An Education in Equality: Intimate Explorations of Diversity in America

An Education in Equality: Intimate Explorations of Diversity in America

An Education in Equality is a documentary short film created by documentarians Joe Brewster and Michèle Stephenson as an Op-Doc video for The New York Times. Filmed over a period of 13 years, this short film presents a coming-of-age story of an African-American boy, Idris, who attends The Dalton School, a prestigious private school in Manhattan. The story of Idris and one of his close friends became the acclaimed feature-length documentary American Promise.

What began as an exploration of diversity in New York’s elite private-school world grew into a story that touches on the much larger themes of identity, race and class in American society. An Education in Equality is not only a powerful illustration of unintended racial alienation, but also a sprawling testament to parental devotion and the natural will of children, an intimate, epic American documentary unlike anything that’s come before it.

Read more about An Education in Equality in The New York Times here.

An Education in Equality: Intimate Explorations of Diversity in America

The Six Dollar Fifty Man: The World Gets a New Hero

The Six Dollar Fifty Man: The World Gets a New Hero

The Six Dollar Fifty Man is an inspiring short film directed by Mark Albiston and Louis Sutherland, produced at New Zealand’s Sticky Pictures for NZ Shorts. The award-winning short film premiered with Special Distinction in Cannes 2009, received the Jury Prize for Filmmaking at Sundance 2010 and was nominated for Best Live Action Short Film at the 2011 Academy Awards.

The Six Dollar Fifty Man tells the story of eight-year-old Andy, who is forced to cope with daily struggles against bullying and abuse at a suppressive elementary school in rural New Zealand. The gutsy little boy has created a fantasied superhero world, in which his wild imagination allows him to perform extraordinary physical feats to withstand pain, scale buildings and leap from tall rooftops to deal with the school bullies and his constantly disparaging teacher. However, when Andy gets into trouble with the headmaster, he realizes that in order to save himself and his only friend, he must find the courage to confront his problems in the real world.

The Six Dollar Fifty Man: The World Gets a New Hero

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Taliban Shoots Pakistani Schoolgirl, Advocate of Education for Girls

Taliban Shoots Pakistani Schoolgirl, Advocate of Education for Girls

When she was only 11 years old, Malala Yousafzai stood up to the Taliban by giving voice to her dreams. As turbaned Taliban fighters swept through her town in northwestern Pakistan in 2009, the tiny schoolgirl spoke out about her passion for education. She wanted to become a doctor, she said, and became a symbol of defiance against Taliban subjugation.

On Tuesday, masked Taliban gunmen answered Ms. Yousafzai’s courage with bullets, singling out the 14-year-old on a bus filled with terrified schoolchildren and shooting her in the head. Two other girls were also wounded in the attack. All three survived, but on Wednesday a neurologist said Ms. Yousafzai was in critical condition at a hospital in Peshawar, though doctors had been able to remove a bullet. Arrangements have been made to send Ms. Yousafzai abroad for treatment, but she could not be moved for now. The two other wounded girls were reported to be in stable condition.

A Taliban spokesman, Ehsanullah Ehsan, confirmed by phone Tuesday that Ms. Yousafzai had been the target, calling her crusade for education rights an “obscenity.” Mr. Ehsan added that if she survived, the militants would certainly try to kill her again. “Let this be a lesson.” That Ms. Yousafzai’s voice could be deemed a threat to the Taliban, that they could see the young schoolgirl’s death as desirable and justifiable, is being seen as evidence of both the militants’ brutality and her courage.

Ms. Yousafzai first came to public attention in 2009, when the Pakistani Taliban swept through Swat, a picturesque valley once famed for its music, tolerance and honeymoon destinations. Her father ran one of the last schools to defy Taliban orders to end female education. As an 11-year-old, Malala wrote an anonymous blog documenting her experiences for the BBC. Later, she was the focus of documentaries by The New York Times and other media outlets. “I had a terrible dream yesterday with military helicopters and the Taliban,” she wrote in one blog post titled “I Am Afraid.”

A government reward of more than $100,000 has been announced by the provincial information minister for information leading to the arrest of Malala’s attackers. “Whoever has done it is not a human and does not have a human soul,” he said. Across the rest of the country, Pakistanis reacted with outrage to the attack on Malala, whose eloquent and determined advocacy of education for girls had made her a powerful symbol of resistance to Taliban ideology.

Read more about young Malala Yousafzai in The New York Times here.

Documentary About Malala Yousafzai, Pakistani Girl Shot by the Taliban: Class Dismissed

Shot by the Taliban, Young Malala Yousafzai Struggles for Life

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Losers: Walking Through a World of Insults

Losers: Walking Through a World of Insults

Losers is a new, emotionally touching two-minute short film by Everynone, with brilliant sound design and an ethereal score by Keith Kenniff. Losers is an anti-bullying film that not only effectively conveys its message, but is visually stimulating as well. The film brings you face to face with how racial slurs, anti-gay taunts, and other insults and actions can hurt others.

Losers: Walking Through a World of Insults

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War School: Military Training for Child Soldiers

War School: Military Training for Child Soldiers

War School is an acclaimed, chilling short film directed by English filmmaker Ben Newman. War School was a film competition winner at Ctrl.Alt.Shift, a movement for a new generation fighting social and global injustice. The film re-creates a military training camp for child soldiers in a British school, transplanting the horror and injustice of the indoctrination of child soldiers to a British classroom setting. This short film performs one of the key roles of visual media in social activism, bridging the gap between the audience and a distant reality. By changing the context of the violation, the film recasts child soldiers; no longer are they simply “distant others” worthy of our pity and damned to a place of violence, but rather precious children in need of our attention and support.

War School: Military Training for Child Soldiers

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Glee: Born This Way

Glee: Born This Way

This episode of Glee featured Kurt, played by Golden Globe winner Chris Colfer, returning to his old high school and receiving an apology from the closeted gay football player who had bullied him. Celebrating acceptance, the show’s cast sings Lady Gaga’s gay pride anthem Born This Way, and all seems well at McKinley High once again.

Glee: Kurt Returns

Glee: Lady GaGa’s “Born This Way”

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The Children’s Defense Fund: Wilson Beat the Odds

The Children’s Defense Fund: Wilson Beat the Odds

Wilson Beat the Odds is an inspiring, thoughtfully compassionate documentary short film written and directed by the award-winning filmmaker Mark Jacobs.  Over the course of Jacobs’ career as both a journalist and film director, he’s produced numerous documentaries centered on adolescent obstacles that affect both the educational and developmental aspects of becoming a responsible adult in today’s society.  Targeted issues have included drug and alcohol abuse, racism and stress.

This documentary arose from a request to make a film about the Children’s Defense Fund’s “Beat The Odds” scholarship program, specifically about a young high school student named Wilson Khuav.  Wilson’s family members were immigrants from Cambodia, survivors of the brutally murderous Khmer Rouge regime.  Not too long after settling in southern California, Wilson’s family found themselves unexpectedly homeless.

Nevertheless, Wilson was determined to graduate from high school and take full advantage of everything that school has to offer.  Despite having to live in a motel and being forced to deal with the daily challenge of overcoming hunger, Wilson managed to maintain a 3.7 GPA and also received numerous scholastic awards.  In recognition of those remarkable achievements, Wilson was nominated for the Children’s Defense Fund’s “Beat The Odds” scholarship and was one of five young adults presented with a $10,000 scholarship award.

The Children’s Defense Fund: Wilson Beat the Odds

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