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!