Edge of Eighteen is a groundbreaking documentary series that allows high school seniors to document their own lives. Not only was much of the footage shot by the students’ themselves, but the stories were told entirely from their POV and focused on the issues they identified as important to their lives and their generation. Drawn from diverse areas of the United States, these teenagers captured their triumphs, trials, joys, and fears from the dawn of 2014 until sunset on graduation day. Before they embarked on this mission, they were taught the art of documentary filmmaking by one of its masters – Edge of Eighteen Executive Producer Alex Gibney – who assembled the kids in New York City for a crash course taught by himself, director Alexandra Pelosi (Journeys with George) and director/editor/producer Sam Pollard (4 Little Girls, When the Levees Broke), before they returned home to tell their own stories.
News stories about illegal immigrants, LGBT issues, financial aid, youth entrepreneurship, inner city poverty, gun violence, bullying, military service, freedom of religion and teen pregnancy provide one perspective on the issues facing youth in this country today, but seeing the impact of these issues as they play out from firsthand experience provides as perspective that is simultaneously raw and deep. As these students bear witness to the world around them, viewers will be illuminated about hot-button issues in an unprecedented way. The omnipotent narrator that drags down so many well-meaning documentaries has no place here. Instead, we have first- person accounts: immediate, poignant and honest.
This is nothing less than the self-portrait of a generation.