The Power of Art

At Loudspeaker Films, we strongly believe in the power of art to open eyes, expand thought and, sometimes, reveal truth in visceral ways that are not always easy to target or define. While our films document issues, stories and facts, we use art (visual metaphors, cinematography, the score and sound design, etc.) to build the human connection to and emotional pull of those issues, stories and facts.

Today we joined millions of other viewers mesmerized by a different but related kind of audio visual work -- a music video by Childish Gambino (aka Donald Glover) -- that alludes to issues, stories, facts and history within a fully-imagined work of art that is at once like a series of paintings and a novel that requires (and is getting) close reading. The choreography by Sherrie Silver -- which uses facial expression as strongly as any body movement -- is itself worth watching many times. 

This is the power of art at work. 


Must watch:

"This is America" by Childish Gambino Director: Hiro Murai Producer: Doomsday with Ibra Ake and Fam Rothstein of Wolf + Rothstein tour tickets and merchandise available at

TEACHED Update Apr. 21, 2017

TEACHED Update Apr. 21, 2017
April 21, 2017
  Attention College Students, Faculty & Library Members!
Did you know that all five TEACHED films are now available on ?

Over 3,000 colleges, universities and libraries now provide free  online access to our films through Kanopy .

From the first three films comprising TEACHED Vol. I (The Path to Prison, The Blame Game and Unchartered Territory) to our two latest releases,  Code Oakland and Think of Calvin , Kanopy users can now access all films of the TEACHED series to foster thoughtful discussion in classrooms, on campus or in the community. 
TEQWeek Launch
Sold out! We are so excited to be a part of Tech Equity Week (#TEQWeek) with a screening of  Code Oakland tonight at the Kapor Center for Social Impact.

Organized by local teacher and CODEd Academy founder Kennan Scott, this awesome event will include a robot demo, the film screening, and a panel discussion including Director Kelly Amis and two of Code Oakland's amazing youth stars, Isaiah Martin and Sasha Williams

#TEQWeek was founded and launched in Oakland by Qeyno Labs and the Rainbow Push Coalition; this year it has expanded to  five cities. Get more info here, and join us in congratulating Kalimah Priforce (the inspiration behind Code Oakland), Kelley Nayo Jahi and the entire Qeyno team on their success. 
'Stop & Frisk' Nationwide?
During last fall's election campaign, now- President Donald Trump said he would call for a nationwide Stop-and-Frisk policy. We could not be more opposed to the concept. Stop-and-Frisk is racial profiling pure and simple. It is harassment based solely on skin color.

As you may know, our short film Think of Calvin shows an example of this injustice in action. Previewed at The Atlantic's Race & Justice Summit (watch here on CSPAN) and recently winning Best Short Documentary at the Napa Valley Film Festival, Think of Calvin shows how an entire family is impacted by an attempted stop-and-frisk in the nation's capitol. 

If you're interested in hosting a screening and discussion of Think of Calvin, please contact us at or go to our website to get started. We think this conversation needs to happen now
Posted on April 21, 2017 .

Tech Equity Week & Code Oakland

We are SO excited to be a part of Tech Equity Week, which was founded by Qeyno Labs in partnership with the Rainbow PUSH Coalition. Qeyno Labs was founded by Kalimah Priforce, who was the inspiration behind, and is the star of, our short film Code Oakland (watch the trailer here!).

Qeyno is organizing and delivering high-impact hackathons for young people across the United States while helping to put Oakland on the map as the place where technology, transformation and social justice meet.  Yeah, it's cool.

This Friday, we are screening Code Oakland at the Kapor Center (a great philanthropic supporter of tech equity) thanks to local teacher and CodEDAcademy founder Kennan Scott.  You may ask, how did a teacher find time to organize this event? WE DO NOT KNOW. But we greatly appreciate being a part of it! And guess what else....

There will be robot technology. There will be dinner. And two of the youth tech/film stars of Code Oakland (Isaiah Martin and Sasha Williams, who are AMAZING) will join the panel discussion after the screening along with Kennan and film director Kelly Amis.

Register for this free event HERE and let us know if you attend!

TEACHED Update Feb. 23, 2017

TEACHED Update Feb. 23, 2017
February 23, 2017
  Social Justice + Impact Media
We would like to extend thanks and gratitude to Oakland-based  Saybrook University, which featured the TEACHED films at its recent conference in Monterey, CA.

Director  Kelly Amis, a Presidential Fellow at Saybrook, presented “Changing the Lens on African American Boys: Using Digital & Social Media to Educate, Enlighten and Inspire,” which included screenings of  Code OaklandThink of Calvin, The Path to Prison and several  On the Loudspeaker interviews as part of a Social Justice Film Series organized by fellow Fellow (ahem) and frequent TEACHED cinematographer and editor ShakaJamal Redmond

FYI Saybrook has launched a cool new Master's degree in  Social Impact Media. Check it out. 
A Student's Story
Many students face challenges in their outside-school world that may be unknown to their teachers, compounding isolation and depression they might experience. And sometimes the challenges they face are within the school. 

One young man, our intern and now-college student Zachary Dorcinville, has shares both experiences in these two brave  Education Post articles. Meeting Zachary today, you may not guess the struggles he has survived, which is a good reminder to us all of the deep potential that lies within every young person. 
On the Festival Circuit
Our most recent short film Think of Calvin seems to be hitting a nerve; it hasn't gotten into a ton of festivals, but the ones that "get" it, really get it (it won Best Short Documentary at the Napa Valley Film Festival, 2nd place overall at the Uptown Short Film Festival and, recently a Humanitarian Award from Best Short Docs). 

The issue is racial profiling, specifically an instance of "Stop-and-Frisk," which turns an entire family upside down. We are proud that this eye-opening, hard-hitting film will next be shown at the acclaimed  Dingle Film Festival in County Kerry, Ireland and at the upcoming Vail Film Festival.
Your TEACHED Cheat Sheet 
It's amazing to think that in the few short years since we started producing TEACHED, the need to make the requisite DVD for each film is being replaced by many new online platforms and formats. 

To make sure you know the different ways to watch or screen the TEACHED films (in addition to purchasing DVDs), we posted this "cheat sheet." Have ideas where you'd like to see TEACHED? Send them to

Where to Get TEACHED

There are now quite a few ways to watch or screen the TEACHED short films, so we thought we'd make a quick list to make sure you are maximizing the options, most of which are very low-cost if not free (we want everyone to be able to access these films). Also be sure to sign up for our mailing list (on the home page) to get news about new films and screening dates.

THE WHERE-TO-GET-TEACHED CHEAT SHEET (try to say that ten times real fast!)

Online Streaming:

  • KANOPY. Over 3,000 universities, colleges and libraries subscribe to this awesome service, which makes viewing FREE for their students, professors and members. 
  • VIMEO-ON-DEMAND. We love Vimeo for its high-quality content and presentation. You can rent or buy the TEACHED films here to stream any time without ads. 


  • TEACHED VOL. I (The Path to Prison, The Blame Game and Unchartered Territory) and the short film Code Oakland are available on DVD. Go here.

Host a Screening:

  • ll five of the current TEACHED short films are available for screening at events, your workplace, faith-based institutions, etc. Go here to get started.

Attend a Screening:

  • Keep an eye out for our presence at film festivals (around the world!) and at conferences and special events on our find a screening page.

Reflecting on the Election

By TEACHED intern Zachary Dorcinville

When President Obama was elected back in 2008, I was elated because I had a feeling that our country was entering a brand new era in which equality would be a priority. Fast forward to 2016, and it's a totally different ball game.

Georgetown Gets TEACHED

We are thrilled to announce a premiere event coming up on November 17th at Georgetown University in partnership with Georgetown's Prisons and Justice Initiative and its Film and Media Studies Program. 

Why I'm Calling the NAACP Today

If you've had or have a child in a charter school, or otherwise support them, you might consider calling the NAACP today to tell them you oppose the moratorium on charter schools that they are considering this Saturday. The number is 202-759-6227.

I'm sure our TEACHED friends and supporters represent many different views on charter schools, but for those of you who have seen the positive systemic change they can bring about (as in Washington, DC), or who have seen a child's or entire family's lives changed from having more choices than their assigned neighborhood schools, please consider calling the NAACP to say so.

When Will We Modernize How We Treat Each Other?

Reading that at least 136 black people have been killed by police officers in 2016 (so far), and that 306 were killed at the hands of law enforcement last year, this gives me a sensation of fear and agony in my soul. The United States Constitution speaks of "We The People" and I believe our country stands for the notion that we, all people, every citizen, will be granted equal rights disregarding race or gender. 

The Effect of the Uptown Film Festival

     By TEACHED intern Zachary Dorcinville

Justice, self-healing, and cultural expression were some of the main themes along with many others presented at the inaugural Uptown Short Film Festival last month in Harlem, NYC. I walked into the theater with my expectations through the roof, however they were still shattered by the impactful vibe of all of the films.

One of the short documentary films centered around a woman who was sexually molested as a child and terrified of being involved in a relationship ever since. In search of a solution for her chronic depression and anxiety, Anita Kopacz turned to alternative therapeutic interventions and self expression, conquering fear and opening herself up to healing. This film sent a strong message to others who have been in a similar circumstance.

The film that left the biggest mark on me however was "Think of Calvin", a short film by Loudspeaker Films' Kelly Amis about the harsh reality of racial profiling for African Americans (you can watch the trailer here). As the film progressed, I was easily able to identify with the crowd which was mesmerized by the provocative and surprising story. As facts were presented at the end of the film, there was a chilling effect felt throughout the crowd, me included. Film director Kelly Amis received a well deserved second place trophy at the end of the festival, and as an intern I was honored to walk up and congratulate her in a big moment.

 From left, Michelle Thomas, Angelica Flowers, Kelly Amis and Zachary Dorcinville.

From left, Michelle Thomas, Angelica Flowers, Kelly Amis and Zachary Dorcinville.

TEACHED Update: April 19, 2016

April 19, 2016

On the Loudspeaker: David Johns

Growing up in Inglewood, CA, David Johns had to travel hours by bus each day to access public schools that would expect and provide the means for him to excel academically. 

DJ and KA 1.png

Now, as President Barack Obama's pick to lead the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for African Americans, David's mission is to help ensure that all students have access to high-quality schools, whatever their zip code or genetic code. 

We got to follow Mr. Johns to several inspiring events in Washington, DC for this latest addition to our On the Loudspeaker interview series. Don't miss a word in the video here.


#CodeOakland @ASU-GSV

We're sharing some "Oaklandish" thinking at theASU-GSV Summit in San Diego this week, where Loudspeaker Films' Founder Kelly Amis will do a Q&A after a screening of our award-winning short film Code Oakland (at 3:00 pm on Wednesday). 

This huge annual event brings together a multitude of innovators, entrepreneurs, educators and othersto discuss, debate and shape the future of education and technology. Check out the impressive list of speakers, which includes Bill GatesCommonSal Khan and one of Code Oakland's stars, Kimberly Bryant.

Code Oakland addresses lack of diversity within the tech sector and shows how Bay Area social entrepreneurs are working to change that by preparing students of color to not just join but become leaders of the tech industry. Watch the trailer here

Tickets for this conference are sold-out, but consider organizing your own screening of Code Oakland and tackling tech equity in your community. 


Oakland International Film Festival

The Loudspeaker team was honored to celebrate the West Coast Premiere of the newest TEACHEDshort film Think of Calvin in our home base of Oakland, CA at the 14th Oakland International Film Festival.

Think of Calvin was filmed in Washington, DC but much of its post-production talent is from Oakland: Editor ShakaJamal, Outreach Coordinator Fatima Nasiyr, and Composer Kev Choice all helped finish this provocative film about one family's encounter with racial profiling and its aftermath.

A whirlwind week of entertainment and activities accompanied the festival, with a highlight being a discussion of Oakland's nationally recognized work around African American Male Achievement,with OUSD's Chris Chatmon and Code Oaklandteen film star Isaiah Martin joining filmmakers on stage.

Watch the Think of Calvin trailer here. And click below to see photos from this amazing week. 


Uptown Film Festival

Next up: Think of Calvin will be featured at Uptown Magazine's first annual Uptown Short Film Festival. This film festival, set in the heart of Harlem, NY will showcase work from a diverse group of up-and-coming filmmakers from around the world.

If you are in New York, please join us May 13-15 for the East Coast premiere of Think of Calvinand a chance to meet Director Kelly Amis. As you may know, Think of Calvin was previewed last fall at the Atlantic's Race & Justice Summit; you can watch the extended clip and the panel discussion on C-Span here.



Want to host a screening? Contact Outreach Coordinator Fatima Nasiyr at


March 22, 2016

We ♥ Oakland! Last year, Loudspeaker Films moved its headquarters to Oakland, one of the most diverse and progressive cities in America. And many great things have happened since...


Oakland International Film Festival

We are honored to be featured at the Oakland International Film Festival again this year for the West Coast premiere of Think of Calvin, our newest short film.

If you're in the Bay Area, please join us at the Grand Lake Theater on April 7th (tickets here) as we share this story of one family's encounter with racial profiling and its aftermath. 

Talented locals, filmmaker Shaka Jamal (right)and musician Kev Choice, both worked on Think of Calvinwith Kev's original song Blues for Blueford bringing new meaning to the film's score. Check out Kev's music here and Shaka's film work here.

The Oakland Festival will also feature an encore screening of Code Oakland at Impact Hub onApril 8th (tickets here). Director Kelly Amis will join OUSD's Chris Chatmon and Calculus Roundtable's Jim Hollis in a panel discussion after the film program. 



Meeting Code Oakland

Hack Reactor has organized the first Meet-upscreening of Code Oakland on Monday, March 28 at its office in San Francisco at 6:30pm. If you go, please post a pic (Twitter: @TEACHED)! Want to host your own Code Oakland film screening? Go HERE. Thanks Hack Reactor!



#CodeOakland @ #ASU-GSV

We will be taking some Oaklandish thinking to the ASU-GSV Summit this year, a conference that brings together a multitude of innovators, entrepreneurs, policy makers, educators and otherleaders to discuss and shape the future of technology and learning.

Director Kelly Amis will present Code Oakland at the summit, followed by a Q&A that will focus on how Bay Area social entrepreneurs are changing the face and future of technology...and why more companies should prioritize diversity from day one.




Inaugural Tech Equity Week

Kalimah Priforce (below), founder of Qeyno Labs and the inspiration behind Code Oakland, recently launched Tech Equity Week(#TEQWeek) to address equality and diversity within the tech industry.

We were honored to screen Code Oakland at theTech Equity Week Commencement Gala, with local luminaries Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf,Oakland Digital's Shaun Tai and our fave all-girl band, Sisters Keeper taking the stage!

The packed house honored Mitch and Freada Kapor, whose Center for Social Impact has done so much to support inclusivity in the tech sector.

Read more about Tech Equity Week in thisUSAToday article. For a crash course on these issues, watch our Oakland Youth Tech Expert Panel, who explains them better than anyone.



Want to host a screening? Contact Outreach Coordinator Fatima Nasiyr at

TEACHED on Vimeo-on-Demand!

We are happy to announce that our first three short films, TEACHED Vol. I, are now available for streaming on Vimeo-on-Demand!  We made these films because we believe that more people need to understand how and why we still have a race-based "achievement gap" in the U.S. More people to understand the consequences of inaction especially for low-income urban youth who are hit hard by our failure to provide every student with an excellent educational experience.