Kings Park residents can support the hamlet’s “In the Know” student film festival this year -- with their trash.
Leteri Waste Management has agreed to recycle cans and bottles and donate the proceeds to the film festival, which features high school student-produced short films that speak out against destructive decisions.
“It’s a better life without drugs,” said Tony Leteri, owner of the waste management company.
That’s the message Leteri has been giving since he founded Kings Park In The Know in 2006. That year, two of his daughters’ cell phones were stolen from their classroom at Kings Park High School. Leteri said when he complained to the school he was told there had been multiple thefts that could have been related to drug use.
The In the Know board of directors started the festival last year as a way of giving students a more hands-on approach to prevention. The event, at 7 p.m. May 6 in the Kings Park High School auditorium, will boast an Academy Awards atmosphere, with giant Oscar-like statues and a red carpet.
“It’s a way of getting the kids involved with anti-destructive decisions,” said Tony’s wife, Maria Leteri, who is spearheading the festival. “When the students start doing it [producing videos] or seeing their friends they’ll think twice about the decision.”
Last year’s festival had 35 entries, with an average of three students on each production team, that covered such topics as drunken driving, "sexting" and bullying.
The film festival costs about $1,000 to run. Tony Leteri said he’s been pleasantly surprised by residents bringing bags of bottles and cans to his business. He’s raised nearly $60 since Jan. 1, the equivalent of 1,200 cans and bottles, from Kings Park residents. People can bring cans all year long to Leteri Waste, at 499 Lawrence Rd., Kings Park.
In The Know also collects donations from local businesses, residents and parents. Anyone wishing to donate can contact Leteri Waste Management at 631-368-5533.
Winning films are awarded a plaque by the Suffolk County Police Department, and each producer is awarded a $50 American Express Gift Card. Kings Park High School students interested in participating should contact Jamie Bula, the high school video teacher. Each entry must be a 30-second to 3-minute school-appropriate film that illustrates the dangers of destructive decisions. All entries are due by April 26.
For information about Kings Park In The Know, go to kpintheknow.org.