Find Your Voice
Film Screening By Pola Rosen, Ed.d.
Recently the feature length documentary film, Find Your Voice was screened as part of the prestigious ‘Theatre in Education’ Series of the Martin E. Segal Theatre Center at CUNY’s Graduate Center. An audience of over 100 educators, artists and former Find Your Voice students enthusiatically applauded the film, and then stayed to talk with the students and the Coach featured in the film, during a discussion moderated by Bank Street Professor Cathleen Wiggins—who is also an alumna of the training. She began the talk-back by saying: “For all of our best intentions, we are somehow shutting students down rather than opening them up—much can be learned from this approach.”
Dr. Frank Hentschker curates the Series for CUNY, and introduced the evening by explaining that the audience was about to view the director’s cut; a long version of the final film that will be further cut down before the color is corrected and sound fully balanced. The audience was then asked to fill out a post-viewing questionnaire, which would be helpful in making the final edits. It was also announced that PBS had picked up an hour of the footage for its acclaimed In the Mix series, which will run the week of July 22 and the week of September 17 (check local listings for “In the Mix”). The program is geared primarily to people who work with adolescents; after the broadcast they will be directed to a website that offers a Teaching Guide, follow up on the students featured in the film, and other activities.
At the conclusion of the talk-back, Gail Noppe-Brandon acknowledged the generosity of the two underwriters of the film: The Petersmeyer Family Foundation, and the Bernice and Milton Stern Foundation. She also underscored the courage and generosity of the ten students who took the journey with her and allowed themselves to be filmed. Her hope is that after viewing this work, every teacher will be encouraged to become something of a ‘communication coach’, and every young person will then feel comfortable enough at school to share their thoughts and ideas on paper, and out loud.
“All of the students left me speechless and crying…BRAVO!”
“I fell in love with all the kids. It was moving without being saccharine, sweet or manipulative—very authentic.”
“This film should be distributed throughout the High Schools.”
“A very balanced portrayal; and beautifully filmed.”
Stay tuned for future opportunities to see the film at Festivals…or elsewhere!#
For more information, check out the March 2005 issue of Education Update which contains a book review of Find Your Voice: A Methodology for Enhancing Literacy Through Re-Writing and Re-Acting, Heinemann Press.