Bringing Diversity to Documentary

Logo for Kartemquin's Diverse Voices In Docs programI’m honored to have been accepted into the 6-month “Diverse Voices in Docs” program organized by Kartemquin Films and the Community Film Workshop of Chicago. (see HuffPo article) Think of it as an incubator for emerging documentary filmmakers of color.

We’re now done with our very first session and I’ve been blown away by all the talent in the room. So much experience. So much wisdom. We wasted no time on day one. Tasked with introducing everyone to our works-in-progress within 5 minutes, I took the leap to turn an idea that’s been in my head for months, into reality. I’m excited about highlighting and exploring a much heavily praised aspect of Singapore with folks here in Chicago.

Adventures In Learning

The documentary I’m going to be working on throughout the course of the program and beyond will shine a spotlight on innovation in the classroom, before teens enter university. Areas of interest include classrooms that incorporate social entrepreneurship, environmental sustainability, or global citizenship.

Driving Force

The interest in these new curriculums and teaching methods really stem from my experience of growing up in a very “exam-driven” educational system, where school was more about learning to get the good grades than it was about learning… actually learning. I remember feeling like a fish out of water when I first stepped into the classrooms at Northwestern University. “You mean you actually wanna hear my opinion?” And also in constant awe of the number of fellow students around me who truly believed they could change the world.

Research Research Research

I’d like to follow stories both in Singapore and in Chicago. If the above resonates with you, I’d love to chat. In this initial research stage, I’m seeking people who’ve done academic studies on the education systems in Singapore and the US, and those who are directly involved in either education system, whether as a teacher, an administrator, or even as a student with an opinion to share.
 
At this point, I’m still searching for the right points to cover, characters to follow, and stories to tell. Know someone who fits the bill? Send him/her my way.
Journey With Me
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Reel Talent Productions takes on Health & Fitness Issues

First Lady Michelle Obama made it clear:

“The physical and emotional health of an entire generation and the economic health and security of our nation is at stake.”


With a mission of solving the challenge of childhood obesity within a generation, Michelle Obama launched Let’s Move!, a nationwide initiative to put children on a path to a healthy future. 

One of the 4 pillars of the campaign is in Increasing Physical Activity, because our young people now live in a world where it’s easy to be sedentary, and inconvenient to be active. In a report to President Obama, adolescents spend more than 7 hours/day watching television, DVDs, movies, or using a computer/cell phone/MP3 Player. 56% of boys and 74% of girls are not getting sufficient exercise.

That’s why I’m excited to announce that three Reel Talent Productions teens will spend 8 weeks on a summer filmmaking internship producing short documentary to examine what the situation is like within their community. How’d things get this way? And more importantly, what can we do together to reverse it?

The finished piece will be used to inspire, inform, and fuel discussions about these pertinent issues, adding a small (but mighty!) puzzle piece to the larger picture that is Let’s Move!

My co-leader Jon and I are in the midst of conducting interviews with applicants this week. With only 3 spots available, making the final decision will be tough. Results will be announced next week.

Keep your eyes peeled for updates on the kids’ journey here. Ask them questions, send them encouragement and suggest ideas for improvement! Let’s do this together.