Nov. 25, 2014
By Jeremy Grimaldi
It may have all started with a cop drawing sketches of superheroes in the office, but has now turned into something much larger.
Not only are the two creators getting kudos from around North America for their “progressive” take on crime prevention, but kids from around the region are also applauding police efforts to become “less boring”.
What’s all the talk about?
A new York Regional Police superhero, intended to reach out to youngsters in schools, who, according to the officers going into the classrooms, were growing increasingly unmoved by the police’s message.
“They were bored... eyes glossed. It’s a struggle to hold their attention,” Const. Tony Cedrone said.
The character, who has been visiting classrooms for weeks, made his grand debut last Friday with a screening of United, the six-minute film Const. Cedrone and Const. Doug MacRae created on a shoestring budget along with help from an army of volunteers.
In the movie, made with volunteers and a few thousand dollars from the Provincial Anti-Violence Intervention Strategy (PAVIS), a yet-to-be-named YRP superhero fights evil characters with the help of the community.
The superhero, who will soon be named as part of a contest, will visit classrooms around the region to help deliver the police message that if the force and community work together, they can put an “end to youth and gang violence and crime”.
“We’ve been getting an overwhelming response from schools, students and adults,” said Det. Anthony Torresan, who works alongside Const. Cedrone and MacRae. “It’s been really overwhelming.”
The force is not only thinking about a comic book dedicated to the character, but also another film for a younger audience and a sequel, he added.
The night also provided a venue for youth from around the region to show off their own movie-making abilities.
In front of a 200-strong crowd at Colossus Theatre in Vaughan, a panel of judges selected the film Neighbourhood Watch by Woodbridge student and aspiring filmmaker Stefan Delmedico during a festival.
Although Delmedico said he thought taking a comedic look at the campaign may spell a last place result for his movie, it turned out to make him the night’s big winner.
He found out about the festival when his drama teacher pointed him to a poster promoting the event.
After that, he spent three days shooting with friends and one day editing.
Now he has been asked by the police to take part in the filming of the sequel.
“I would love to make a career out of it,” he added.
Second and third place contestants - Vaughan’s Yazmeen Kanji and Markham’s Will Dano were given $250 and $150 gift certificates to Best Buy.