Trust: Second Acts in Young Lives

What happens in this teen theater company will amaze you.
Year Released
Film Length(s)
78 mins
Closed captioning available
Remote video URL


Trust: Second Acts in Young Lives is about creativity and the unexpected resources inside people you might discount because they are young, poor or of color. This award-winning film follows an 18 year-old Hondureña who, with the help of a troupe of immigrant teenage actors, courageously leaves behind the sexual and cultural violence of her past, and creates a bright future for herself. Trust is a story of resilience, a hopeful film about the intersection of community, storytelling and courage.

Featured review

An inspiring story about the transformative power of artistic creativity.
K. Fennessy
Video Librarian


Trust begins in a small theater as a group of teenage actors receive a standing ovation, then takes us back to the beginning, when Marlin, an 18-year-old Hondureña tells a traumatic story about her life to the company. Amazing things unfold as the young members of Chicago’s Albany Park Theater Project transform the story into a daring, original play. APTP is a neighborhood theater project located in one of America's most diverse communities, and is dedicated to helping young people reimagine their experiences on stage. Marlin’s is one of incredible struggle and pain, from enduring rape as young girl, to surviving a harrowing immigration to the U.S., to further abuse at the hands of her own brother, and finally to emancipation and overcoming substance addiction.

On a warm summer afternoon, Marlin sits in a circle with about 25 young APTP members, takes a deep breath and says “I don’t want you to remember me like this.” And then she begins. At age twelve, she was raped by two men in the bathroom of her grandmother’s church in Honduras. She told no one. Two years later, she immigrated with her older brother Carlos to live with their mother in Chicago, where Carlos repeatedly raped her. She didn’t resist – she felt she’d already lost everything – but keeping those secrets weighed heavily on her and she drank, took drugs, cut herself, ran away from home and attempted suicide. Her mother committed Marlin to a psychiatric hospital, where she spent nearly 200 nights. Finally she confided her secrets to a counselor who helped her and recommended the Albany Park Theater Project (APTP), a neighborhood teen theater company that creates original plays from members’ real life stories. TRUST follows Marlin and APTP as they take her story from the personal to the public and the APTP ensemble as they overcome their shame about the subject of rape and incest and invite family, friends, teachers, and classmates to see the play, Remember Me Like This, during its seven weekend run.

One young woman's bravery affects an entire community and helps bring to light an epidemic that is cross-economic, cross-cultural and found in every community.

The Trust DVD is not to be used in any situation where admission is charged, or for fundraising in any form without the explicit permission of the filmmakers and a separate financial agreement.


A compelling case for the power of youth theater to fortify adolescents with empathy, passion, sensitivity, and the kind of early wisdom today's young people must have to make the tough choices they face. May this splendid documentary be seen, talked about, taken to heart, and put into action by learners in schools and communities.
Shirley Brice Heath
Margery Bailey Professor of English and Dramatic Literature, Stanford University
This is the kind of arts education to celebrate.
Rick Ayers
Adjunct Professor of Education, University of San Francisco
If you want to inspire students of theatre, community activists, or anyone interested in basic human rights, or if you just want to be inspired yourself, see this film.
Robert Leonard
Associate Professor, Theatre Arts, Virginia Tech
A heartfelt film! Trust is a beautifully crafted documentary about the cathartic power of theatre to heal the trauma and shame of domestic violence and to empower youth to re-imagine their lives in the best light. The film perceptively captures how the project provides a nurturing environment where youth can build greater empathy and confidence. Given the current climate towards immigrants, the film helps us all gain a better appreciation of the significant challenges (and in some cases deep psychological wounds) experienced by immigrant youth. Yet, the film also shares brave narratives of triumph over adversity. The film provided a great platform for a meaningful dialogue between faculty, students and community and university-based violence prevention and victim assistance services--an inspiring model for us all!
Carlos A. Fernandez
Ph.D Director, Center for Latino Arts and Culture Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey
Trust powerfully and compassionately illustrates the impact of sharing in a safe place where no one is judged.
Trisha Meili
Author "I Am the Central Park Jogger"
Trust is a powerful film which provided an opportunity for a rich, meaningful conversation about resiliency, trauma, and identity.
Beth Yohe
Director of Training, National Education Division, Anti-Defamation League; White Privilege Conference
It's wonderful! How fantastic to watch trust evolve amidst all that diversity of ages, stages and roles. I thought the film was brilliant in showing community as a geological phenomenon, built up in layers, and needing to be tended with care, like a garden where every action and every choice is both creative and supportive of another creation. The quiet unfolding of the story within the worlds of the film and the theater conveyed clearly the time it takes for a seed (of art and community) to germinate, take root and flower.
Madge Bemiss
Americans for the Arts Annual Convention
We incorporated Trust into two programs recently. Twenty-eight members of our Youth 360 program (youth leadership/activist development) watched it as a group and had a discussion after. We also incorporated the film into a classroom curriculum this week at a high school, so the entire junior class watched it in small groups and then discussed. It was a great experience for us and we plan to repeat it again.
Sondra Miller
Vice President, Community Engagement, Cleveland Rape Crisis Center
It was amazing! We had to do some breathing and imagination to let go of the pain…with so many tears of compassion. It helped us to see the roots of justice problems and understand what we need to heal from trauma. It turns out, we need community! So it was very inspiring. Thanks for the production of this DVD.
Charito Calvachi-Mateyko
Co-Founder, Latino Initiative on Restorative Justice
I was blown away by the dramatic and compelling storytelling. The film explores some complex and emotional issues that have been tenderly but unblinkingly filmed. Utterly satisfying on every level. It's flat-out just a great movie!
University of Southern California School of Cinema

Awards and Screenings

National public television broadcast on America ReFramed
United Nations Association Film Festival- WINNER Youth Vision Award
Sebastopol Documentary Film Festival- WINNER Best Feature Doc
Reel Rasquache Art & Film Festival- WINNER Best Documentary Award
Cleveland International Film Festival
Mill Valley Film Festival
National Council of La Raza – Lideres Summit
National Children’s Alliance Leadership Conference
Southern Circuit – Tour of Independent Filmmakers
University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy
Nuestras Voce Conference
Americans for the Arts

Features and Languages

Film Features

  • Closed Captioning
  • Resources for Educators

Promotional Material

Promotional Stills

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