Tuesday, October 15, 2013

PBS documentary follows a culturally diverse group of rural New Mexico teenagers

The daily lives and challenges of six rural teens in New Mexico are getting a national audience, with Thursday's PBS premiere of "Our Time is Now." The documentary follows a wide range of characters who represent the cultural and economic diversity of the state, which the film's trailers says has the most diverse rural population in the U.S. and one of the lowest high-school graduation rates.

The documentary shows how the students "work toward finishing high school, wrestle with personal challenges and pursue their dreams," Adrian Gomez reports for the Albuquerque Journal. Director Erin Hudson told Gomez,“I’m really excited that audiences will get to see a side of New Mexico that goes unseen. It’s great to have this opportunity on such a big scale." Four of the six cast members now attend New Mexico State University, Tiffany Acosta reports for NMSU. Another attends Eastern New Mexico University, where he was named to the dean's list in the spring, according to a release from the college.

Filmmakers spent two years following the teens. The PBS website describes the film and characters: "Waylon is Navajo and lives without running water or electricity and helps provide the basic needs for his family; Jimmy faces the challenges of poverty and lives with a family torn apart by addiction; Juan balances his English-speaking school and his Spanish-speaking home; Mitch stays rooted in her Pueblo traditions as she works hard to be the school’s valedictorian; Vicky lost her mother and must hold down a fast-food job to help support her family; Tiqua must separate from the stability of her fifth-generation farm family. The film follows the students as they face complex economic realities and straddle their hopes and dreams of childhood with the responsibilities of adulthood."

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