Young Filmmakers Tell Stories Of Recession

Student filmmaker Lenaisha Small, 12, shooting her project about the effects of the recession on her and her family. Small and several other teen documentarians are introduced on "Sunday Morning," as part of "CBS Reports: Children of the Recession."
Five young filmmakers who've made short documentaries each have a different story to tell about the impact of the current economic crisis on their lives. Their stories - and their films - will be featured on CBS News' Sunday Morning on May 24 at 9 a.m. ET.

Correspondent Anthony Mason reports on their project as part of CBS News' ongoing series, "CBS REPORTS: Children Of The Recession."

In the broadcast, Mason meets 12-year-old Lenaisha Small, whose film recounts how she came to understand the reality of these tough economic times as she watched her mother lose her job - and her family lose its home.

Lenaisha, along with four other students between 14 and 18 years old, are all attending schools involved with the Tribeca Film Institute's Youth Programs. TFI was co-founded by actor Robert De Niro in the aftermath of the events of Sept. 11, 2001

Exploring topics that touch on universal childhood and teenage concerns - from the cost of going off to camp, to coming up with money to pay for college - the student films shed new light on the new adversities facing the nation's younger generation.

"Just seeing my parents trying to make ends meet, I feel like every decision I make with money ... I have to keep them in mind," says Rana Ayhan, whose film documents the added financial stress of her upcoming prom. "They're the ones working hard for every dollar that I could spend in a blink of an eye."

Ky Oeasha Thomas took on an afterschool job as a supermarket cashier - not to pay for luxuries, but to help support her family after her father was laid off. Thomas notes that competition for jobs is intense. "There [are] adults 35 and 25 trying to do the same thing we are. Simple jobs like cashier … I feel sorry, but everybody's in the same situation," she tells Mason. "I feel like an old lady. I'm tired. I want to take a nap. I'm like, 'Look at yourself, you're only 18!'"

While their personal experiences may differ, the importance of telling their stories is not lost on the young filmmakers. Says Ayhan: "I don't think adults can tell us how we feel about the recession. We have to tell them."

Other films featured in the broadcast, anchored by Charles Osgood, are by students Derek Garcia and Sarah Alli.

Mary Raffalli is the producer. Rand Morrison is the executive producer of Sunday Morning.

For more info:

  • Youth Programs at Tribeca Film Institute
  • Academy for Careers in Television and Film
  • Bronx Preparatory Charter School
  • Reel Works Teen Filmmaking
  • Scenarios USA