Stevenson’s 5000 Day Project Highlights Teens’ Struggles

Katie Jewell and Kaden Sanders

Rick Stevenson is a jack of many trades, a philosopher, a father, an author, and most importantly, a filmmaker. Stevenson was a speaker at SVHS’s recent Authors Day event where he took a different approach and instead of talking about himself, he showed it. Stevenson is the founder of the 5000 Day Project, a series of more than 5,000 films about different kids and teens walking through life and how they process the world around them. 

Stevenson’s biggest struggle with his interviewing endeavor is that he had to conquer his own anxiety. However, it was all worth it in the end as he now interviews young boys with mental health issues. This breaks the social norm of men and boys needing to suppress any ‘bad’ emotions.

Freshmen and seniors were invited to watch Stevenson’s presentation on a warm Friday afternoon. They were met with a short film, an interview with a young man named Christian who dealt with a drunk father, moving countries, and restrictions due to not being a legal US citizen.

From a young age, Christian recorded his feelings every day for years, constructing a memory hard drive. Throughout the video, audience members were able to see how he was affected when he learned his father was suicidal and how he was affected when he learned he couldn’t go to college or work due to not being a United States citizen.

He manages to use his childhood experiences as fuel for his life, he worked hard to get a work permit and attend college. However, although he was invited to live with his father in Mexico, he turned down the opportunity due to his college not allowing him to leave America.

Christian is now 28 years old and lives in Seattle. Stevenson uses his witty sense of humor to explain that Christian would definitely be the kind of person to tell his hypothetical kids, “Enjoy High School, it’s the best time of your life”.

Stevenson’s film career began as a 24-year-old, making his first feature film at Oxford starring none other than the young Hugh Grant.

Stevenson recall an impactful story about a young street boy named Luciano who at the age of 12, got cancer in his right eye. At 15 he was struck by a train and lost his right leg and arm, Luciano jokes that his “Left side is lucky.”