The Tower of Youth Teen Digital Reel Showcase & Awards that had its first Annual event in 1997, organized all the Sacramento Sierra regional high school media arts educators and classes to participate in a competition showcasing the best works of the first pioneering students and teachers producing short movies in the 21st Century.
Nine content categories were developed among the educators representing the most challenging and important areas – Perspectives on the Environment, Documentary, PSA and Commercial Duets, Experimental Beauty, Sports Industry, Music Video and Sound Design, Short Story Animation and Live Action.
Youth productions required a minimum of 2 co-producers and an industry production portfolio. The works were juried by regional professionals and state-of-the-art software and hardware awards were provided, a total of $2.5 million over the 17 years of the program, to build regional capacity for both teachers and the youth creators. Stellar movie industry professional leaders presented “Career Vision” topics woven with timeless b-roll enriched interactive imagery electrified the large school audiences,. In many instances this career, workforce and civic engagement structured showcase were powerfully life changing for the pioneering youth artists helped frame school media pedagogy.
Major corporate and civic agency sponsors underwrote each category and executives presented the top awards at the events, held at Sacramento’s gorgeous Crest Theatre. These were professionally videotaped and live cast on public access TV stations. The prototype annual events were the pinnacle of youth media achievement for the initial 17 years of the Teen Digital Reel Showcase that was passed to a core of the region’s organized media teachers to continue after 2013.