The Red Carpet of the Ridgewood Guild International Film Festival in downtown Ridgewood, NJ will be filled with excited and proud students on Opening night, April 24th. That's because their new films will be premiering and they will be proud about that. But, in addition to their filmmaking prowess, what they should be most proud about it that they are not just the documentarians but also active participants of the subject they are filming.
Four films will be shown about a project called TEEEM - The Empathetic Entrepreneur Equality Mission. In a nutshell, this organization puts high school students to work to support programs to help families and women in third world coutries. Our high school partners and their corresponding sites include Ridgewood/Cambodia, Pascack Valley/Burkina Faso, Northern Highlands/Senegal, Waldwick/Kenya, Westwood/Ethiopia and Bergenfield/Peru.
Four schools/programs which have created and produced films which will be shown at the festival. These student filmmakers are:
Northern Highlands:Laura Benvenisti
Ridgewood High School:
Evan Beirne-Former Student
Waldwick High School
Bergenfield High School
I spoke with Jarret Schecter, the founder of TEEEM, about the organization and his participation in this film festival.
Tell me what TEEEM is:
Jarret: TEEEM is an acronym that stands for the Empathic Entrepreneur Equality Mission. It's a belief/philosophy that if there was more of a feeling empathy and thought of equality and a behavior of entrepreneurship than the world would be a more connected, better and safer place. Also in and with respect to connectivity, in my/our lexicon Teeem=Team
We believe in bringing the world to Bergen County, New Jersey and reciprocally the county to the world. With a holistic focus on medical care, economic empowerment and education, we are currently working with poor, remote and underserved communities in Burkina Faso, Senegal, Ethiopia, Kenya, Cambodia and Peru. Whether treating thousands of patients in Burkina Faso and Ethiopia, empowering hundreds of women with micro loans in Senegal, providing jobs to villagers at 11,000 feet in the Peruvian Andes, or providing thousands of meals to malnourished students and upgrading schools respectively in Kenya and Cambodia, TEEEM has done so much for so little in the past year.
The filmmakers, tell me about these students. What is their role in the organization?
Jarret: They are student TEEEM members who are very much involved in Teem's mission
Are the students excited about the premiere of their films at a recognized film festival?
Jarret: I believe they are and when they see the film in the theater, I imagine that they will be even more excited.
You are also premiering a book at the film festival, I’ve seen it and it is filled with amazing photography and writing. What is that about?
Jarret: We are launching a book called Humanitarians of New Jersey on April 24th at the film festival. It is a book about the involvement of our TEEEM students from six Bergen Country schools. We are very excited to launch this at the Ridgewood Guild International Film Festival. In addition to the photographs, we have over 50 student text entries in the book. As you will see there are many good student testimonials inside.
We will have copies of the book at the film festival but you can also purchase them by contacting us. For $20, TEEEM will match the cost of the book which will provide meals for 200 malnourished students or treat 8 patients with life-threatening medical conditions.
What are your plans for the future?
Jarret: Our immediate plans are to expand within Bergen county to Hackensack High School with their involvement in parts of Latin America. Also, we will soon be involved with needed medical outreach in the rural steppes Mongolia.
Bergenfest is Coming!!
TEEEM is sponsoring a student-driven concert to raise awareness and donations on June 29th, 2019 at noon in Ridgewood, NJ. See website for details.
For More Information: