The Columbia Gorge International Film Festival (Formerly known as The Washougal International Film Festival)

Your American Teen

Your American Teen won the award for Local Documentary Feature at the Columbia Gorge International Film Festival in 2012. Shattering the disillusion that America is a perfectly safe place for children, the documentary presents the audience with truths that are hard to swallow: “Every thirty seconds another girl becomes a victim of human trafficking,” “Three-quarters of sexually abused children do not tell anyone about the abuse at the time.” Demanding attention, this documentary insists that its audience pay attention to the world outside their living room window, as such suffering can be happening in any neighborhood. As Social Media Instructor Liz Delmatoff articulates, the blame cannot be placed on any one place but is shared by families, school, and society. CNN’s Jane Velez Mitchell explains that our, as a society, objectification of women contributes to this problem. Your American Teen beseeches its viewers to stand up and fight the problem for the safety of young girls across America.

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This documentary, focused on Northwest United States, investigates the numerous types of attacks on teenage girls. From neglect to drugs to abuse to prostitution, Your American Teen points out that which goes unnoticed, imploring its audience to not remain inactive spectators but to engage in fighting this travesty. The film focuses on three teenage girls over the course of two years. Observing this chapter of their lives opens eyes, to not only the horrors occurring in the streets of America, but to the hope. A lost cause isn’t worth fighting for, but this documentary brings to light a cause that is not lost, but is being greatly ignored. The team interviews everyone they can, seeking to find the advocates for these girls and what they are doing to make this country a safer place for Your American Teen.

Using a formulaic format, Your American Teen swaddles the audience in the familiar documentary model, as it presents horrifying, world shattering truths. Furthermore, the traditional documentary approach doesn’t cheapen the message with efforts for trendy presentation. Instead, it lets the content carry itself into the hearts and minds of its viewers.

Charles Taylor Gould, the director of this documentary, is driven by a single goal, to help the children be heard. Working for over 10 years to improve the quality of life for children, Gould has developed programs aiding children in becoming high functioning contributors to society as they transition into adulthood. He began his film career as an actor, preforming in 6 different titles, including Without Evidence, starring Angelina Jolie. In 2009, he began directing, culminating in this 2012 production.

Along with Keith Murphy, Michelle Bart, and Tyler Benjamin (associate producers), Gould goes out with his film crew to interview a myriad of individuals, including US Senator Ron Wyden, CNN’s Jane Velez-Mitchell, Actress Daryl Hannah, Mulnomah County Commissioner Diane McKeel, Director Trauma Response Institute Dr. Anna Berardi, and many more.
Produced by CTG Films, Your American Teen is available for public screening through their website www.youramericanteenmovie.com. 

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