Timothy Fraher, a student in Anthony Palmiotto’s cinematic arts program, won a recent school district wide Public Service Announcement video contest, which was a collaborative effort between San Diego Unified School District's Police Department and San Diego County's Crime Stoppers.
Fraher was recognized for his 40-second PSA spot, vimeo.com/332259484, at an April 23 Crime Stoppers luncheon. He received a plaque, and his PSA will air on Cox Communications more than 100 times this summer.
“It started out as something really simple,” explained Fraher, who’s been making films since fourth grade, about his assignment, like everyone else in class, to create a relevant PSA.
Discussing his concept, Fraher said, “There’s been a trend recently, unfortunately, where students take out their own personal issues with violence and, in the most extreme cases, with school shootings, which have been escalating through the years.”
Fraher pointed out it’s legal to own a gun now in most states at age 18. “That’s a big issue that I feel is not getting a lot of coverage,” he said. “I realized it was something that had a real strong emotional story behind it too.”
But Fraher was confronted with a dilemma.
“Nobody has an answer for how to solve school shootings, and there’s not a lot happening in terms of gun regulation,” he noted. “But you ‘can’ see signs of depression, that people are not happy with their lives or are being bullied, something like that.”
So instead of “skirting the issue,” Fraher opted instead to do something about it via his PSA spot.
Fraher’s premise was to contrast the difference in difficulty between getting a driver’s license and acquiring a gun. “It’s so much harder to get a driver’s license than it is to buy a gun,” he said, adding his PSA spot incorporates news headlines from school shootings, even audio footage with a woman at Columbine crying out, “People are dying all around me.”
Fraher’s PSA has a climactic ending with a bullet shattering glass.
The student’s aspiration is to go to New York University after graduation. “My heart is set on studying film and business, and I hope to get in the production side doing some fictional films,” he said.
Fraher’s PSA also had an unanticipated benefit.
"Tim won $1,250 for my (cinema) program,” said instructor Palmiotto.