The Conditions of Youth

When a third party investigator calls an entire university campus in for an interrogation on a crime they will not share the details of, the lives of three students get twisted together, glued in place by the entitled, dramatic stain of a person at the center of it all.

  • Yensen P. S. LeBeau
    Director
  • Yensen P. S. LeBeau
    Writer
  • Yensen P. S. LeBeau
    Producer
  • Theo Knerr
    Producer
  • Aria Hadziosmanovic
    Key Cast
    "Maggie"
  • August Sorenson
    Key Cast
    "Thomas"
    Theater People
  • Thaleia Dasberg
    Key Cast
    "Blaine"
    Skye's Dance
  • Nixie Maefly
    Key Cast
    "Calvin"
  • Marco Domokos
    Key Cast
    "Micah"
  • Project Type:
    Documentary, Experimental, Feature, Student
  • Genres:
    Mystery, Documentary, Drama, Coming of age
  • Production Budget:
    500 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    Germany, United States
  • Shooting Format:
    Digital
  • Film Color:
    Color
  • First-time Filmmaker:
    Yes
  • Student Project:
    Yes - Bard College Berlin
Director Biography - Yensen P. S. LeBeau

Yensen P. S. LeBeau is a 21 year old film school drop-out currently studying politics and literature in Berlin. Despite leaving art school, they continue to work on various creative projects in addition to organizing and hosting events on campus and going to class. They work mostly as a freelance writing tutor, as well as doing design work for school events.

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Director Statement

There were three cameras in use throughout the recording of this film.

1. A Canon Powershot SX530 HS that I got for Christmas four years ago. No adjustable lens, just point and shoot.

2. A camcorder I got for free that only works when plugged into an outlet, including a broken screen taken over with black.

3. One actually good camera, used on two days of shooting, lended to me by a friend.

There were several attempts to get a microphone to use:

1. I asked my school’s AV lab to lend me one. There were too many classes that needed the microphones first, and too few in number, so that was a bust.

2. Attempting to use UdK’s equipment rental service in Berlin. I sent them an email, to which they did not respond. The phone number never picked up.

So camera audio it was. I did not have the resources to find other options, and did not know anyone I could borrow from.

There were no grants I could find that were within the timespan necessary, or that suited the project, or that I qualified for. Many of them based in Berlin were only for German citizens (which I am not). Many of them based in America were only for films being made in America (which this film wasn’t). I fundraised what I could myself, by making and selling t-shirts, by drawing portraits of people for 5 Euro, by taking most of the money I was gifted for any occasion towards the project.

But it was not the filming itself that was so expensive; I wanted to make sure I paid the people involved.

The support from the people I told about this project was surprising and wildly encouraging, and it didn’t feel right to have so many people volunteer their time, energy, and living spaces without some sort of compensation. This film was made by college students, and I didn't want to mimic the model of “working for exposure.” Because who am I?

I didn’t have any exposure to offer them, but I had the script, and my shot list, and all the background knowledge one year of film school taught me. I wanted to know every aspect of what making a film professionally consisted of, so I learned how to finance it, and tried to be fair (monetarily + otherwise) and appreciative of the incredible musicians, actors, and friends I worked with.

I am an upcoming fourth year university student studying politics and literature. My first year, I attended Pratt Institute for film, but before that I only dreamed of studying computer science. I did not like art school at all, and so wanted to pursue something more academic. I get bored easily, hence making this project as the sole writer, editor, cinematographer, and director while also overloading in my courses, and serving in student parliament.

This project includes portions of documentary interviews with real students, but the exact contrast between what is scripted and what is not is meant to be blurred. I learned a lot from speaking to my peers, professors, and anyone willing to answer my questions, and it felt important to not try to polish everything up too much. I feel very strongly that the people who can teach you the most are not always the best on camera, and are not always well-known, but know themselves, and are honest with themselves, and try the best they can.

This was a common thread in the research alongside this project: we forget what’s right in front of us, including the fact that our friends can be our teachers, and that we are not nearly so smart or unique as we think we are sometimes. And here is another: many of us have far more faith in humankind than we think other people do, but it is this distinction that takes it away. So I was glad to listen to what people had to say, on camera and behind the scenes.

Thank you for listening too, and for your time and consideration.