Israel McNeill

Israel McNeill

BlackStar is a gathering of filmmakers, supporters, and enthusiasts who attend screenings and participate in panels, workshops, and conversations to expand the vision and understanding of the global experience of communities of color. Acknowledging the diversity and complexity of identity within several diasporas creates space for dialogue and opens the opportunity for a greater perspective of what it means to be Black, Brown, and Indigenous.”

This was the second year in a row that a Wide Angle Youth Media film was featured in BlackStar Film Festival. Thanks to support from BlackStar, Communications Assistant, Hannah Shaw, and Youth Producer, Israel McNeill, travelled to Philadelphia to attend the festival. Below, Israel reflects on his experience.


Video Overview

Our [spring 2018 Video Team] film “A Glitch In The System” was handpicked to be showcased at Youth Program I of the festival. It takes a brief look at the bias between black and white men with possession of drugs. The film is a unique first-person view of a high school male’s everyday life until he gets locked up by the police because of a foot chase. At the end, the film turns into a split screen where the young man splits into a white and black male. The white male has his handcuffs unlocked while the black male has his still locked onto his wrists. This is a representation of the white supremacy that the world is overdosed on.

Filmmakers from Youth Program I

Filmmakers from Youth Program I


At BlackStar, I learned that I’m more talented than I thought I was. Many people came up to me and congratulated me on our film–the same film that I wasn’t too happy with how it turned out. The film was the shortest out of all the other very talented media makers. 

What surprised me is when someone who looked like me – a young black male – said our film was his favorite and how he loved its execution. He also said our film should’ve been nominated for Best Youth. I was so shocked and happy to hear this I forgot to ask for his name, but I thanked him.

Panel with youth filmmakers

Panel with youth filmmakers

I was also amazed by how the other youth films turned out to be so good! I was hooked on every film and I loved seeing so many youth at the same place, with the same goal, with the same energy, and connected with each other. I’m happy to know and see how amazing our youth are and now I know for certain that we are going to change the WORLD!


A photograph from my first time in Philadelphia (this trip was also my first time on a train)!

(Select the image or select the right and left arrow keys to scroll through the images.)



Israel McNeill is a 16-year old rising Junior at Mergenthaler Vocational-Technical High School studying Finance and Accounting. He was a MediaWorks Intern at Wide Angle Youth Media this summer, and was part of the 2017-2018 Video Team. Video Team worked collaboratively to produce the film, which was based on a project idea proposed by Israel during class.

Wide Angle Youth Media