Archive for the ‘reviews’ Category

Boston Museum of Fine Arts screening series/Boston Globe review

May 24, 2010

“a genial documentary…Boritt and Szlasa have talent”
Wesley Morris, Boston Globe

Yes, we are in the middle of our run at the fantastic theater at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston and were happy to have a review in the Boston Globe.

Sure, the reviewer mixed up some of our subject’s names and relationships and Jake never was a Scout and it was Manny combing Keith’s hair (or Ms. Ann giving KC braids) but we were happy to get some positive attention, a very nice quote and 2.5 stars out of 4 which actually is pretty good in the Boston Globe’s world. Anyway, almost all working film critics are stretched thin (and my guess is the Globe is short on fact-checkers) so we were happy Mr. Morris could knock out this review between screenings at Cannes.

From afar, it seems like Cannes is all parties and red carpets but anyone who has ever been at a festival knows that for people like Mr. Morris it is serious work.

If you are interested you can read the whole “759” review here.


A Letter from Lancaster

February 3, 2010

Good Morning

The film Boy Scouts of Harlem demonstrates the incredible power of the Boy Scout program to build self-esteem and self reliance in boys. It is an incredibly powerful statement. It also shows the power that Scouting has to compensate for the absence of male role models and how Scouting can have a powerful presence especially in challenging circumstances.

As a Scout and Scouter over the last 56 years I have spent a fair amount of my life tramping around Boy Scout Camps across the United States. Justin and Jake have done an incredible job of communicating a powerful real-life image of the Boy Scout Camp experience. They make it come to life as it really is. They capture the fun, the camaraderie, the challenge and the achievement that are all essential elements of Scouting and the outdoors. This film demonstrates how the three elements of the Boy Scout program, skills, values and leadership, are effectively employed in the process of turning boys into productive and responsible Citizens.

This is must see film particularly in these challenging times. It communicates the power and the hope we need to get America back on track. As I write this Scouting has recently honored the two millionth Eagle Scout, there are 4.6 active Boy Scouts in America and 22.8 million worldwide. More than a million and a half of those Eagles are still alive today. Scouting has made a huge contribution to America and the world and is committed to doing so today and into the future.

Yours in Scouting and Service

Jim Bednarski
Assistant Scoutmaster Troop 99, Lancaster, PA
Author; Scouting for Boys, Centennial Edition

Northern Exposure

June 18, 2009

Here is a review we just from Heather in Canada…

I just attended what may have been the Canadian premier of Boy Scouts of Harlem – in my livingroom in North Vancouver, British Columbia with my 13 year old son, Farley.  At first he was simply watching to appease his mother, who wanted to see a film produced by her friend, Justin.  But as soon as one of the boy scouts farted on the luggage rack at camp, Farley allowed himself to get closer to the characters.  There are differences, but there are many similarities, too.  My son is around the same age as the boys in the film; he participated in Cubs for a number of years; he has far more strong female than male role models in his life; and he often finds parts of life more challenging than they appear to be for other kids his age.   As Keith attempted to swim, climb or adjust to a night in the tent, Farley commisserated with his fear, angst, frustration and exhaustion.  And when Keith successfully swam two lengths of the outdoor pool area in order to progress to “beginner” swimmer, there were several cheers in our livingroom and they weren’t just coming from the mother sitting in the room.

The success of the boys of Troop 759 represents the hope for success of children everywhere.  The parents among us who sometimes worry that life may have become too hard for our children need these reminders that there are saints out there willing to help us to teach our children courage and determination.  And these boys remind us that children are always ready to rise to challenge if given the chance.

Let’s ensure we live in a world that is always ready to give a child that chance.  Bravo Boy Scouts of Harlem, their leaders, and those who brought this poignant story to us!

Alvin Townley on 759

May 25, 2009

Jake and I just returned from the BSA Annual Meeting in Orlando.  We had the chance to see Alvin Townley who just published a very good book called “Spirit of Adventure and the Making of America’s Future.”  It highlights the accomplishments of a new generation of Eagle Scouts who are part of the new generation of America’s leaders.

If you are interested in the book check it out at Barnes & Noble here or take a look at the videos on Alvin’s website here.

Alvin Townley's latest opus

Alvin Townley's latest opus

We had read Alvin’s earlier book about more established Eagle Scouts before we started production on “759” and we sent Alvin an early cut of our film to get his feedback.  Now that we are finished with our film Alvin had this to say about “759: Boy Scout of Harlem”

“It’s important to remember that Scouting truly happens at the troop level, and 759: Boy Scouts of Harlem intelligently shows how the Scouting program shapes the lives of one group of young men from New York.  In doing so, this important film begins to capture how Scouting, through thousands of individual troops from communities of every type, shapes and brightens America’s future.”

–Alvin Townley, Eagle Scout & Author of “Spirit of Adventure” & “Legacy of Honor”

DVDs are shipping…and an early review from Baltimore.

May 19, 2009

We have initiated a “soft launch” of our online DVD sales (you can purchase a DVD on our main site here) and we wanted to share some early feedback from a friend of ours in Baltimore.  We love this kind of stuff!

Justin & Jake,

Your movie arrived today at about 4:30pm.

By 7:00pm, my kids (Mac/9 and Bo/4) and I were talking about how we want to meet all of the people featured in your fantastic film. Unless she’s sleeping or in a car, Charlotte (2) does not sit still for long periods of time. She sat with me for the first 45 minutes of your film. Elmo has never commanded this type of attention. Then, she proceeded to dance to the lively soundtrack. During our living room premiere, I had flashbacks of my first “dock test” in frigid water 20+ years ago as well as the friendships created during my summer camp experience.

The film is really quite fabulous. Mac, in particular, was moved by the whole concept of being a scout. The sense of belonging to a unique team, overcoming personal goals, and being part of a tradition came up during our post-movie review. My guess is that your film will have a significant impact the registration rate for future Scouts.

Congratulations on your incredible project.  I hope that you win many awards. You deserve much success.