Episode: Nathan's Story
Teenage Sex and Fatherhood: Nathan's Story, a new KUED production premiering is an unflinching portrayal of a family created by circumstance and their struggle to stay together.
Nathan's Story follows Nathan Meier, a teenage father living in Salt Lake City, his wife, Jennifer, and their daughter Dakota through a tumultuous time when daily survival is difficult and the future is uncertain. Nathan is a young teen with dreams of being a filmmaker when he discovers he's gotten his girlfriend, Jennifer, pregnant. An aspiring artist and filmmaker, he worked with KUED producer Colleen Casto to create an intensely candid and compelling documentary revealing the trials and tribulations faced by the often-overlooked teen father.
"Most often, the problems of teenage pregnancy are examined through the eyes of the mother," says Casto. "But what does a young father go through? How does he survive? When a young man finds himself in this situation, there are virtually no social programs to help him. He must learn to be a father and husband quickly, most often on his own."
The one-hour documentary chronicles Nathan's life from dating Jennifer to changing Dakota's diapers, and gives the gritty truth about the compromises and sacrifices teenage parents must make every day. Nathan and Jennifer offer unrestricted access to their personal journey, sharing their thoughts and frustrations as they cope with the pressures of having a new baby, a marriage, and the strain created by their own unfulfilled dreams and ambitions.
Although their life together is not easy, Nathan's Story is also a tale of survival. Nathan emerges as a teenage father who adapts to survive, and, more importantly, as a man who must hold onto his dreams in order to succeed.
Community Affairs Producer Colleen Casto (No Safe Place, Friends and Neighbors) decided to take a cinema verite approach to the film, incorporating Nathan's own footage, to reveal an intimate portrait of the young couple's life. "Nathan is an exceptional young man and filmmaker," she says. "KUED is grateful that he and Jennifer were willing to share their lives with us in order to create this important documentary."
In cooperation with the Utah State Office of Education, KUED is producing a shortened version of the program for distribution to Utah high school health teachers.
"Nathan, Jen, and my entire crew were totally devoted to this project," says Casto. "Having them work with me made it happen. Because of the style of shooting and the nature of the film, we had to work as a tight team. The crew included Liz Southwell as the associate producer; Gary Turnier, cinematographer; Kevin Sweet, sound; Duane Dotterer, editor; and Erik Nielsen, grip. Their sensitivity was crucial to putting everyone at ease."