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

Father’s Day: Celebrating the Oft-Forgotten Men Who Raised Us

Father’s Day: Celebrating the Oft-Forgotten Men Who Raised Us

Dad is a short film created to celebrate all the oft-forgotten dads for Father’s Day. From the first moments of life, the bond formed between a father and his child is a sacred one. Father’s Day is a special time to honor the men who raised us, thanking them for their selfless dedication and love. Fathers are our first teachers, mentors and role models. They push us to succeed, encourage us when we’re struggling, and offer unconditional care and support.

Father’s Day: Celebrating the Oft-Forgotten Men Who Raised Us

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Wasp: The Searing Desperation of a Forsaken Young Mother

Wasp: The Searing Desperation of a Forsaken Young Mother

Through the years, Mother’s Day films have presented moms both good and bad, and Wasp features a most down-on-her-luck mother in contemporary Britain, an unfortunate mom who certainly isn’t going to be winning any Mother of the Year Awards. Wasp is an acclaimed short film directed by British filmmaker Andrea Arnold, which won the 2005 Academy Award for Live Action Short Film and the Jury Prize for International Short Filmmaking at the 2005 Sundance Film Festival. Wasp has been credited as having revived the genre of social realism in British cinema, and this short film has gained the status of a modern classic through Arnold’s sensitive humanistic approach, combined with modern filmmaking techniques.

The film is a searing and intimate portrait of Zoë, a forsaken young woman in contemporary England, who is mired in poverty, but who desperately wants something for herself aside from the oppressive limitations of being a single-mother of four. Despite the responsibility she bears, when a former crush unexpectedly reappears showing his first bit of romantic interest in her, Zoë jumps at the opportunity to go out on a date with him, behaving in painfully irresponsible ways.

On another level, Wasp is a stinging critique of the agonizing worship of the faux-celebrity lives manufactured by today’s pop-media, public relations machines. For Zoë, the Beckhams are the ideal family, the epitome of the fashionably idolized, providing an illusory escape from the harsh realities of her own life. They’re the idealized depiction of a family with three terribly good-looking young sons, a family whose real existence never steps in the way of their living the glamorous life. For Zoë, the Beckhams represent the false pinnacle of desire: never-ending luxury, fashionable motherhood and physical perfection in marriage. But there’s a gut-wrenching sadness to Zoë’s idealized obsession, for she can barely even feed her own children.

It is just phenomenal how much this film gets right; the level of deftness in the writing and presentation is stellar. Having already noted that Wasp has achieved the status of a modern classic, it would be very worthwhile for you to watch this engrossing film. Wasp is a perfect reintroduction to dramatic live-action short films: it is almost mandatory viewing for short film fans. Enjoy.

Wasp: The Searing Desperation of a Forsaken Young Mother

Read more about this film at Short of the Week here.

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As I Am: We Are Meant to Find Each Other

As I Am: We Are Meant to Find Each Other

The more I keep thinking about when I died, when I was a child, I got a job to do.
I wish I could remember what God told me to do.
I wish I could remember the cuts I’m supposed to take, what cuts I’m supposed to create.
What I know is, we are meant to connect, to find each other.
Eyes to see. Hands to feel. Hearts to love.

As I Am is a beautiful, sensitive documentary short film by Emmy-Award winning photojournalist/filmmaker Alan Spearman. The poetic and powerful imagery of the film follows the Memphis landscape of remarkable young Chris Dean, revealing the many lives that have shaped his world. Told in Dean’s own words, the film is a long spoken word poem describing his trenchant observations about life: his thoughts and feelings regarding the places and people that make up his home. As I Am portrays Dean’s hopes, fears and, more than anything, his sensitivity and grace. The film has recently been nominated for Best Live Action Short Film in the 2013 Short of the Week Awards, with winners to be announced beginning February 4, 2013.

Chris Dean’s heart stopped when he was two; he died but he came back. When Chris was five, his father was murdered, shot with more than 20 bullets in a gang shootout. In 2011, at age 18, Chris gained national attention when he introduced President Barack Obama at his high school graduation. Chris is an observer-philosopher who has always had a few things to say about life from his vantage point in South Memphis. As I Am is a wonderful work, which originally premiered on the website of The Memphis Commercial Appeal.

As I Am: We Are Meant to Find Each Other

Booker T. Washington Senior Christopher Dean Introduces President Barack Obama

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Happy Thanksgiving: An Impish Alfred Hitchcock Carves Your Holiday Turkey!

Happy Thanksgiving: An Impish Alfred Hitchcock Carves Your Holiday Turkey!

Photography by: John Rawlings, NYC (1956)

Pick a Hitchcock of opulence rather than corpulence,
just pleasingly plump, with a snug silhouette,
To embellish the board when the places are set.
For the ultimate test, more closely examine it.
The Hitchcock supreme has a wide streak of ham in it.

-Ogden Nash

Bright Eyes: First Day Of My Life

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Thanksgiving: Norman Rockwell’s Freedom From Want

Norman Rockwell: Freedom from Want

Thanksgiving: Norman Rockwell’s Freedom From Want

Paintings by: Norman Rockwell (1894-1978)

Freedom from Want or The Thanksgiving Picture is one of Norman Rockwell’s Four Freedoms paintings, inspired by President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s 1941 State of the Union Address, known as Four Freedoms. Freedom from Want was published in the March 6, 1943, issue of The Saturday Evening Post and later was included as the cover image of the 1946 book Norman Rockwell, Illustrator, written when Rockwell was at the height of his fame as America’s most popular illustrator.

Mary Chapin Carpenter: The Thanksgiving Song

Casey Neistat and His Son Make Thanksgiving Dinner

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Thanksgiving: A Remembrance of Holiday Celebrations and Traditions

Thanksgiving: A Remembrance of Holiday Celebrations and Traditions

Thanksgiving has always been a very special holiday, stuffed with traditions observed and beloved, for many people, since early childhood. The Thanksgiving turkey, Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, the guests from far and near, even the quick nap on the sofa before the start of the Big Game, they all help to create a holiday experience that hasn’t varied much from generation to generation. This Thanksgiving piece presents a video about the origins of the Thanksgiving Holiday, as well as a video of the 2009 Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade.

The Origins of the Thanksgiving Holiday

Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade, 2009

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