LFP is very proud Peter Connors of 03801 productions asked us to make over 50 frames and photos for the cast/crew/production of the public service announcement, starring Portsmouth’s Elle Shaheen titled “Stand Up, Step Forward,” Which seeks to spread awareness of child abuse. It was produced in association with the National Children’s Alliance , and by Exeter High School graduate Kevin Gendron , who headed to School of Public Communications at Syracuse University last fall.
Read the Seacoast Online article about Kevin here (or if you have used 3 of 3 premium clicks this month, article posted below)
The PSA, titled “Stand Up, Step Forward,” seeks to spread awareness of child abuse. It was produced in association with the National Children’s Alliance. Shaheen plays a victim who approaches a teacher about being abused.
First aired during Tuesday’s “Colbert Report” on Comedy Central.
By Suzanne Laurent
PORTSMOUTH — When Kevin Gendron watched a video by Sheldon Kennedy on child abuse, one statistic struck him so deeply he decided to write and direct his own public service announcement.
“I found out that a child will have to talk to as many as seven adults before they are taken seriously,” said Gendron, who graduated from Exeter High School last month. “That’s a devastating statistic.”
Kennedy, a former National Hockey League player was abused as a child, and the Sheldon Kennedy Child Advocacy Centre in Calgary, Canada, was recently renamed in his honor by Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
Gendron, 18, is headed to the prestigious Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University in the fall.
He has been working on the PSA for about a month and on Saturday an impressive showing of crew and talent came together at Portsmouth High School to film the 30-second spot that takes place in a middle school classroom.
The PSA, “Stand Up, Step Forward,” seeks to compel adults to take that first step in leading children to the help they need. During the spot, a student, played by Elle Shaheen, 13, of Portsmouth (granddaughter of U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen) stays behind after class is dismissed. She approaches her teacher, played by Constance Witman of Newfields, talking to her in confidence about being abused.
The PSA is produced by Peter Connors, who met Gendron last summer at Portsmouth Public Media, PPM-TV, where Gendron was doing an internship. “Kevin worked with me while I was producing three PSAs for the Child Advocacy Center,” Connors said.
It was at PPM-TV that Gendron was noticed by Executive Director Bill Humphreys. “Kevin very quickly made himself known as someone with an innate ability,” Humphreys said. “He was professional, mature and not afraid to risk asking questions.”
Humphreys asked Gendron if he would like to work with Connors on PSAs the TV station was producing for the Child Advocacy Center based in Portsmouth.
“Peter recognized something in Kevin,” Humphreys said. “He is strong, yet sweet, with an intelligent energy. He is a shining piece of gold that fell into the stream.”
Connors said a team of Seacoast filmmakers was recruited to make the PSA. “Kevin created a magical piece getting the best talent around,” he said.
They included Jonathon Millman, director of cinematography, Karlina Lyons, assistant director, and many other well-known professionals of lighting, sound and make-up.
Gendron also consulted Hollywood writer David McHugh and J.C. Wegman, a former animator for “The Simpsons” and “South Park,” for advice.
Brad Russ, founder and chairman of Child Advocacy’s board of directors, said he was “excited to see Kevin take it to this level to inform the public about child abuse.”
“It’s wonderful for me to watch a young man I’ve known since kindergarten as a friend of my son’s, move into adulthood and take up a cause like this,” Russ said. “I’m very proud of him.
Russ said the key is to have this video seen by the public.
“It’s a sad commentary when we see lovebirds needing a new home in the news for days,” he said. “We interview at least one child abuse victim every day at the center. This needs to be told.”
Russ thanked all the professionals who worked with Gendron pro bono on the project. Connors, too, had a list of people to thank. Financial supporters included George Venci Law PLLC, Dr. Shawn Shapiro of Port City Chiropractic, Sevigney Lyons Insurance, STREET restaurant, Ralph Martinese of Sanctuary Hair Studio, Christenson Plumbing & Heating, Progressive Electrical Services, BMCG Bookkeeping Services, Russ and Maureen Sullivan of the Child Advocacy Center, and attorney Raef J. Granger.
Film equipment supporters included Backlash Productions and Fast Lights.
The PSA will be pitched to various television stations after it is edited and no date of airing is known at this time.