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Book Review: Andrew Jenks, My Adventures as a Young Filmmaker

“I want to tell the stories of my generation. I want to be a filmmaker that is able to capture what my generation thinks, how they act, and they ultimately stand for.” – Andrew Jenks

“Everyone has a story and telling those stories is what I do.” – Jenks, page 169

At 16, Andrew Jenks started the Hendrick Hudson Film Festival
At 19, he made his first film
At 21, he created the ESPN documentary “The Zen of Bobby V.”
At 24, he had his own show on MTV
At 26, he is sharing his life in a book (feeling like a slacker yet?)

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m9IncBUEiIM]

Andrew Jenks is a young, aspiring filmmaker who began his journey with the movie Andrew Jenks, Room 335.  In this first documentary, Jenks checked himself in to a retirement home to see what it would be like for a young person to live amongst his elders.  The film was purchased by HBO and received some good critical reviews: “It’s almost impossible to believe that a kid could produce a documentary like this . . . Bravo Andrew Jenks. Brilliant.” – New York Daily News.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z68QRzBRqH0]

“Witnessing the daily actions of Bill, Tammy and the rest gave me confidence in being alive that I definitely didn’t have before.” – Jenks, page 76

Jenks then shot a documentary starring Bobby Valentine highlighting his success in Japan.  The Zen of Bobby V was financed by ESPN films.

“I’m glad I didn’t listen to that guy and burn all my copies of the movie . . .” – Jenks, page 88

You are, however, most likely to recognize the name Andrew Jenks from his MTV show World of Jenks.  On each episode of the show Jenks moved in with a different stranger and learned a little bit about what their life was like.  It is the ultimate experiment in walking in another person’s shoes.

“I wasn’t sure exactly where I would fit in among programs like Jersey Shores and 16 and Pregnant.  I’m not really that proud of my abs and don’t punch people all that often.  I certainly wasn’t pregnant.” – Jenks, page 169

Andrew Jenks has put together an artistic look at his journey as a young filmmaker in the biography Andrew Jenks, My Adventures as a Young Filmmaker, set to be released March 1 from Scholastic.  The Jenks biography is a visually appealing book that will be a great draw for readers of all types, bursting with full-color pictures, varying sizes and colors of fonts, and an engaging voice that inspires.  Jenks is a reminder to teens that they can pursue a passion and turn it into something positive. 

Andrew Jenks does not sugarcoat the process, however.  Readers see quite clearly the lengths that Jenks had to go through to make some deals, the time he showed his film at Cannes and realized that it wasn’t properly synced, and the times he was relying on a wing and a prayer to get to the next step.  There are moments of abject rejection, including one festival calling and telling Jenks to stop submitting his film because he was wasting everyone’s time.  It is important for teen readers to see the hard work and dedication that Andrew Jenks had to put in to get to the point that he did.  This is not a Cinderella story, but a motivational look that reminds us all that a little elbow grease and perseverance can lead us on fantastic journeys.  Highly recommended for all library collections.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dl6tF4Z5Hts]
Check out Scholastic’s This is Teen Youtube channel for lots of great promo videos

This review refers to an advanced reader’s copy and some of the quotes may change.  There were also several pages that didn’t have pictures on them yet.  Andrew Jenks, My Adventures as a Young Filmmaker.  March 2013 from Scholastic Books.  ISBN: 978-0-545-417273.

See also: Lights, Camera, Action: 5 YA Titles about teen filmmakers
              TPiB: Reel Teens, hosting a teen film festival


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