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Powerful film chronicles 48-hour Hackathon

A riveting documentary film chronicles a 48-hour hackathon that focuses on a group of ethnically diverse teenagers using technology to try to solve socio-economic problems in their underserved communities.

Filmed against the striking visual backdrop of the Science Museum of Minnesota, the 14-minute short highlights the hopes, dreams, and concerns of parents, educators, community leaders, computer programmers, and the 50 or students who attended the Minneapolis-based hackathon. It is the first time ever that the Science Museum, which centers on technology, natural history, physical science, and mathematics education, has participated in this type of event.

Produced and directed by Chicago-based BLUE1647, the film puts the spotlight on a group of 7th to12th graders who were tasked with building a prototype of an app that can continue to be developed, all within 48 hours. “It’s important to expose all kids to all of the great possibilities of the world, including technology,” said Blue1647 founder and CEO Emile Cambry in an interview with UrbanGeekz.

Hackathon inspires minority youth to be innovators

The idea is to inspire African-American kids and other underrepresented minorities to become innovators, technologists, and creative problem-solvers in their underrepresented neighborhoods and the wider global community.

“We have to find creative ways to make tech inclusive, fun, and a transformational experience,” added Cambry. “A hackathon is a great way to achieve that. We’re different than most organizations that provide hackathons because we follow it up with cohort-based training, workshops, classes, and events.”

The hackathon is BLUE1647’s introduction to Minneapolis, where they plan on opening up their first center by the end of January 2016. The non-profit already has two innovation centers in St. Louis, along with six in Chicago.

BLUE1647 has ambitious expansion plans

We’re a network of technology and entrepreneurship centers aiming to enlarge the technology base, especially in underserved communities with underrepresented groups. We achieve this through people development (classes, workshops, and events) workforce development, business acceleration, and civic engagement. All through technology.”

“We consider ourselves the future of the education, with tireless efforts to close the digital and opportunity divide for economic justice. We have worked with over 5,000 youth, 25,000 adults, and we aim to double those numbers in 2016 with our expansion.”

“Showcasing hackathons in a film format gives us an opportunity to reach a broader base of folks that otherwise wouldn’t have known what a hackathon is.”

Follow Kunbi Tinuoye on Twitter@Kunbiti








    Kunbi Tinuoye
    Kunbi Tinuoye
    Kunbi Tinuoye is the founder and CEO of UrbanGeekz. Previously, she worked as a News Correspondent for NBC’s theGrio. Prior, she was a senior broadcast journalist for the BBC in London. Tinuoye currently sits on the SXSW Pitch Advisory Board and CES Conference Advisory Board. She is a key player in the Atlanta tech startup ecosystem and serves as a mentor for Comcast NBCUniversal’s The Farm Accelerator. Tinuoye has received several awards and accolades, including being honored with a Resolution from the Georgia Legislative.