Brooklyn nonprofit to send young film students to Paris

Some teenage aspiring filmmakers will be going to Paris, if a Brooklyn nonprofit's Kickstarter campaign is a success.

Roshanna Paul, a senior at Sunset Park High School, is one of five students who would travel to France. "Now that I'm going out of the country, it's a big deal for me and I can't wait," she says. "I think I'm just going to be in awe."

Reel Works has been providing after-school classes to public school students since 2001, but this would be the first time that the organization sends students abroad as part of an international exchange program. The goal is to help young people who may not normally have the opportunity to travel abroad.

"The idea is that they get to know each other remotely first through a series of films, working collaboratively together to talk about some of the themes that they have in common," says Laurel Gwizdak, of Reel Works.

"We're doing documentaries based on a subject that has to do with teens," says Paul. "So, it can come from bullying to just your everyday life."

Mie Abouelkheir, who is originally from Egypt, wants to explore cultural identity through her film. "I know that a lot of the French students are from different countries or are children of immigrants," she says.

Reel Works hopes that students will return from France with the understanding that kids around the world are having similar experiences.

The nonprofit is using social media to get the word out about the campaign and hopes to raise $15,000 by the end of June.

If the campaign is successful, Reel Works plans to expand the program to other countries, giving additional future filmmakers a more global perspective.

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