Inequality For All

A passionate argument on behalf of the middle class, this film features Robert Reich,  UC Berkeley professor, best-selling author, and former Clinton labor secretary, as he demonstrates how the widening income gap has a devastating impact on the American economy. The film is an intimate portrait of a man who’s overcome a great deal of personal adversity and whose lifelong goal remains protecting those who are unable to protect themselves. Through his singular perspective, Reich explains how the massive consolidation of wealth by a precious few threatens the viability of the American workforce and the foundation of democracy itself. Reich uses humor and a wide array of facts to explain how the issue of economic inequality affects each and every one of us.

The Appreciating Diversity Film Series is sponsored by The Piedmont Appreciating Diversity Committee, The Piedmont League of Women Voters, and DiversityWorks.

2 Free Screenings
Piedmont: April 23
Ellen Driscoll Theater

325 Highland Avenue, Piedmont 94611
6:30 Reception | 7:00 Screening (110 minutes)

Oakland: April 26
The New Parkway, 474 24th Street, Oakland 94612
3:00 PM: Screening (food for purchase)


Linsanity is documentary about the rise of star Asian-American basketball player, Jeremy Lin. Director Evan Jackson Leong wanted to show how Lin dealt with racism in college sports and the NBA. Lin, a high school all-star in Palo Alto, received no college scholarship offers. Despite being a star on his basketball team at Harvard, he was not drafted by the NBA. Nevertheless he broke into the NBA after playing for in the Summer League, and played first for the Golden State Warriors, his home-town team. Lin was the first American of either Chinese or Taiwanese descent to play in the NBA. Lin was waived by the Warriors in late 2011, but was picked up by the New York Knicks. They also were planning to waive him before the contract deadline February 10, 2012. But “because we were playing so badly”, the Knicks coach finally gave Lin a break.

Linsanity is about what led up to that break, and what followed. It’s about an entire nation of basketball fans going “Linsane.” Lin scored more points in his first 5 NBA  starts than any other player in the modern era, and created a legitimate public frenzy.  The film explores his family background, how his parents came from Taiwan and how he was guided by faith, desire, and love of the game.

The film is presented by the Piedmont Asian American Club & Appreciating Diversity Film Series (sponsored by Piedmont Appreciating Diversity Committee, Piedmont League of women Voters & DiversityWorks.)

2 Free Screenings
In Piedmont on March 19
Ellen Driscoll Theater

325 Highland Avenue, Piedmont 94611
6:30 Reception | 7:00 Screening | 8:30 Discussion

In Oakland on March 22
The New Parkway, 474 24th Street, Oakland 94612
3:15 PM: Screening and Discussion

Waiting Room

The Waiting Room  goes behind the doors of Highland Hospital’s over-crowded, under-resourced emergency room as medical staff struggle to care for a community of largely uninsured patients.  Hard choices are made as victims of gun violence take their turn alongside cancer patients and numerous others waiting hours and sometimes days for treatment.  The film weaves the intimate stories of several patients – as well as the dedicated hospital staff carrying for them – as they cope with the complexities and deficiencies of our current health care system.  The filmmaker, Pete Nicks, will field questions after the showing. The showing is co-sponsored by the Piedmont Appreciating Diversity Committee, the Piedmont League of  Women Voters and DiversityWorks.

The Washington Post and the San Francisco Chronicle both declared The Waiting Room one of the top 10 movies of 2012.

“Magnificent… it lifts the veil on a world often described in terms of squalor and despair, finding the inherent dignity and perseverance therein.”  The Washington Post

“Extraordinary access to the people in and around the waiting room of a public hospital in Oakland.”  The San Francisco Chronicle

Free Screenings
Wednesday, January 29, 2014
Ellen Driscoll Theater,
325 Highland Ave, Piedmont 94611 (near Oakland Ave.)
6:30 pm Reception | 7:00 pm Screening | 8:20  Community discussion with director of the  film, Pete Nicks

Saturday, February 1, 2014 at 3 pm
New Parkway Theater, 
474 24th Street,  Oakland, 94612 (near Telegraph Ave.) 

The Invisible War

The Invisible War is a film about the all too common, profoundly distressing problem of sexual assault in the American military. The film gets some of its power from the statistics alone: the military estimates that one in five women and many men in the military has been the victim of sexual assault.  Victims are often discouraged from reporting such crimes because the attackers are their superiors, or those further up the chain either implicitly or even explicitly threaten their jobs and their careers.  Reports that are made are often ignored; instead, women are dismissed or even prosecuted themselves.

Many of the victims in this film grew up in military families, with a strong respect for the military and its traditions. The interviews of the women are remarkable. You will witness their courage, their candor and their struggle to make the military change its manner of handling reports of abuse. At a time when the military is a crucial source of employment and training for so many aspiring young people, and it is popular to tout “supporting our men and women in uniform,” the goals of these victims should be important to us all.

Called “haunting” by Time Magazine, “heartbreaking” by The Washington Post, and “unforgettable” by, The Invisible War was named one of the New York Times’ best ten films of the year.  Their review concluded, “This is not a movie that can be ignored.”

(The film includes victims’ descriptions of violent attacks but no violent or sexual images. It is recommended for ages 14 and older.)

Two free Screenings

1.   Wednesday, November 13, 2013
@ Ellen Driscoll Theater (Havens Elementary School)
325 Highland Ave / Piedmont 94611
6:30 pm: Reception | 7 pm: Film | 8:00 pm Facilitated community discussion

2. Saturday, November 16, 2013
@ The New Parkway
474  24th Street / Oakland 94612
3:00 pm Film
Refreshments available for purchase

Poor Kids

Poor Kids – A film by Jezza Neumann
This moving documentary focuses on the children in three American families in the Quad Cities, a great American crossroads along the border of Iowa and Illinois. Told in the words of the children themselves, this one-hour documentary offers a unique perspective on America’s depressed economy after the financial crisis of 2008,  and the impact of unemployment, foreclosure and financial distress.

As Brittany, one of the children, says, “It could happen to you. It only takes one slip up, one thing to go wrong…. And it might be nothing to do with you, nothing to do with the way you’re leading your life. But even a natural disaster can take you down to ground zero”.

Winner of the Robert F Kennedy Award for Television Journalism 2013

Two free Screenings

1.   Thursday, September 26, 2013
@ Ellen Driscoll Theater (Havens Elementary School)
325 Highland Ave / Piedmont 94611
6:30 pm: Reception with light refreshments | 7 pm: Film | 8:00 pm Discussion

2. Saturday, September 28, 2013
@ The New Parkway
474  24th Street / Oakland 94612
3:00 pm Film | 4:00 pm Discussion
Food available for purchase

poor kids

Room To Breathe

Room To Breathe is a surprising story of transformation of struggling children in a San Francisco public middle school as they are introduced to the practice of mindfulness meditation.

The film focuses on four troubled children in Marina Middle School in San Francisco: an African American boy trying to cope with his brother’s murder; a highly social Latino girl with no interest in academics; a tough and disruptive Latino girl who is frequently in trouble with school administrators; and a defiant Latino boy who sees himself as unfairly persecuted by his primary teacher and other school officials.  The film shows chaos in the classroom – children fooling around, shoving, pushing, and yelling.  They are disrespectful and uncontrollable.

How can teachers help these children develop the social, emotional, and attention skills they need to succeed in and out of the classroom?  Instead of just forcing the children to listen, the school administrators decide to experiment with “mindfulness,” a new program in self-reflection that is being introduced to a handful of public schools across the nation.

While the mindfulness instructor’s efforts are initially met with defiance, contempt for authority figures, and poor discipline, the teacher from Berkeley helps the four children and their classmates take greater control over themselves.  A new sense of calm begins to permeate their worlds, in class and at home.

The root of the children’s problems may be unique to each person, but the practice of mindfulness meditation has positive influence on all of them. Room To Breathe is an inspiring film that demonstrates a simple method that appears to have the potential to transform the ways in which children relate to their peers, their teachers, and their world, to reduce violence and bullying, and to create marked improvements in academic performance.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013
6:30 PM Doors open, reception| 7:00 PM Film screening
8-9pm PM Discussion


Room to Breathe Official Trailer from Sacred Planet Films on Vimeo.

Out in America

“Out in America”  directed and produced by Andrew Goldberg.

“Out In America” delivers a compelling, multi-layered portrait of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Americans through their own words and experiences. The film connects common themes running through numerous personal stories about growing up, coming out, nurturing relationships, overcoming social and familial challenges, fighting discrimination and HIV and achieving individual status and respect in America.

After the film, the Queer- Straight Alliance at Piedmont High School will discuss challenges for young people  who  are out or not yet out in America.  This film allows audience members to view and share in the touching quality of the relationships shown in the film.

Two free Screenings

1.   Wednesday, April 24, 2013
@ Ellen Driscoll Theater (Havens Elementary School)
325 Highland Ave / Piedmont 94611
6:30 pm: Reception | 7 pm: Film | 8:20 pm: Facilitated community discussion

2. Tuesday, April 30, 2013
@ The New Parkway
474  24th Street / Oakland 94612
6:30 pm