Are We Crazy About Our Kids? + Wounded Places

Produced by California Newsreel and Vital Pictures, 2015

In the US, young mothers and working families struggle to find time, money and resources to provide the nurturing environments all babies and young children need to thrive—while too often hindered by social conditions that put their children on low developmental trajectories.

These films are part of a larger series, The Raising of America: Early Childhood and the Future of our Nation. The two films we will screen show the enormous benefits gained for both children and the larger society when early childcare and pre-school programs are well-funded, and the tragic impact for our children and society when these programs are either not available, or poorly funded and staffed.

Are We Crazy About Our Kids? looks at studies by prominent economists  who have studied the costs and benefits of high-quality early care and preschool. And they’re worried—not because we’re spending too much–but because we’re spending too little where it matters most. The question is–what will we do about it? How crazy are we about our kids?

Wounded Places In Philadelphia and here in Oakland, this episode chronicles the stories of children shaken by violence and adversity and asks not “What’s wrong with you?” but “What happened to you?” and “How can traumatized children and neighborhoods heal?”

TWO FREE SCREENINGS

In Piedmont: Wednesday, May 13, 2015
Ellen Driscoll Theater, 325 Highland Avenue, Piedmont

6:30 PM Reception | 7 PM Screening | 8:15 PM Discussion

In Oakland: Saturday, June 27, 2015
The New Parkway Theater, 474 24th Street, Oakland

3 PM Screening | 4:15 PM Discussion

Somewhere Between

Directed by Linda Goldstein Knowlton, “Somewhere Between” is the true story of the coming of age of four girls adopted from Chinese orphanages into American families. The film focuses on the intersection of race, identity, family, and adoption. While viewing these stories, the audience is exposed to the complexity of forming a family that doesn’t meet the general expectations of society.

The director made the film so the girls could share their common experiences and for everyone who grapples with issues of race, culture, identity, and being “different.” The girls travel together, and discuss many thoughts and questions they have in common. One girl even decides to go to China to find her birth family.

The film explores the emotional and psychological fallout on children and parents when stereotypes and assumptions collide.

The Diversity Film Series proudly presents “Somewhere Between” to open a dialogue about what we see, who we are, and the changing face of the American family.

Review by John Anderson, Variety Magazine“One needs several hearts to survive the breakage inflicted by “Somewhere Between,” a delicately wrought, deeply felt docu-profile of four teenage girls who differ in background and aspirations, but are all adopted from China… One girl remembers being abandoned at age 2 by her brother at a bus stop. 80,000 children from China have been adopted in the United States since 1989.”

TWO FREE SHOWINGS

In Piedmont: Wednesday, March 18, 2015
Ellen Driscoll Theater, 325 Highland Avenue, Piedmont

6:30 PM Reception | 7 PM Screening | 8-9 PM Facilitated community discussion

In Oakland: Saturday, March 28, 2015
The New Parkway Theater, 474 24th Street, Oakland

3 PM Screening


The House I Live In

For the past 40 years, the war on drugs has resulted in more than 45 million arrests, $1 trillion dollars in government spending, and America’s role as the world’s largest jailer. Yet for all that, drugs are cheaper, purer, and more available than ever. The House I Live In captures stories of those on the front lines — from the dealer to the grieving mother, the narcotics officer to the senator, the inmate to the federal judge — and offers a penetrating look at both the causes and the profound human rights implications of America’s longest war.

This film is particularly timely because it speaks to the damage – both direct and collateral – of removing large numbers of people from their neighborhoods, and of making law enforcement responsible for a public health problem. It’s been called a holocaust in slow motion.

There’s a growing recognition among those on all sides that the war on drugs is a failure. At a time of heightened fiscal instability, it’s also seen as economically unsustainable. At this pivotal moment, the film promotes public awareness of the problem while encouraging new and innovative pathways to domestic drug policy reform.

“It’d be one thing if it was draconian and it worked. But it’s draconian and it doesn’t work. It just leads to more.” David Simon, creator of The Wire

Accolades:

Grand Jury Prize, Sundance Film Festival

“2012’s Best Documentary, The House I Live In should be seen by everybody.” — New York Times

“SEARING! One of the most important pieces of nonfiction to hit the screen in years.” – Forbes

“Expertly researched, brilliantly argued and masterfully assembled, it is easily the documentary of the year.” — L.A. Times

“A true, nonfiction complement to The Wire.” – Times of London

Two FREE Screenings:

In Piedmont: Thursday, January 22, 2015
Ellen Driscoll Theater, 325 Highland Avenue, Piedmont
6:30 PM Reception | 7 PM Screening | 8-9 PM Discussion

In Oakland: Saturday, January 31, 2015
The New Parkway Theater, 474 24th Street, Oakland

3 PM Screening | 4 PM Discussion


American Promise

American Promise is an intimate and provocative account, recorded over 13 years, of the experiences of two middle-class African-American boys who entered a very prestigious–and historically white–private school on Manhattan’s Upper East Side. The Dalton School had made a commitment to recruit students of color, and five-year-old best friends Idris and Seun of Brooklyn were admitted. The boys were placed in a demanding environment that provided new opportunities and challenges, if little reflection of their cultural identities.

Idris’ parents, Joe, a Harvard- and Stanford-trained psychiatrist, and Michèle, a Columbia Law School graduate and filmmaker, decided to film the boys’ progress starting in 1999. They and their families soon found themselves struggling not only with kids’ typical growing pains and the kinds of racial issues one might expect, but also with surprising class, gender and generational gaps. American Promise, which traces the boys’ journey from kindergarten through high school graduation, finds the greatest challenge for the families–and perhaps the country–is to close the black male educational achievement gap.

Winner of the U.S. Documentary Special Jury Award, 2013 at the Sundance Film Festival.

This event is a collaboration with POV, the award winning independent nonfiction film series on PBS. Also co-sponsored by Piedmont League of Women Voters, Piedmont Appreciating Diversity Committee and DiversityWorks

2 FREE SCREENINGS:
Piedmont: Wednesday,
 December 3, 2014
Ellen Driscoll Playhouse, 325 Highland Ave., Piedmont

6:30 pm: Reception
7:00 pm: Screening
8:00 pm: Facilitated discussion

Oakland: Saturday, November 29, 2014
New Parkway Theater, 474 24th Street, Oakland
3:00 pm

Loving Lampposts

Autism has exploded into the public consciousness over the last 20 years. A recent CDC study of 11 US communities found that one in 68 children has autism, and debates abound about how families, schools and communities can best respond. Loving Lampposts represents a part of the debate: is autism an illness to be cured, or is it a variation of the human brain – a different way to be human?

The Appreciating Diversity Film Series and PRAISE (Piedmonters for Resources, Advocacy and Information in Special Education) are bringing Loving Lampposts for another FREE Film Series screening. The goal is to broaden discussion in the East Bay of both autism and the wider neurodiversity movement, which urges both the acceptance and inclusion of individuals who are neurodiverse in society. PRAISE President Liz Fitzgerald and member Ann Van Gelder will participate in the pre- and post-screening conversation, along with other members of the community.

Please join us in learning more.

2 FREE SCREENINGS:
Piedmont: Wednesday,
 October 22, 2014
Ellen Driscoll Playhouse, 325 Highland Ave., Piedmont

6:30 pm: Reception
7:00 pm: Screening
8:30 pm: Q&A with PRAISE representatives

Oakland: Saturday, October 25
New Parkway Theater, 474 24th Street, Oakland
3:00 pm

Louder than a Bomb

Our summer film, LOUDER THAN A BOMB, is an inspiring documentary about a diverse group of teenagers working together. It’s about passion, competition, teamwork, and trust.  It’s about the joy of being young, and the pain of growing up. It’s about speaking out, making noise, and finding your voice. And it’s also about poetry.

Every year, more than six hundred teenagers from over sixty Chicago area schools gather for the competition. Rather than emphasize individual poets and performances, the structure of Louder Than a Bomb demands that kids work collaboratively with their peers, presenting, critiquing, and rewriting their pieces. To succeed, teams have to create an environment of mutual trust and support. For many kids, being a part of such an environment—in an academic context—is life-changing.

The film documents four teams confronting stereotypes as they prepare for and compete in the event. By turns hopeful and heartbreaking, the film captures the tempestuous lives of these unforgettable kids, exploring the ways writing shapes their world, and vice versa. This is not “high school poetry” as we often think of it. This is language as a joyful release, irrepressibly talented teenagers obsessed with making words dance.  How and why they do it—and the community they create along the way—is the story at the heart of this inspiring film. Directed by Greg Jacobs and Jon Siskel.

Ages 12 and up.

2 FREE SCREENINGS:
Piedmont: Thursday,
  July 10, 2014
Ellen Driscoll Playhouse, 325 Highland Ave., Piedmont
6:30 pm: Free reception with light refreshments
7:00 pm: Screening of film
8:40 pm: Community discussion

Oakland: Saturday, July 26
New Parkway Theater, 474 24th Street, Oakland
3:00 pm

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)