GAMBIER — Yellow roses are a symbol of hope, joy and freedom. It is hoped they are also a symbol for a new beginning inspired by the Christian-based documentary film, “Yellow Roses: Real girls. Real lives. Real hope.”
Young women from across the United States in junior high school through college participated in the film, addressing many issues they face in today’s society. The film was written by Gambier resident Steve Feazel, produced by Worthington Partners Media Ltd. and The 5 Stones Group of Columbus, and directed by Mike Edwards.
Sarah Kroeze, a senior at Mount Vernon Nazarene University, was one of the many participants to give her testimony of the struggles she had in finding her self-identity.
“I thought the film was a great idea,” she said. “I don’t think there are a lot of video resources for girls like this film. Girls go through a lot more than people think they do.”
The film is organized into sections that address different topics of personal testimonies and hopes.
“I talked in the section on relationships, about just knowing who you are and how important that is to know before you can be in a relationship and try to get to know another person,” she said. “If you know how you work, it is easier for someone else to know how you work.”
In the film, Kroeze speaks about her teen years and the influence the media had on her self-image. During that time in her life, Kroeze said, she struggled to find her self-identity and often sought out teen magazines to guide her.
“When I was in high school, my parents could tell when I’ve been reading teen magazines because I would be really concerned about what I looked like that day. I would try to impress people more, and look at how the media wanted me to be,” she said. “My brother didn’t like when I got like that and would tell me to just be myself.”
By participating in the film, Kroeze said she was able to strengthen what she’s learned about just being herself.
“There is a lot of pressure to not be yourself; it’s hard to fight that, but it’s possible. I’ve learned that it’s just better to be yourself. It’s easier and more people like you when you’re totally being who you’re meant to be,” she said. “I’ve learned a lot about myself that I believe will help me in future relationships.”
Kroeze hopes young women who see the film will know that God loves them, no matter who they are, and that he created them for a purpose.
“Everyone struggles; it doesn’t mean that you’re the only one, and hopefully people will realize that it’s OK to talk about their problems, because a lot of girls don’t talk about their problems. I would definitely recommend this to young women to watch,” she said.
Kroeze recently viewed the film for the first time.
“I like the way the film is portrayed, and that they have girls from all over the country participating in it. I think it’s good that they didn’t just choose one region,” she said.
When Feazel originally wrote the screenplay for the film, it was named “Priceless Values” because, Feazel said, “God made you an eternal soul to live forever with Him so therefore you are priceless.” But as the film progressed, the title changed and the script evolved and became known as “Yellow Roses.”
Feazel said he was encouraged to do “Yellow Roses” because of his earlier documentary for young men, “Every Young Man’s Battle,” which focused on sexual temptations faced by teen-aged and young men. “Yellow Roses” took a different approach, addressing not just sexual purity, but also focusing on the challenges and struggles young women face.
“We learned that it was different for girls than it was for guys,” said Feazel. “With girls, we found out that a lot of their actions were tied to some other struggles they were having or had been having for a year or a month or so, that was influencing their behaviors and decisions they were now making.”
The film was developed in large part by a focus group from MVNU which emphasized topics of peer pressure, problems faced with technology, cultural attitudes toward young women, identity struggles and adolescent vulnerabilities.
“They changed the film. These girls were the real writers,” said Feazel. “We had it written a certain way, but after we talked with the girls, we reorganized the whole thing, even to the point we changed the narration that we had written. We wanted to put emphasis on them and their lives.
“[The film] taught us that girls are very complicated, and they go through identity struggles as they search for their core values. And the core values that they embrace will ultimately lead to their behavior. Some girls have embraced the wrong values, that don’t enhance their lives.”
The young women’s interviews touch on personal experiences that were hard and challenging, but hopeful, said Feazel.
“When you hear their stories, you know it’s coming from the heart,” he said. “One of the meanings of yellow roses is new beginnings. And our concept with this is for the young ladies who have not had a good past to know God wants to give you yellow roses, for in him, in Christ, there is a new beginning you can embrace.”
“Yellow Roses” is scheduled to be shown Wednesday evening, July 28, at Mulberry Street Methodist Church. For more information, contact Feazel at 507-7987 or by e-mail at email@example.com.
“We would like to show this film to churches, youth groups and community organizations,” said Feazel.