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Cameras roll on local teens for documentary

Posted: July 22, 2013 2:00 a.m.
Updated: July 22, 2013 2:00 a.m.

Local teenagers, from left, Kevin Conway, Skye Elmore and Garrison Saenz, were featured in the documentary "Only The Young."

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Two teenagers lay side-by-side on the carpet of a bedroom floor. Their hair colorful and attention rapt, they discuss the most important subject in their lives: their lives.

“Everything that goes into your life never comes out,” Skye Elmore says to best friend Garrison Saenz, gauging his reaction with darting eyes. Cameras hovered above their heads and captured their conversation.

“I got involved in being your friend and now I’m stuck in your black hole and you couldn’t get rid of me if you tried.”
Documentary filmmakers Elizabeth Mims and Jason Tippet have sought to capture a fresh new look into the lives of present-day American teenagers on the verge of adulthood by featuring three high school students who grew up in the Santa Clarita Valley.

Elmore and Saenz, along with friend Kevin Conway, are featured in the full-length independent documentary “Only the Young” about the trials and tribulations of growing up.

“‘Only the Young’ is a documentary that just encompasses three young lives in a coming-of-age journey,” said Elmore.

“It’s the story of our lives,” said Conway.

For more than a year — the actual length of the filming was a point of debate between the best friends — their lives were caught on video as they experienced both normal and rare obstacles for American teenagers while finding their own definitions of happiness and love.

“It started out as a couple of questions,” said Conway.

“Then it was a full feature,” said Elmore.

The process began when Saenz found a pair of car keys at the Santa Clarita Skate Park. Upon locating the owner of the misplaced keys, Saenz and Conway began talking to the two people who would eventually document the boys’ final year of high school.

“The first day we filmed, Kevin and I took them on this whole adventure,” said Saenz.

“This whole hiking adventure, they didn’t know what they were getting into,” Conway said.

“It was relatively nerve-wracking the first time,” Elmore said about being in front of a camera.

However, the kids created a unique mixture of counter-culture and Christian culture that thrives under the lens of a camera. The filmmakers asked to film more.

“They wouldn’t show us any of the movie,” Saenz said of the process.

“They didn’t want it to alter our perception of the filming,” said Elmore.

Drama abounds in the documentary as the best friends for more than five years discuss friendship, love and the future, experiencing heartbreaks and hardships — not to mention finding any surface on which to skate.

The documentary premiered recently on PBS as a part of the Point-Of-View Documentary Film series and is available on Amazon and iTunes.

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