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Film, TV and Streaming

Sydney Spies comes home for festival visit

Sydney Spies, right, and her mother, Miki, appear in Darryl Roberts’ feature documentary “America the Beautiful 3: The Sexualization of America’s Youth.” A segment in the film chronicles Sydney Spies’ 2012 ordeal over the photo she submitted for the Durango High School yearbook.

It won’t show up in this year’s program, but one of Durango’s own appears in a feature documentary made by Chicago filmmaker Darryl Roberts. The film is included in Durango Film: An Independent Film Festival.

Sydney Spies, who made national headlines two years ago when her Durango High School yearbook photo infamously was rejected, and her mother, Miki, appear in Roberts’ “America the Beautiful 3: The Sexualization of America’s Youth.” The Spies’ segment is part of Roberts’ larger look at how young girls are portrayed and exploited through child beauty pageants, pornography and advertising.

In Spies’ segment, she recounts the firestorm that led to her story becoming the most-read online article in The Durango Herald’s history as well as numerous appearances on national television. In 2012, she moved to Southern California, where she tried her hand at acting and modeling, and her mother followed her west about a year later.

Sydney confirmed in an email that she has submitted photographs to Playboy magazine that will appear in an upcoming issue, though at the time the film was made she had decided against it, and stated as much in her segment. She explained her change of heart in an email to the Herald.

“Everyone is exquisite, every woman is beautiful, bodies are beautiful, and we let people make our beauty into a bad thing. My entire life, I was told by adults (aside from my parents who have supported me through everything) that I couldn’t wear what I wanted, and I couldn’t act a certain way, it was inappropriate, and what I don’t understand is why people make our bodies, sex, expression, into such a bad thing. It’s all natural, it’s real, it’s captivating. If I want the entire world to see my body, then I can, and I will do whatever I want, this is my life.”

Spies and Roberts will hold a Q&A session after both screenings of the film.

“America the Beautiful 3: The Sexualization of America’s Youth” will screen at 3 p.m. today and 9 p.m. Saturday at the Gaslight Cinema.

Feb 27, 2014
Film festival in ‘High’ gear

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