The Peers Influence Peers has produced fifteen original dramas. These student written stories are part of the annual "Peers Influence Peers" Spring broadcasts. Our Vice-President, Buck Heller, was the director for most of these dramas. Patricia Cassio and Stephen Velichko worked with the student writers on all the scripts. We have been very fortunate to have the assistance of Edward Catapano, our Tecnical Advisor from Putnam Northern Westchester BOCES Communications Acadmey, Brook Jones and Josh Heller of Next Millennium Productions and our mentor extraordinaire, Victor Milt of InterActive Publishing in the production of these pieces.

Below is information about each of our dramas and clips of a scene from each. Our dramas and documentaries are for sale on Amazon.com

Violet Mind (2016) - Dating violence affects millions of young people every year. Very often they are trapped in a relationship they know isn't good for them, but don't know how to end it. Violet Mind is an original screenplay by Carmel High School senior Josephine Gasperi that takes a look at this dilemma too many high school girls face. 1 in every 4 high school girls will suffer some kind of abuse before they receive their high school diploma. Another Carmel senior, Leigh Kilgus plays the lead and Peers alumni, Matt Rush, plays her older boyfriend. Jo also directed the film. Providing help on the production and playing a supportive roll was N'Dea Tucker. John Knox and Peter Clarke took up the responsibilities behind the camera. All, except Matt, are seniors at Carmel High School.

Zoe (2016) - Suicide is the third leading cause of teen death. Zoe is an original screenplay written by Jacey Ferraro a freshman at Putnam Valley High School. The film takes a look at the signs that are so often missed when someone is contemplating suicide. A part of the film that bookends the screenplay is an interview with Dr. Ray Capolla, a clinical psychologist conducted by Senior and student President of Peers, Courtney Powe. Jacey also plays the lead character and Michael Bentkowski, a senior at Haldane High School, plays her boyfriend. Rounding out the principal cast Rebecca Gore of Haldane, Annie Gegritchiani, Ana Melikidze both of Mahopac and Putnam Valley students Robert Velichko, Tim Chizzik, Jacob Cooperman and Peers alumni Ryan Moynihan. The crew consisted of Putnam Valley freshman in their first effort Andrew Hard, Joshua Uchetel and Peers alumni Robert Lovett.

Crossroads (2015) - The Peers Partnership program that met weekly at the Spain Memorial Park produced an ambitious effort addressing the consequences of bad decisions concerning alcohol use. The group, which consisted of students from Carmel, Mahopac and Lakeland produced a 24 minute film.Witten by Stephen Velichko using inputs form the students ,We starting filming on May 19th, finished on June 10th and premiere the film on June 11th. A crazy schedule! The cast were all new to film acting and worked hard to under very trying circumstances. With the help of the Mahopac Falls Volunteer Fire Dept., the Putnam County Sheriff's Dept. and Stillwater Auto Body the students produced a very dramatic film.

Familiar Faces (2015) -  the PV Peers group took on a very ambitious project, a 44 minute film, "Familiar Faces." They started filming on April 12th and premiered the film May 7! We completed filming 13 scenes in one day! Although, we are not all that happy with how some scenes turned out, we must say the actors and crew stepped up in a big way. Sometimes the actors got the script minutes before filming and did an amazing job! Special thanks to Nicholas Thomas who did a great job playing the abuse father.The crew operated on a very tight schedule and shorthanded but some of the work is actually stunning, some not so great.

Shadows (2015) - This 10 minute narrative film that looks at dating abuse was written by Lakeland HS senior Samantha V. Samantha also served as second Director and as a Producer.. The cast and crew did a great job. Cudos to Rob, Kyle, Samantha B. and Sofia for an outstanding job.

Fine Lines (2012) - Benjamin and Carla have been friends since early childhood. Benjamin suffers from Autism. Carla, a senior in high school, suffers from stress perhaps from everyday life or perhaps from her addiction to "vikes." This Telly Award winning original screenplay was aired May 16, 2012 on cable community access and public broadcast station to over 60 million homes.The lead character, Benjamin, is played by Stephen Velichko who also wrote the screenplay, was the assistant editor and Assistant Director. Shelley Sperling played the role of carla in her third feature for Peers.

Take It or Leave It (2011) - (aka What We Worry About) The screenplay was written by Peers graduate Margaret Welch. Teens will worry about many things including grades, their future, college, the economy, fitting in socially, and parent expectations. That's okay, these are things they should be focused on. They also worry about things that shouldn't be on their plate; bullying, violence, and drug and alcohol use. Follow the lives of seven teenagers who are part of a group counseling session. The issues they face are what our youth see every day. Brian is an alcoholic, Jane drinks as well, Sharon comes from a home with an abusive father and is a "cutter", Michael is Gay, bullied and attempts suicide, Randy is a bully, Jane a meth addict and Suzanne abuses prescription drugs. This was our first hour long drama. We had an outstanding cast under the direction of Buck Heller. "Take It or Leave It" recently was awarded a Bronze Telly Award.

Through Their Eyes (2010) - The screenplay was written by Peers graduate Margaret Welch. Margaret was also the chief camera person. This story follows the lives of three people who are dealing with the sometime tragic consequences of dating and domestic violence. This is a new issue for Peers and everyone was motivated to do it justice. This was the finest cast we have ever worked with.

The Nothingness Company (2008) - The screenplay was written by Peers graduate and graduate of SUNY Purchase, Samantha Sklaar and directed by another former Peers member, Jeremy Redleaf. The story follows the lives of three high school seniors and how each girl's decisions affects their life and those around them. The camera work was done by Margaret Welch. Asked to make the show have the look of popular TV series "Friday Night Lights" Margaret, under the direction of our Technical Advisor and Director of Photography, Edward Catapano, nailed it! "The Nothingness Company" recently was awarded a Gold Aurora Award.

Pure Choice (2007) - This project was written, filmed, directed and edited by a very talented New Zealand film student, Reece Baker. Pure Choice addresses the disastrous effects of Methamphetamine use on a young man and his family. Reece was the recipiant of "Most Promising Young Filmmaker" Recognition by the Action/Cut Short Film Competition for this effort.

Nod and Smile (2006)- In response to calls for better education and information in the wake of the recent series of student suicides at New York University, Alex Rivera, an NYU film student, has proposed a video production addressing those issues. As a participant in Peers as a high school student, Rivera felt the highly effective student-to-student approach used in Peers programs would be an ideal medium for this topic. Rivera and his fellow students from NYU renowned Tisch School of the Arts, wrote, produced, edited and appeared in the production. They probed the reasons for and responses to college student signs of depression and campus suicides.

A Perfect Senior Year (2005) - The winner of the 2006 Houston Film Festival Silver Remi Award. This story was written by Jesse, a junior at Putnam Valley High School in 2004. It was based upon an actual incident that occurred in a local community. The story looks at Mike, the main character, whose choices and actions have tragic consequences. Through the intercession of the family priest he comes to grips with his responsibilities. This is our longest drama lasting 40 minutes. First aired on "Peers Influence Peers XI", April 2005. Anthony J. Cassio wrote the musical score. Webcast available at SAMHSA National Clearinghouse for Alcohol and Drug Information.

My Name is Amber (2003)- The winner of the 2004 Houston Film Festival Gold Remi Award. Ray Roy and Ryan Crimmins wrote the screenplay for this 30-minute drama. The self-centered Amber finds her life crashing around her due the tragic death of her boyfriend, Jonah. Again, the intervention of good friends leads Amber to seek professional help. The program deals with the signs of depression in teens and how to recognize them. Much research went into this effort to assure an accurate portrayal. Special thanks to Josh Heller of Next Millennium for his technical assistance and to Mike Lee and Tony Disera who wrote the musical score. First aired on "Peers Influence Peers IX", April 2003.

I'll Be Your Shelter (2001)- The winner of the 2002 Houston Film Festival Silver Remi Award. The title of this thirty-minute drama is the title of an original song written and performed by one of the most talented members that Peers Partnership ever had, Ray Roy. Jeremy Redleaf, an incredible talent in his own right and a most important member assisted Ray vocally for the title track. The story treats the breakdown of a family due to an impending divorce and the effects on young Eric. Through the intercession of friends he seeks counseling. Gerry Micera wrote the musical score. First aired on "Peers Influence Peers VII", April 2001.


Just One Night (2000)- Our first thirty minute drama was the winner of the 2001 Houston Film Festival Silver Remi Award. "Just One Night" was inspired by an actual event. It shows the possible consequences to family and friends of just one bad decision made one fateful night. The script was organized by screenwriter Randy Easterbrook and the students wrote the dialogue. Much was improved at the time of shooting. The powerful performances of the students and adults make this an especially moving drama. We shot the majority of this during winter break with cast and crew putting in over 100 hours of work that week. Special thanks goes to Brook Jones who as our technical advisor helped to mold our student production crew into a real professional unit. Thanks must also be given to our director's wife, Caroline Heller, who played the role of the mother in such a powerful way and to Ryan Odell wrote who the powerfull musical score. First aired on "Peers Influence Peers VI", April 2000.