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!
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!)
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
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'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 Gates, Common, Sal 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
Some of the highlights from the TEACHED film series in 2015 include:
An Interview with DeRay Mckesson
New Team Members
The Atlantic's Race & Justice Summit
Sharing the Code of Oakland
Introducing the Future of Tech
On Nov. 12th, 2015, we will show preview clips from our upcoming short film "Think of Calvin" at a tremendous Race & Justice Summit in Washington, DC being organized by the Atlantic magazine's Atlantic Live program and featuring Atlantic correspondent and author Ta-Nehisi Coates. TEACHED Producer/Director Kelly Amis will speak at the event. To register, go here.
We are SEEKING a TECH ANGEL! Are you a savvy html coder & website developer looking for a way to contribute to social justice and race equality? We need a new "tech angel" to provide 3-5 hours per month helping us with email updates & press releases (on Vertical Response) and website improvements (Squarespace and Wix). Must know code (we'll write the content)! Our websites our TEACHED.org and LoudspeakerFilms.com.
Don't miss the latest! Oakland Youth Challenge Silicon Valley, Code Oakland receives awards, upcoming film festival screenings, and more.
NOT ON OUR MAILING LIST? Join on the side bar (to the right and down).
We are honored that our latest short film Code Oakland (the first to be released for TEACHED Vol. II) will be playing this weekend at the San Francisco Black Film Festival. Check out our beautiful film page on the SFBFF site HERE. Producer/Director Kelly Amis will join other filmmakers for a Q&A after the screening.
For tickets, go HERE.
Thanks to React to Film, NYCAN & its Exec. Director Derrell Bradford, the Museum of the Moving Image and the staff of Loudspeaker Films, we had a fantastic premiere screening of Code Oakland in NYC. Read the details here, the press release here and watch the student presentation and panel discussion HERE.
Our Producer/Director Kelly Amis and Code Oakland film star Kalimah Priforce also got to join React to Film in ringing the Nasdaq bell! Thank you to React to Film founders Dennis and Coralie Dennis for this amazing opportunity.
TEACHED VOLUME I
1. THE PATH TO PRISON
The United States now bears the ominous title of being the world's most prolific jailer: with only 5% of the population, we represent 25% of the incarcerated. The vast majority of our prisoners are functionally illiterate—even if they went to school—and an inordinate number of them are people of color. In The Path to Prison, a former gang-member and felon from South Central Los Angeles shares his own path, helping us understand how so many capable and intelligent young men—especially African-American males like him—end up uneducated and behind bars in the 'home of the free.' (8 min.) Featuring: Jerone Shell
2. THE BLAME GAME
The discourse around education reform—especially on issues involving teachers—lacks nuance, thoughtfulness and, often, commonsense. Political rhetoric is distracting from efforts to improve teacher quality, especially in schools serving urban, minority children. It has become virtually impossible to fire a teacher in America, and when incompetent, absent or even abusive teachers can’t be fired, they are shuffled to the schools where parents have the least power to do something about it. Meanwhile, qualified candidates go through the steps to become teachers only to be knocked around and sometimes out of the system by the same rules. In this short film, teachers themselves ask whether the system is serving students’ needs…not to mention their own. (17 min.)
Featuring: Howard Fuller, Pearl Arredondo, Virginia Walden-Ford, Steve Hill, Michelle Rhee, Amber Pierce, Batia Oren, Dan Gerstein, Lisa Raymond, Barrie Weiss
3. UNCHARTERED TERRITORY
Charter schools have been around for over twenty years, yet many Americans are still unclear about what exactly these schools are and everyone wants to know why some are so great and others…not so much. Unchartered Territory looks at the advent of charter schools offering urban, minority children new school options while also providing new staffing models centered on results and accountability. Interviewing some of the most successful 'pioneers' of this still-developing frontier, this short film provides an insider’s look at both the opportunities and obstacles presented by charter school reform in America. (15 min.)
Featuring: Kevin Chavous, Deborah Kenny, Irasema Salcido, Steve Barr, Jason Epting
TEACHED VOLUME II
In production. Planned for release in early 2015
1. CODE OAKLAND
This short film examines the evolution of Oakland through the eyes of social entrepreneurs who are determined that youth of color not be left on the sidelines as Silicon Valley spreads across the Bay and into the home of the second largest black community in California. Kalimah Priforce, whose first success as a social justice rebel was a hunger strike at the age of eight, and Kimberly Bryant, a successful electrical engineer turned founder of Black Girls Code, are organizing large-scale hackathons to prepare youth to redesign the future through the power of digital coding. Joined on the national stage by #YesWeCode founder and CNN Commentator Van Jones, their work represents the cusp of a growing movement to change both the face and use of technology in America. But is Silicon Valley ready to be hacked? (22 min.)
Featuring: Kalimah Priforce, Kimberly Bryant, Van Jones, Yes We Code, Qeyno Labs & Black Girls Code, Isaiah Thomas, others (tbd)
In this short film, we follow Tyzjae (Tie-zhay) Monroe from sixth grade to his junior year in high school as he and his mother struggle to find him a school that acknowledges—let alone nurtures—his obvious intellect. As a black male growing up in urban America, Tyzjae has already encountered his share of obstacles and set-backs in his quest to follow a direct path to college. When it is discovered in junior high that he is an exceptionally good quarterback, suddenly his value to area schools increases exponentially and the path seems all but certain. So what happens when a serious injury at the end of ninth grade keeps him off the field for a year? (Coming soon)
Featuring: Tyzjae Monroe, Tequaila Monroe, Curtis Monroe, Catrina Brown, Marco Clark, Alisha Roberts.
3. THINK OF CALVIN
On a Friday night after a long week at work, Calvin Davis joined his family in Southwest Washington, DC for an informal gathering. Still wearing scrubs from his job at Children’s National Medical Center, Calvin caught up with old friends while his two boys rode their bikes around the block. When police followed his fifteen year-old home, pulling on gloves as they approached the teenager, Calvin intervened to ask “Why? What did he do?” How these questions escalated into a night in jail for a father with no prior record will make you “Think of Calvin” next time you question racial profiling or how America has become the world’s most prolific jailer. (Coming soon)
Featuring: Calvin Davis, Carlet Harris, Montae Harris, C.J. Davis
Everyone, and I mean, everyone (ok not really) has told me that I should share updates on our films' progress and some of "the making of TEACHED" experiences on this blog. Usually they end this advice with "duh." OK they don't say "duh" but they might as well have, because, duh!
I do tend to get very serious about this work and the issues we are focused on, but HEY making the films is an adventure, has presented GINORMOUS learning curves for me (some surmounted more easily than others, for sure), and is often VERY FUN.
The best part of this whole project, for me, has been the amazing people I have met-- the teachers doing incredible work that nobody sees (or nobody would have seen until we filmed them in action!); the parents doing everything they can for their kids, against ridiculous challenges and obstacles; the students-- little students who are so adorable, but also the teenagers who are all in that awkward time of life -- I just love them; the people I've hired to work on the film, or otherwise met in the film community-- so many talented, cool people. And of course there is the occasional celebrity or VIP (can you say John Legend?!), that's pretty fun too.
Yesterday I had the honor of interviewing Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa of Los Angeles. This man grew up himself in Los Angeles, at one point attending Roosevelt High in Boyle Heights, which is where we filmed the interview. He knows as well as anyone that EVERY child comes to us with potential just waiting to be fulfilled, and it's up to us --- including and very much up to our schools-- to help every child achieve it. He knows that urban, minority kids can learn and achieve at high levels, and that we can make that happen if we're willing to fight against the VERY intransigent system as-it-is that expects very little from them (and in fact blames them for not achieving).
OK, off the soapbox and back to the fun stuff. We had a fabulous conversation with the Mayor then went back to film some of our favorite teachers in action (Pearl, Steve, our new pals Erin and Gary-- all exceptional teachers who are a joy to watch in action). Also big shout out to my beloved friend Saskia Pallais who helped us set up the interview with Mayor Villaraigosa. Saskia and I worked together (I think I hired her?) several years ago in DC and she is a super-star. -- Will post photos asap!
Producer/Director Kelly Amis spoke on a panel today at the New Schools Venture Fund Summit in Washington, DC and got to show the new TEACHED trailer to a crowd of education experts and entrepreneurs. TEACHED was featured along with two other new education-related documentaries: Waiting for Superman and The Lottery. Be sure to check them ALL out when they hit theaters!