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    TEACHED Vol. I

    TEACHED Volume I features the first three films of the innovative TEACHED short film series: The Path to Prison, The Blame Game: Teachers Speak Out and Unchartered Territory. Each film addresses topical issues around the American education system, especially those affecting urban youth. The TEACHED Vol. I compilation—the first in a planned series—is intended to break through polarized education debates, provoke thoughtful discussion and motivate change around long-standing race and income-based inequities in our public schools.

    TEACHED Vol. I won Best Documentary Short Film at the Williamsburg Film Festival and a jury prize for "Spirit of Independence" at the Amsterdam Film Festival. It has received acclaim in the Harvard Political Review, USAToday, One Day and other media (see our NEWS section) and was named one of Ten Education Documentaries Not to be Missed by TakePart. TEACHED Vol. II is now in production.


    TEACHED Volume I includes:

      The United States now bears the ominous title as the planet’s most prolific jailer: with only 5% of the population, we represent 25% of the world’s incarcerated. The vast majority of our inmates are illiterate, and an inordinate number are people of color. One young man’s story helps explain how so many capable and intelligent youth, especially African-American males, end up behind bars in "the land of the free." (approx. 8 min.) Watch on SnagFilms.

    • THE BLAME GAME: Teachers Speak Out
      The discourse around education reform—especially on issues involving teachers—lacks nuance, thoughtfulness and, often, commonsense. Simplistic “pro-“ and “anti-“ teacher rhetoric is distracting from efforts to improve teacher quality, especially in schools serving urban, minority children. What do teachers themselves say about the profession and whether it is serving students’ needs...not to mention their own? (approx. 17 min.) Watch on SnagFilms.

      Charter school founders are pioneers of education reform, staking their claim by opening new schools in many historically underserved communities. But twenty years after the first charter school opened its doors, many Americans are still confused by what these independently-operated, publicly-funded schools are, and why not all of them are performing well. Was the charter formula wrong? What can the best charter school leaders teach the rest? (running time 16 min.) Watch on SnagFilms.


    Director's Note

    TEACHED was originally conceived as a feature-length documentary film. I wrote the basic outline for it nearly a decade ago, but it sat on a shelf until 2009 when the stars aligned for me to seriously consider producing it. 

    Then, during production, it became clear that our impact might be greater by producing an ongoing series of short films. This way we could build a library of films that would document the ever-changing education landscape over time and also provide useful tools for education advocates who could mix and match the films in interactive screening events specifically tailored to their communities and the issues that concern them. Additionally, we believe short documentary films will reach a much larger and more diverse audience online; the impact is potentially huge.
    The first result of this decision is TEACHED Vol. I, a trilogy of short documentary films examining some of the most pressing issues in education today. We look forward to your feedback on the films and suggestions for future TEACHED subjects.

    - Kelly Amis

    Check out our SCREENINGS page for upcoming opportunities to see TEACHED Vol. I or contact us at to organize your own.