In one of the early shots in the latest Hollywood Police Activities League (PAL) video, young kids perform martial arts under the watchful gaze of Ron Sanchez, a retired captain of the Los Angeles Police Department. What seems like a fairly innocuous activity—cops and kids playing sports and having fun—is actually much bigger beyond the surface.
“When a police officer is a positive role model and gets the opportunity to share their values and character with people, then it can snowball,” said Valerie Lord, PAL’s development director. “That’s why Hollywood PAL is so important. It’s about relationships in the community. It changes lives.”
The Hollywood Police Activities League serves more than 500 at-risk youth between the ages of 6–17 with a variety of activities, including martial arts, soccer, fitness training, an arts club, scholarships, and more. To promote PAL’s efforts in the community, the organization reached out to Emerson College Los Angeles (ELA) to help produce a video highlighting the program’s activities.
“We didn’t have the budget to do a big, giant video,” said Kitty Gordillo, executive director of Hollywood PAL. “But it’s our 20th anniversary and we wanted to show everyone why PAL is important.”
Akil Anderson, ELA’s media services and events director, reached out to students who’d be willing to volunteer their time to produce, film, and edit the video. Alex Johnson ’17 jumped at the opportunity.
Alex Johnson ’17 said he was “honored” to field produce the video for the Hollywood Police Activities League. Photo/Daryl Paranada
“It’s great that PAL was able to connect with the community to help make this video,” said Johnson, who acted as the video’s field producer. “The fact that they’re reaching out to students in Hollywood who they know are upcoming filmmakers, producers, and creators, it was an honor to be a part of that process.”
On November 2, the video was unveiled at Hollywood PAL’s annual awards gala. Proceeds raised from the event will be used to fund activities and crime prevention programs for kids in Hollywood.
“The kids that do the program, they grow up to be the kinds of people who care about their community,” said Lord. “It doesn’t just change the lives of the kids that are participating, but it also changes the lives of their parents, brothers and sisters, and their friends.”
Federico Slezynger ’17 helped to film the martial arts scenes for the video.
“Working with the PAL program was a great opportunity,” said Slezynger. “I didn’t realize I would enjoy it as much as I did. The kids made me want to do martial arts.”
James N. Rolstone edits the Hollywood Police Activities League video with direction from Akil Anderson, ELA’s media services and events director. Photo/Daryl Paranada
Slezynger and Tristan Donaldson ’17 were camera operators for the video; Olivia Still ’17 helped to create graphics; James N. Rolstone ’16 edited the video.
“What made me interested in this project was seeing how committed PAL was to outreach to the youth,” said Rolstone. “I was able to see through the interviews I helped edit together just how much the program has benefited children and teens in the community.”
That message of positivity and the impact that PAL has had on the community over the past 20 years, Gordillo says, is something she’s glad the video promotes.
“With the negative press that’s going on with law enforcement across the country, it’s important to share stories of success and positivity,” said Gordillo. “The video was very well-received at the gala and we’d love to continue partnering with Emerson and other organizations that are helping the community.”