News and Events

SWAT Students from Clay County Contribute to "Who is the Target?", a Short Film on Youth Tobacco Marketing
April 24, 2013

Students from six counties in North Central Florida joined forces to write and produce "Who is the Target", a short film that focuses on the use of flavored products as a youth marketing strategy by tobacco companies.

Fourteen Students from Alachua, Clay, Dixie, Gilchrist, Levy, and Marion Counties were asked to contribute facts and information on the issue of flavored tobacco products that are not currently regulated by the Food and Drug Administration. The students then recorded the information at a make-shift studio. Clay County SWAT students Aser Civilus, Haley Geeser, Darryl Smack, and Jessica Klidies participated in the project.

Clay Video Cast

"It was really cool to participate in the PSA, getting to use our public speaking skills in a way that can potentially impact so many people," said Darryl Smack, Clay County SWAT president and senior at Orange Park High School. "SWAT has been a great organization to belong to--its a big family with members in each county around Florida. I joined SWAT to learn leadership skills and to help protect kids with asthma from secondhand smoke. Kids just like me."

The Quit Doc Research and Education Foundation helped produce the film, setting up a temporary studio at their office in Ocala, Florida. The staff converted a spare office by suspending a simple blue screen from the ceiling. "It is the same technique used by your local weatherman," said Dr. Barry Hummel, who directed the film. "It allows us to put graphic information behind the students during the editing process to reinforce each point they are trying to make."

"The students were real pros," added Dr. Hummel. "Picture yourself standing on a blank stage and sharing information while imagining what images might be swirling behind you. This is exactly what these students did, which is all the more impressive when you consider that they ranged in age from 12 to 18."

Once the footage was shot, it was catalogued by Dr. Hummel, who then was tasked with cutting the film together.

"Using the material provided by the students, I had to string together the information to try and tell a linear story," said Dr. Hummel. "Once that was established, the film was populated with numerous pictures of the tobacco products that are being used to aggressively target teenagers."

"While being in SWAT is a lot of fun, there are some serious moments too," said Haley Geeser, an 11th grader and reigning Miss Orange Park High School. "Its important to get our message out that the tobacco industry is still targeting young people and children with these products. I am proud to be a part of this PSA video. I know through these types of activities, I can make a difference for my community."

Dr. Hummel also hopes to use the material to create a number of shorter 30-second and 60-second public service announcements. "With a little luck," he added, "we can get some local media outlets to runs a few of these to get the word out on this important problem."

The finished project, "Who is the Target", was made available to the public on April 24, 2013. You can view the film in its entirety here: