NewSchools Summit 2010 Session Overview and Video: Breakout #4: Schools Hit the Big Screen: Influencing the Public Mindset

August 16, 2010

Session Description:

During 2010, several films about public education will come to a theater near you, including “Waiting For Superman,” directed by Davis Guggenheim, who won an Oscar for his global warming documentary, “An Inconvenient Truth.” This breakout session allowed participants to engage with documentarians and featured education entrepreneurs about how filmmakers have approached telling the story of entrepreneurial education reform, how these films can be used to influence a broad audience, and how to use video as a medium to communicate about their organizations.


  • Kira Orange Jones, Executive Director, Teach For America — Greater New Orleans (moderator)
  • Eric Adler, Co-Founder and Managing Director, The SEED Foundation
  • Kelly Amis, Founder, Loudspeaker Films
  • John Schreiber, Executive Vice President, Social Action & Advocacy, Participant Media

Part 1: In this video, moderator Kira Orange Jones introduces panelists Kelly Amis, Eric Adler, and John Schreiber. Panelists discuss their perspectives on the impact that film can have on the education reform movement.

Part 2: In this video, panelists screen trailers for education documentaries “Waiting For Superman,” “Teached,” and “The Lottery” for the audience.

Part 3: In this video, moderator Kira Orange Jones asks panelists to discuss how their films could impact public opinion and what action they hope to encourage audience-goers to take after leaving the theater. Next, Kelly Amis discusses her motivation for making the film “Teached.” Then, Eric Adler talks about the reasons why SEED’s schools decided to participate in the making of “Waiting For Superman.”

Part 4: In this video, Eric Adler says cinema is a powerful way to communicate the struggle many families face trying to find a quality education for their children. Next, Kelly Amis discusses her experiences making her film “Teached.” Also, Madeleine Sackler, director of “The Lottery,” discusses her own film-making challenges.

Part 5: In this video, moderator Kira Orange Jones opens the floor to questions from the audience. Investor Whitney Tilson talks about his involvement in the film “A Right Denied: The Critical Need for Genuine Education Reform,” which explores the “twin achievement gaps” — between the U.S. and other countries, and between low-income, minority students and their more affluent peers. Next, panelists respond to questions about what they consider success for their movies to be.

Part 6: In this video, panelists continue their discussion on what audience reaction they expect from their films and what that will mean for the education reform movement. Next, an audience member asks about the way teachers’ unions are portrayed in the three documentaries.

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