After its debut season, America has come to know the fearlessly inquisitive Andrew Jenks — the NYU film school grad at the center of MTV’s “World of Jenks.” Over the course of his show’s 12 episodes, on a quest to better understand what it’s like to live the life of everyday human beings, Jenks shadowed rapper [artist id=”1595900″]Maino[/artist], a homeless street dweller, an NFL cheerleader, mixed martial arts fighter Anthony “Showtime” Pettis and a young man living with autism.
As Sunday brings the 10th anniversary of the September 11 attacks, Jenks has taken it upon himself to better understand just how Millennials remember that historic day in American history by creating a roughly 5-minute online film titled “Millennials Will Never Forget” that, among other things, touches on how young Americans can harness the lessons learned from the ordeal.
“9/11 is a day that is stamped into all of our lives, and something that none of us will forget,” Jenks told MTV News on Friday (September 9). “I was trying to think of a concept that would really bring us back to that day and give us time to reflect, and then from there, see what we can do to change.
“Something that we really learned from that day was that Americans have an uncanny ability to do anything that it takes to help a neighbor out, and I feel like that’s something that we have started to lose a little bit in the last 10 years,” he added. “I was really curious to hear what young people my age would say.”
The film, inspired by the motifs and structures of Academy Award-winning filmmaker Errol Morris, is a thought-provoking short film of human discovery and is comprised of back-to-back testimonials of 12 Generation Yers, young Americans who witnessed the events of 9/11 and the uniting spirit that brought, and still can bring, the country together.
“When I talked to people about 9/11, there’s a sense that, ’We’re all neighbors. We’re all friends. We’re all civil.’ And it doesn’t take a lot of looking around to see that now, 10 years later, that doesn’t exist,” Jenks said.
“Just look at what’s going on in Washington: the bickering and the disrespect. It’s really discouraging. And that’s what I hope this video does: I hope that it gets around to a lot of young people so that they can see and remember that day when we were so passionate about helping each other, and using that day almost as an advantage to what we can do every day to change the world, as cheesy as that may sound,” he added.
Over the course of the effort, Jenks concluded that, as Millennials, this young generation of Americans has an added advantage over their parents: Social media has documented virtually all of their lives. To learn from the past has never been easier than it is today.
“We have archived our lives through Facebook and Twitter, blogs, email, text,” he said. “We can literally go back five years and look at what we were doing on a daily basis, and I think there’s a lot that can come from that. We have the chance to really look back and reflect in an accurate way. In turn, we can really make sense of it and see what we can do to make the world a better place.”