film school.

MARLEY MCDONALD: I feel like it's important to have people that look like me telling stories about similar life experiences that I went through.

BEN TRACY: And Muhammad now knows something else he's good at.

Does that make you believe there's all sorts of other things you might be able to do, and do really well?

MUHAMMAD TOUMBOU: Yes. It opened doors that I would have never thought would be open.

BEN TRACY: Because he now sees his world through a whole new lens.

- Action.

BEN TRACY: Ben Tracy, CBS News, Washington.

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