Save ArticleSave Article

Failed to save article

Please try again

This article is more than 5 years old.

F R E E is an award-winning documentary that follows five teens through a life-changing year with the Destiny Arts Youth Performance Company in Oakland, California.

Each year, a diverse group of teens audition for a spot at Destiny Arts, where they will spend months working together to create an emotionally charged performance based on their lives. However, in a city plagued by violence and high student dropout rates, can they fight the external forces to complete their study?

Central to the film are the stories of five youth: Jamany, who once thought guns, violence, and drugs were the way to fit in who barely escapes juvenile hall; Tilly, who has little outlet for the pain of a difficult relationship with her girlfriend and resorts to self-harm; Nee Nee, who lives with her mother recently diagnosed with breast cancer and unable to pay the water bill; Alaysia, a young woman trying to cope with childhood sexual trauma; and Omar, who has been through 11 foster homes and is living with HIV.

As they unite to create their production, the teens find their voice and a community.


Under the careful guidance of Destiny’s Artistic Director Sarah Crowell, their journey reveals how collaborative art can be a foundation for personal strength, liberation, and hope.