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“Sugar Coated: The Truth About Eating Disorders”

WINNER: Most Entertaining
Creators: Valentina, Dulce, Karen, Ana, Anderson, Walfry, Christina, Salih, Dylan, Yarlin, and Christopher
High School Students from Education Video Center
Winter 22 YDW Posters Sugar Coated 5mb

About this Project:

Sugar Coated is a collaborative youth-produced social justice documentary film created by high school students across New York City participating in EVC’s flagship program.

Eating disorders are a mental health issue and have the second highest mortality rate of any psychiatric diagnosis, outranked only by opioid disorders. Why hasn’t this been said publicly? How does mental health correlate with eating disorders? How can you cope with mental health issues during a pandemic? How has living through the pandemic increased mental health and eating disorders? 97 percent of individuals hospitalized for an eating disorder were also diagnosed with a mood disorder. Many people in New York City are not concerned about living a healthier lifestyle. In this documentary, we will present how mental health correlates with eating disorders.

The story first introduces mental health issues by showing its history. Then, we show how it evolved over the pandemic. The segments included are different perspectives from a healthcare professional and a mental health advocate, interviews from individuals with personal experiences with eating disorders and mental health diagnoses. We also feature anonymous stories and how social media has an effect on teen mental health. Within our film we profile our classmate, Dulce as she talks about her struggle with an eating disorder. We also created an anonymous survey so everyone can share their story as this topic is not often wanted to be disclosed. One of our interviewees is therapist Laura Van Wyk who also had a personal experience battling her own mental health issues. We present statistics on mental health for our audience to see how important this topic is.

When watching this documentary people will get a deeper understanding about how mental health correlates with eating disorders. People will know that they’re not alone and mental health should be normalized. Our hope is that this documentary helps others seek help for their mental health disorders. Eating disorders are a real life issue, and people can use this documentary as an example to find support. While this documentary is generally for everybody, it is mostly for teenagers who feel like they’ve been ignored, parents whose children have been struggling with eating disorders , and people who haven’t been through mental health issues to understand others who have. People are going to be interested in seeing this documentary because it includes personal stories and is created by students.

Our documentary film project focuses on the mental health challenges of living with an eating disorder and healing from it. We shine a spotlight on mental health issues during the pandemic directly connected to eating disorders. Informing people about eating disorders, teen mental health, and disparities in the medical community because of race, class and age are the major needs we address. Sharing vulnerable stories through various interviews including anonymous ones, along with self-reflection by our youth producers is how we documented perspectives on these challenges.

Our design process began with brainstorming trending topics and personal stories of interest. As a group we agreed to pick a topic we believe needs more light shed upon it. Then we chose the topic of mental health through pitching and democratically voting. Eating disorders are the specific mental/physical/emotional health challenge we ultimately decided to make this project about due to many of our fellow students’ personal experiences during the pandemic.

If we were to continue this documentary project we would expand it to a series. Profiling people and families in different cultures and religions about their views on eating disorders and negative stereotypes is how we would build upon our original film. We would also conduct in-depth surveys to show how many people go through these issues and collect more details on their experiences.

Project Media


Photo 1 Karen Interview
Photo 2 Valentina Anderson Dulce
Photo 4 Editing
Photo 3 Dylan Interview


More About this Project

The video link we have provided is our documentary project. The run time is under 20 minutes. The credits at the end of the film make the video over 2o minutes.

Below is information for the photos we provided:

The Featured Image: Sugar Coated film poster

Additional Photos:

  • In photo 1 you can see Karen conducting her first street interview spoken in Spanish at Washington Square Park.
  • In photo 2 you can see Valentina as the cameraperson, Dulce as the sound person and Anderson directing a street interview in Washington Square Park
  • In photo 3 you can see Dylan conducting an interview at Washington Square Park with Yarlin and Walfry behind the camera.
  • In photo 4 you can see Anderson and Valentina editing a street interview on Adobe Premiere.

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Community Feedback:

Great Design
Makes Me Think

Feedback from the Judges:

👏 Production assistant at Sikelia Production — Emoti-Con Judge
I really enjoyed this project. I love that the primary voice is very heavily accented, especially for the subject matter. I loved the information, most of which I did not know. Great information on how race has intersected with food health, or rather has been ignored. And I think it was a great idea to end on a higher note.

Being that the rest of the film is the way it is, the talking head interviews, the facts, the person on the street interviews, which are personal themselves, the personal story felt a little out of place compared to everything else, it felt more manufactured.

Amazing work!!

👏 Instructional technology director at NYCDOE — Emoti-Con Judge
This project is highly engaging, very well researched and deeply impacts the viewer. Your team has engaged in extensive research about this topic and does a great job of telling a compelling story, both statistically and narratively. Your process and purpose for this project are well documented. I would have loved to see closed captioning for the parts of the video where sound was not clear. And I am very curious about how your team came up with the title for the project and where this sugar coating is taking place. I really appreciate how your team thought about this project beyond the video and what you would do with it in the future! I truly hope this documentary inspires all who watch it to either seek help for mental illness if needed or choose to be an ally and supporters for those who may need help.

👏 Consultant / Engagement Manager at IBM — Emoti-Con Judge
Amazing work at tackling an incredibly challenging and sensitive topic. I am so impressed with the research and interviews that went into this documentary. Thank you for highlighting a topic that affects so many people and yet is still so stigmatized in getting help and treatment. Your documentary will help break down some of those barriers and engage the right people. Incredible work - you all should be so proud of what you put together!

👏 Program Coordinator at Mouse — Emoti-Con Judge
This documentary with lots of facts and historical background really taught me a lot! It is very informative and engaging. I'm amazed at the number of stories you all have recorded and put into the documentary. Having so much feedback from people of various backgrounds really makes the point that mental health is an issue for anyone around the world, not just a particular race or age.

There were a few times in the documentary where I wasn't sure if it's telling the impact of pandemic life on just eating disorders or mental health in general but I feel like your editing is wonderful in mixing both. What I took from the video included lots of new information about eating disorders and the possible ways to support someone who is going through this pain. I also felt that although you're here to inform people about eating disorders and the negative stereotypes that people have about them, your documentary does a good job highlighting the importance that physical and mental health is closely tied together -- you aren't really healthy if you're either just mentally or just physically healthy.

Feedback from the Community:

Jaynai 👏 a High School Student from Bronx, NY
I like the way you use the detail about the topic it really special.
👏 a Community Member
Amazing video!

Thank you for a record-breaking 14th anniversary event! Comments are officially closed until next year.