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Trust: Second Acts in Young Lives cover photo

Trust: Second Acts in Young Lives 2010

Highly Recommended

Distributed by Distributed by New Day Films, 190 Route 17M, P.O. Box 1084, Harriman, NY 10926; 888-367-9154 or 845-774-7051
Produced by Produced by Nancy Kelly and Kenji Yamamoto
Directed by Directed by Nancy Kelly
DVD, color, 88 min.

Jr. High - General Adult
Japan, Popular Culture, Music Trade, Singers

Date Entered: 03/14/2014

ALA Notable:
Reviewed by: Reviewed by Carolyn Walden, Mervyn H. Sterne Library, University of Alabama at Birmingham

Trust tells the story of Marlin, an 18-year-old student from Honduras, who is referred to the Chicago Albany Park Theater Project for help with behavior issues resulting from rape and incest in her youth. Young people who participate in the Theater Project have the opportunity to create original plays based on the lives of the members and other people in Chicago. As indicated on the producers’ website, “APTP is a neighborhood theater project dedicated to helping young people reimagine their experiences on stage.” The play is transformative for Marlin and the ensemble as they all learn how important trust is not only for Marlin as she shares her story but for the ensemble to realize that this process brings with it the responsibility to treat the story with care and empathy.

Viewers observe the creative process as the actors experience the difficulty and pain of the story and develop empathy for Marlin and her struggles. In turn, Marlin comes to understand how important trust is as she allows the ensemble to portray and re-create her memory of the events. We see the development of the play under the artistic director’s guidance as Marlin shares her feelings of her experiences. We observe students working through the specific assignments and hear comments from Marlin to help the students create scenes that depict her raw emotions. As the directors work with the ensemble and the music directors add the poignant music at just the appropriate moments, scenes take the viewer from play writing and rehearsal to real life scenes of students arriving at the theater and students leaving for their homes. These transitions help juxtapose this layer of reality of the lives of the actors to the reality of Marlin’s struggle. Students prepare for the final performance beginning with make-up and costumes, the drum beats of anticipation prior to the play, and finally, we are able to see selected scenes from the original play, Remember Me Like This. The ensemble receives a standing ovation as they take their bows for the performance. The play ran for seven weekends to full houses.

The theatrical version allows more scenes with the artistic and associate directors working through the creation of the play. It also shows the contributions of the music directors and includes scenes that demonstrate how the co-founder and artistic director David Feiner works with the associate and music directors to frame the development of the play. There are more comments from the students in this version to illustrate their creative process in the development of the play. From the website, “Trust is the third in a thematic trilogy about the transformative power of art…The other two films are Downside UP and Smitten.

Highly recommended for high school, university, and public library collections.


  • Jury Award, Sebastopol Documentary Film Festival
  • Youth Vision Award, United Nations Association Film Festival
  • Best Documentary, Reel Rasquache Film Festival
  • World Premiere, Mill Valley Film Festival