Budding filmmaker heads to
G8 youth summit

by Catherine Whitnall

Budding filmmaker heads to G8 youth summit.
Budding filmmaker heads to G8 youth summit.

Twelve miles doesn't seem like much, but for the thousands of youth involved in the Art Miles Mural Project the impact is immeasurable.

Slater Kemker-Jewell, 15, is a Peace Paint Ambassador for the project and is certainly making a name for herself internationally through the video camera lens.

Although born in Los Angeles, Slater moved to the Janetville area five years ago with her parents, Wendy Jewell and David Kemker. The couple had been working in the television and film industry and it was through them that Slater was introduced to the My Hero Project.

Slater's mother was friends with My Hero co-creator Jeanne Meyers, who had developed the project to enlighten and inspire people of all ages with an ever-growing Internet archive of hero stories from around the world. The project provides a positive environment for youth to share stories of remarkable individuals that serve as a reminder that dreams can come true.

One of the first pieces Slater created involved an interview with Ron Kovic, a Vietnam War veteran whose life was chronicled in Oliver Stone's Born on the 4th of July. Recently, Slater was contacted to reunite with Mr. Kovic to join him later this year for a peace rally marking five years since the start of the war in Iraq.

After moving to the area, Slater continued to focus on writing and making short films for My Hero, along with expanding her interest in music and composing.

In 2004, Slater was introduced to iEARN (International Education and Resource Network) at their annual conference held that year in Slovakia. Made up of more than 20,000 schools and youth organizations in about 115 countries, iEARN empowers teachers and young people to work together online using the Internet and other new communications technologies. Formed 20 years ago, iEARN has pioneered online school links, enabling students to engage in meaningful educational projects with peers in their countries and around the world.

While in Slovakia, Slater took part in the Youth Summit and discovered like-minded youth from around the world.

"After meeting kids from all over the world, I realized we all want the same thing, a clean environment, peace and for us to just be friendly to each other," stated Slater.

It also afforded her an opportunity to meet Joanne Tawfilis, who founded the Art Mile Mural Project, which is creating 12 miles of peace murals, contributed by children and youth from around the world. The murals will be wrapped around the pyramids in Egypt in 2010, marking the end of the United Nation's decade of peace. Slater became a Peace Paint Ambassador and, last September, she enlisted the help of fellow integrated arts students at Peterborough Vocational Collegiate Institute to produce Peace Begins. The short film focuses on the mural project and incorporates messages of peace throughout.

Local youth wins big for G8 youth summit video
Local youth wins big for G8 youth summit video

"I had been doing murals with students who were also being home-schooled like me," said Slater who also attended Bethany Hills School for one year starting in 2006. "I thought it would be interesting to see how teens would respond."

Peace Begins just "kind of exploded" from there. "When you're involved with something like this, you realize we're not that different," said Slater. "It's all very interesting to see that we can all work together to make a better future for ourselves."

The film not only won the My Hero Film Festival's high school category, but it also opened the gala evening at the Peterborough Travelling World Community Film Festival. The short film preceded War Dance, which was nominated for an Academy Award this year.

Along with being a finalist in the Toronto International Film Festival's kids division, SPROCKETS, Mr. Kovic has also requested Slater broadcast Peace Begins during his rally.

It's not the first time Slater has been recognized for her initiative, creativity and passion.

In 2005, she had the chance to meet her environmental hero, Jean-Michel Cousteau at his family camp in Catalina.

"It was a great experience," said Slater, noting the best part was going snorkeling with Mr. Cousteau as her personal under-water tour guide.

Her short film from that experience earned her an Earth Trustee Award at the United Nations in New York City and was also shown at the Cannes Film Festival in May of 2007.

Awards aside, Slater explained the most rewarding aspect of creating her short films has been the opportunity to edit the pieces herself.

"It's all about creating a mood. When that comes together, it's very satisfying," she said.

When it comes to other films, Slater recently composed the music for the horror-comedy film Zombie Dearest, written and directed by Mr. Kemker.

"I had written a lot of music before we started on the project. It sounded like a lot of fun and so I asked to be a part of it," said Slater.

She also hopes to shoot some footage when she's attending the G8 Youth Summit hosted by Kobe, Japan from May 19 to 26. Slater is one of 40 youth from around the world selected to participate in the environmental summit. The group will discuss and exchange ideas on their own, then present proposals to world leaders.

She also plans to attend the 15th annual iEARN International Conference and 12th annual Youth Summit in Uzbekistan, taking place July 12 to 18.

"It's such a great opportunity to be able to do this," said Slater of her experiences and film work. "It's important for the next generation, so they will be able to have the right to live in a clean world and enjoy life. I just want them to be able to have the choice to do what makes them happy."

To see Slater's work visit and type her name into the 'find a hero' search.

Page created on 10/10/2011 12:00:00 AM

Last edited 2/16/2017 8:58:55 PM

The beliefs, viewpoints and opinions expressed in this hero submission on the website are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the beliefs, viewpoints and opinions of The MY HERO Project and its staff.

Related Links

Read the article directly from website
Painting Peace - Watch Slater's film
Jean-Michel Cousteau Interview - Read the interview Slater made to her earthkeeper hero
Slater's MY HERO work - Watch a film to see all the work that Slater has done for MY HERO

Author Info

Thursday, May 1st, 2008