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Nobody Ever Said The Teen Years Were Easy

Never mind how much influence teenagers have on what goes on at your local megaplex every weekend. Can they ever really recognize themselves on screen when they go?
Just how tough ARE the teen years anyway? And just what does the everyday life of today's teenagers look like?
Good questions all. And they're among those answered by Buffalo native daughter Nanette Burstein in her popular documentary "American Teen," which was something of a smash hit at the Sundance Film Festival and opens in her hometown Friday.

It's the 38-year old Burstein's third documentary film to be something of a phenomenon in a career that started strong and keeps getting stronger. Her first, with co-director Brett Morgen, was "On the Ropes" for which she was nominated for an Oscar. Her second with Morgen was a film of producer Robert Evans' memoir "The Kids Stays in the Picture"  and was noticed even more.

"American Teen," though, has become a pop phenomenon.
On the cover of today's Spotlight section, I've interviewed the 38-year old Burstein and Anne Neville has interviewed members of her film's audience--teenagers and their parents who were at a promotional screening of the film. She got their all-important take on how well Burstein succeeded in her portrait.
We welcome any and all observations about one of this year's more surprising movie hits.
--Jeff Simon

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