Nee Nee



"...I like to push myself to do things that really girls really shouldn’t do but can’t do. I want to be the girl who does it."

"...I am sitting on a sidewalk because my people don't want me in their house anymore. To them, I am old and tattered. There's a sign taped to my forehead that reads F R E E."

"...I don't know where I would be without dancing. I wouldn't know myself, I wouldn't know my breaking point. I wouldn't know how to calm down. Without dancing, I would be scared of myself."



"...I was still hiding behind what people wanted me to be. I was scared to show who I really was."

"...It happened. It's not just a nightmare or another page in my diary. It happened. It happened to me."

If you really knew me...




The Power of Performance


Suzanne LaFetra and David Collier felt in their bones that Destiny Arts was special from the very first time they attended a performance. It was a shocking reminder of what it means to be a teen in Oakland. Yet, they were impressed and captivated by the students' ability to herald their personal struggles for a public audience. In a place where 1/3 of all teenagers drop out of high school, how is Destiny Arts able to successfully guide these teens though this tumultuous period? Natives of the Bay Area, raising four teenagers of their own, the two paired up in this labor of love to tell the story of five remarkable youth and their journey of becoming F R E E.

Director/Producer/Director of Photography

David Collier is an award winning documentary filmmaker, and the principal and founder of Studio B Films. He received an Academy Award nomination in 1993 for his feature length documentary For Better or for Worse. Studio B Films is a video production company in Berkeley, specializing in commercial work and documentary-based storytelling.



Suzanne LaFetra is a freelance writer, journalist and filmmaker. She is the Executive Producer of the documentary, She Wants to be a Matador (2009). She has long believed in the power of film as a medium for social change. Being the mom/stepmom to four adolescents has made her particularly keen on the youth development work portrayed in

F R E E. This is her directorial debut.


Jennifer Chinlund is an award-winning editor. She has edited dozens of documentary films including Children of the AmazonThe Self Made Man, Discovering Dominga, Baby It’s You, and Complaints of a Dutiful Daughter, which won an Emmy and was nominated for an Academy Award.  Other broadcast credits include Secrets of Silicon Valley and Beyond the Call, both on Independent Lens; Coming to Light, Edward S. Curtis and the North American Indian, on American Masters; and Ishi, the Last Yahi, on PBS’s American Experience.  Her films have been shown at many international film festivals, including Sundance, Berlin, San Francisco, Telluride Mountainfilm and Tribeca.



Todd Boekelheide is an award-winning sound engineer and composer. He has scored more than 60 films, including Spin, Regret to Inform, Inside Bellevue, The Future of Food, Hearts of Darkness: a filmmaker’s apocalypse and Nina Takes a Lover. He has earned both Emmy and Academy awards for his work.


Destiny Arts Center is a dance, theater and martial arts organization based in Oakland, CA with a mission to end isolation, prejudice and violence in the lives of young people. The Destiny Arts Youth Performance Company was created as a forum for youth to express a message of peace and empowerment through dance, theater, martial arts, rap and song.



National Bioneers Conference

SATURDAY, October 21, 2017 @ 9:30PM

San Rafael, CA

Free and open to the public!


                       is fiscally sponsored by:



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Sharing F R E E with students is now easier than ever with

Educational DVDs are now available through

The Video Project



F R E E  the Documentary © 2014

Website designed by Elizabeth Feder



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F R E E  is a feature-length documentary following five teens through a year in an Oakland dance program. Their journey in the Destiny Arts Youth Performance Company reveals how collaborative art can be a foundation for personal discovery. Follow them through a year of becoming  F R E E.


Read more about the documentary here.