The World Is As Big Or As Small As You Make It
12 minutes, USA, 2014
Sannii Crespina-Flores, a poet and artist native to Philadelphia, has always seen technology as an incredible opportunity for empowerment. Basic digital gadgets - at the fingertips of young people everywhere now - can act as awe-inspiring tools of social change, intellectual exploration and self-worth. Tools that have been used for texting friends, taking selfies and making social plans become a witness to the great (and sometimes unfulfilled) potential that exists in their own back yards.
Sannii’s desire to share the inherent power of technology has inspired her to start an innovative program where local kids ages 12-15 gather at a neighborhood recreation center in North Philadelphia to use their phones and computers to transform themselves into illuminators and citizens of the world. A self-selected band of young outsiders gather every week to commit acts of journalism and global anthropology.
The group Skypes with video pen pals around the world with kids their own age, yearning to connect with a realm beyond their own. From Nigeria to France to Kazakhstan, the kids share the reality of their lives in Philly, to their counterparts who in turn share their own opinions, frustrations and desires. For kids who have never left the town of Philadelphia, these exchanges prove to be both touching and surprising, giving them exposure to new corners of planet Earth: messy, perplexing, and yet somehow familiar.
THE WORLD IS AS BIG OR SMALL AS YOU MAKE IT is an emotional and charming meditation on the strength of tools that most of us take for granted, but is nevertheless being harnessed by the voiceless worldwide.
Director(s): Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady