“How to DIE YOUNG in Middle Georgia?: A Lifesaving Documentary” to premiere in Macon this month

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“How to DIE YOUNG in Middle Georgia?: A Lifesaving Documentary” to premiere in Macon this month

Graphic designed by Blossom Onunekwu.

Graphic designed by Blossom Onunekwu.

Graphic designed by Blossom Onunekwu.

Graphic designed by Blossom Onunekwu.

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Stacy Jenkins, founder of the production company Pop of Genius Films, is preparing for the showing of the company’s latest documentary, “How to DIE YOUNG in Middle Georgia?: A Lifesaving Documentary.” The documentary highlights crime, gun violence and death in the youths of Middle Georgia.

Jenkins came up with the idea after working with four men trying to recruit youth for job opportunities.

“We invited youth to come out to be a part of a job corp program. No one showed up except for adults,” she said.

Frustrated by the lack of youth involvement and aware of the rates of teen death in Macon and Warner Robins, Jenkins was inspired to encourage Middle Georgia to come together.

The documentary revolves around the protagonist Dante, who is living with divorced parents.

However, Jenkins said that “he is involved in sports, his parents take time to talk to him, he’s got a church behind him [and], his mom knows his friends. [The parents] still manage to work together to raise a pretty good young man.”

Jenkins and the rest of the Pop of Genius crew also introduce other family dynamics and the effects those dynamics have on the youth.

To further illustrate the prevalence of crime and teenage death among the youth, Pop of Genius invited many speakers to share their knowledge on the growing death rates of Middle Georgia youth.

“We made it our mission to also get a more male perspective…because that’s really the target audience, but a lot of times we don’t see from the African-American scene but they do a lot in the community. They see a need for it. So I had to make time to go to their offices and interview them, and of course, these men are so knowledgeable.”

Special guests include Jeff Tarver, a professor who teaches criminal justice at Middle Georgia State University, Frank Austin, who works in the removal of blight, and Coroner Leon Jones.

Jenkins said she has always been instrumental in molding the youth, and also directs a girl’s program called Macon Magnolias.

Because she works with youth, she also indirectly notices the behavior of the parents.

“A lot of times parents have the best interest in the world but they don’t know how to connect with the resources or just don’t know how to ask for help,” she said.

“ But a lot of parents think ‘oh well, I do everything I’m supposed to do.’ I see urban, young mothers– we work hard but I do see that our attention is more focused on our phones or on trying to develop relationships or our self-image,” Jenkins said.

“ We will spend time getting our hair and nails, but when it comes to investing in our young people, they come up flat.”

Jenkins said that the main message of the film is that it’s important for people to re-evaluate.

“Re-evaluate their home. Re-evaluate the way you raise your children. And get more involved with their school. A lot is acted out in their school and parents don’t see it. Get involved with your children,” she said.

Tickets are sold out to view the documentary on its premiere date, Feb.23, but organizations can request a private showing of the film by reaching out to Jenkins at popofgeniusfilms@outlook.com.

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