Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Partners with UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television to Fund Education-Themed Student Films

Short Films Address Public Education in America

LOS ANGELES--()--The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has partnered with UCLA’s prestigious school of Theater, Film and Television (TFT) to fund eight student films on the subject of public education, announced Teri Schwartz, Dean of the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television.

“The Gates Foundation’s efforts on behalf of education are truly heroic,” said Dean Schwartz, “and no issue could possibly be more important. At TFT, we proudly share the profound belief of Bill and Melinda Gates in the power of education to not only vastly improve the lives of individuals, but also to enlighten, engage and inspire change for a better world.”

Support from the foundation enabled eight UCLA film student teams to write, produce and direct three-minute films about pressing education issues in America. UCLA School of Film, Television and Digital Media Chair Barbara Boyle, who secured the financing, oversaw the project with support from Film Department faculty and staff.

The students selected were from the graduate programs of the Department of Film, Television and Digital Media and worked together in teams of three, including a writer, director and at least one producer.

“We are extraordinarily grateful to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for supporting and funding this project,” Boyle commented. “Public education is one of the vital issues today as we must seek to provide educational opportunities to further generations. We are delighted that our young artists are a part of this effort."

Boyle continued, “The student films explore the critical role of teachers, opportunities for the non-traditional student, and the role of inspired, forward thinkers in creating educational opportunities."

The eight UCLA TFT films produced by the storytelling initiative are now available for audiences to view online at TFT www.tft.ucla.edu/profiles/scholarship/gates-films/ and on the Gates Foundation’s YouTube playlist: http://www.youtube.com/view_play_list?p=1ACA76A9BFD9D732. Films include “Leveling the Playing Field,” “Voices of a Village,” “Greater Expectations,” “Planting Hope,” “Detroit Summer,” “Burning the Midnight Oil,” “Boyz Under the Hood: West Philadelphia Auto Academy” and “Docs Rock.”

A complete list with film details is below.

UCLA TFT STORYTELLING INITIATIVE FILM GUIDE:

“Leveling the Playing Field”
A former high school football star returns to school as an adult to become a teacher and football coach. Director: Jon Bryant

“Voices of a Village”
Spoken word poetry covering a variety of topics related to education. Director: Judy Phu

“Greater Expectations”
This performing arts school helps shift the question for students in South Los Angeles from "Are you going to college?” to "What college are you going to?” Director: Vanessa Yee

“Planting Hope”
Pearl Fryar turned discarded plants into a topiary garden success. Moving forward from that success, he established a scholarship fund to nurture community college students. Director: Kimberly Townes

“Detroit Summer”
Detroit Summer is a program organized by young people to empower students through community-based projects. Director: Jessica McMunn

“Burning the Midnight Oil”
Bunker Hill Community College in Boston offers midnight classes to provide adult students flexible options for education. Director: Hanjin Park

“Boyz Under the Hood: West Philadelphia Auto Academy”
At West Philadelphia High School the West Philadelphia Auto Academy formed Team EVX to compete in the Automotive X Prize. Building a 100 mpg car created a project-based learning opportunity that provided students with real world experience ranging from engineering to public relations. Director: Luke Slenderbroek

“Docs Rock”
Docs Rock is a project-based-learning class where students create a documentary and learn skills that transfer to the real world. Director: Susana Casares

The vision of the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television is to serve as a premier global interdisciplinary professional school that develops outstanding humanistic storytellers, industry leaders and scholars whose diverse, innovative voices enlighten, engage and inspire change for a better world. Consistently ranked as one of the top two elite media arts institutions in the world, the School offers an innovative curriculum that integrates the study and creation of live performance, moving image media and the digital arts. Our distinguished graduate and undergraduate programs include ACTING, directing, writing, producing, animation, cinematography, lighting design, set design, costume design, sound design, and offers PhDs in Theater and Performance Studies and Cinema & Media Studies. For more information, visit www.tft.ucla.edu.

Contacts

The Lippin Group
Pamela Golum/Lakeitcha Thomas
(323) 965-1990
Pgolum@lippingroup.com
Lthomas@lippingroup.com
or
UCLA TFT
David Chute
(310) 206-0305
dchute@tft.ucla.edu

Release Summary

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has partnered with UCLA’s prestigious school of Theater, Film and Television (TFT) to fund eight student films on the subject of public education.

Contacts

The Lippin Group
Pamela Golum/Lakeitcha Thomas
(323) 965-1990
Pgolum@lippingroup.com
Lthomas@lippingroup.com
or
UCLA TFT
David Chute
(310) 206-0305
dchute@tft.ucla.edu