Windermere Grade 12 student Ged Bello wanted to do something to prevent youth in his community from participating in and associating with gangs. So, he made a movie.
The result was 'The Reason Why', short film loosely based on the life a friend of Bello's who briefly got involved in gang life after being bullied in school. In the film, protagonist 'Marko' immigrates to Canada from the Philippines. After a round of bullying he is befriended (and initially protected) by gang member 'Demitri'. Marko starts to drink, smoke marijuana and pretty soon finds himself assaulting another student. Things spiral until Marko remembers a promise he made to his mother to "be good in Canada" and decides to turn his life around.
Bello says telling stories like 'The Reason Why' is important to keep the community aware of the problem of gang involvement among youth. To make the film, he recruited ten other students from other secondary schools as actors and film makers. The finished production was screened in late April for the students' parents, classmates and friends.
"This event is an opportunity for them to share to their parents classmates and friends their message," says Youth and Family Worker Adrian Bontuyan
Bello and Grade 12 actor Peter Carolino also wanted to thank SUCCESS and the HSBC Make a Difference Fund for supporting the project with a generous grant of $1500. They also said a big thanks need to go out to Bontuyan, who works with the Engaged Immigrant Youth Program.
"We would want to thank Adrian," says Bello. "He really helped us continue doing this project by supporting us."