New documentary highlights problem of youth violence in Albuquerque communities

Local News

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – A local filmmaker’s latest piece is about youth violence and is getting people in the community thinking of solutions to the problem.

John Acosta was raised in the Duke City. Over the years, he says he’s seen friends go to jail and some have even died. He hopes his newest work will not only inspire kids to think about a different kind of future, but also inspire the community to start talking about change.

The film, “Growing Up in the Real Breaking Bad Albuquerque,” features those getting involved in the community to make change, mothers remembering their children, victims of violence in the area, and a group of recent high school grades, identities concealed and voices distorted, remembering their upbringing and exposure. It’s the newest piece by Acosta, a local filmmaker, who is also one of the creators of the YouTube series, “Duke City Diaries.”

“I felt like I needed to create something. This city right now is becoming more and more desensitized to all the violence that is happening,” said Acosta, who is serving as director and cinematographer in this newest piece. “We see these tragic, tragic deaths that happen in Albuquerque and it pains me. It pains me to see that. It pains me to hear about these deaths as a person that grew up in Albuquerque.”

Acosta says violence is rampant in the community, and he, along with those featured in the film and other locals, want something to change. They hope people will start talking about really making that change.

“It just makes me wonder, what is happening? How do we fix this? How can we even talk about it, right, because we don’t even talk about it. When we do talk about it, it’s very surface level, so we get surface-level results,” said Acosta. “We just need to work together collectively and have a discussion.

The documentary covers heavy topics like teens getting involved in the drug trade and others murdering, or being murdered themselves. Acosta and his team hope the shocking reality of it gets people talking.

“It can be very jarring, but it’s real. It’s reality. So let’s talk about it. Let’s have that discussion,” said Acosta. “The violence is happening in our communities, whether we’re inflicting it or we’re being affected by it.”

“When you want to talk about that kind of stuff with friends, it’s a really mixed reaction because people either joke about it because they don’t really know how to cope with it, or it’s really, ‘I don’t want to talk about that because it’s too much of a strong topic,'” said Jacob Olaguir, associate producer of the film. “These things do happen and we do need to talk about them. Even if we push them to the back and act like they didn’t happen, they still did.”

The filmmakers hope focusing on young people and creating a stronger, healthier community will send a strong message and get better results.

“We have an opportunity here in Albuquerque to really create something powerful when it comes to finding solutions to this problem,” said Acosta.

Acosta works alongside members of the SouthWest Organizing Project. It’s a metro non-profit that brings attention to economic, political and cultural issues.

The group plans to host community screenings of the piece and bring it to area high schools. The documentary is also available on YouTube for the public.

“The reason I released it on YouTube is I want to share it with everybody and I want it to be accessible,” said Acosta.

In the near future, they hope to put together a panel of local community leaders and elected officials to spark real change and solutions.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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