Film distorts teens’ opinions, students say

Chronicle Staff

“I love shopping of course, it’s a hobby of mine,” Gabby Groth ’09 says to filmmaker Lauren Greenfield in the beginning of the short film “Kids + Money.”

The 32-minute feature includes interviews with Los Angeles teenagers from South Central to Brentwood, including three from Harvard-Westlake. Groth and Alyssa Garcia ’09 appear together and are later followed by Emmanuel Yekutiel ’07.

The documentary was recently shown at the American Film Institute Festival from Nov. 1-11 in Los Angeles and won the 2007 Shorts Audience Award.

A 15-minute selection of the film is available to watch online. After being asked to participate in the documentary by Julia Wick ’07, Greenfield’s intern last summer, Groth was interviewed at her home.

“Just becuase I was born into better circumstances than others, doesn’t mean that I have less validity as a person,” said Groth about how she was represented in the film.
Garcia also harbors resentment.

“She’s a very well-known and apparently good documentary maker, I guess,” said Garcia about Greenfield. “She’s not my favorite person.”

“Kids + Money” illustrates the lives of Los Angeles teens through their expenses. Yekutiel was also asked to participate by Wick. He spoke of his transition in ninth grade, in which he left the Jewish Orthodox community to come to Harvard-Westlake, a change he referred to as the “biggest decision of my life.”

Yekutiel was interviewed for a total of five hours on two separate occasions in his backyard. Embarrassed by his portrayal in the documentary, he says he only spent a few minutes talking about his past obsession with wealth while the rest of his interview wasn’t included.

“They had a preconceived notion of what youth is like and they chose things to fit their notions,” Yekutiel said.  

Greenfield is a documentary photographer  known for pictures that depict different sides of Los Angeles and teenage culture. She returned to Los Angeles to begin documenting the result of celebrity influence and has since published two photography books and made one other documentary.