Chicago documentary looks to inspire others to mentor youth

Eye opening film on at-risk youth told through lens of one Chicago counselor.

Chicago’s inner city is in crisis and our nation is watching. One positive solution that has gained traction is the importance of mentoring at-risk youth long term and on a large scale. In September 2016, Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced a $36 million mentoring initiative from the city of Chicago to aid in the crisis.

In that passionate address Emanuel stated, “The deck has been stacked against these kids. It’s time we reshuffle the deck and put these kids on top.”

Set in 2008, the documentary A Head Full of Doubt follows one inner city counselor, Tony DiVittorio, as he builds a youth development mentoring program called BAM (Becoming A Man). For 7 years the documentary takes us through his challenges and triumphs as Tony looks to lead a generation of at-risk youth to a life away from the streets.

“These are our at-risk students. The ones that are on the edge of dropping out. They have hopes and dreams just like everyone else. They deserve a chance to reach their potential also.” Tony DiVittorio, B.A.M. Youth Counselor

“With all the negatively surrounding Chicago violence I wanted to showcase stories that were positive. Audiences need to see that there is still hope, especially in Chicago. A documentary has the power to do this as well as inspire individuals to reach out and take part in something great.” Jason Weisner, Director – A Head Full of Doubt

 

The project was a labor of love for Weisner. After meeting DiVittorio in 2008 on a routine video project Weisner saw great potential for a story of hope and redemption. He worked independently funding the entire project himself serving as videographer, editor and director. One filmmaker, one camera, 7 years. What resulted was a story about forgiveness, fatherhood, and the underlying truth that “Everyone needs someone to believe in them”.

Weisner is releasing the film through his Chicago based company Noble Street Films. The documentary is currently streaming on Amazon, iTunes and Google Play. Weisner is determined to build a grass roots campaign over the next few months expanding to movie goers throughout the Midwest. He plans to have screenings at select universities followed by panel discussions on key themes of the film such as fatherless cities and at-risk mentoring.

Additionally, Weisner looks to add more platforms such as Netflix and Broadcast within the year. The documentary website is www.aheadfullofdoubt.com. The website offers general information but more importantly serves as a mentoring resource where people can locate mentoring programs in their area to support and get involved.

“Mentoring programs work! The data supports it. If we want to reduce violence in our inner cities a long term large scale mentoring initiative must be part of the solution. I applaud Mayor Emanuel because he is a strong advocate of this. It’s no secret that at risk students need guidance. All students need guidance. However, in some communities if a student doesn’t receive the support they need the streets are there to provide it. Sadly, Chicago has become the poster child for this.” Jason Weisner, Director – A Head Full of Doubt

Noble Street Films is a Chicago based production company specializing in educational documentaries. A Head Full of Doubt is their first documentary. They are currently seeking new partnerships and production opportunities. Their mission statement is “Showcasing the good in this world”. Jason Weisner is the owner.

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