Educators

The Tumbleweeds School Program takes students and teachers beyond the classroom and uses the power of film to introduce ideas and stories, and foster discussion about issues affecting young people today.

Whenever possible, screenings include the opportunity for students to engage in discussions with filmmakers and specials guests to further explore a film’s ideas, storytelling, techniques, and more.

• Screenings are free to participating schools or classes.
• Study Guides for each film are provided electronically to teachers when available.
• Support for transportation.

Interested in having your class attend a free screening of one of the films below please contact Leslie Means.

Past Films Have Included
BITTER SEEDS
 

Directed by: Micha Peled
Rating: Not Rated
Rating: 88

Biotechnology is changing the way farming is done all over the world. Advocates believe the “New Green Revolution” is the only way to provide sufficient food for the world’s growing population while opponents raise environmental concerns and fear that GMOs drive small-scale farmers off the land. BITTER SEEDS explores the controversy — from a village in India that uses genetically modified seeds to U.S. government agencies that promote them.

 

88 min | 2011 | USA
Trailer: Vimeo | YouTube
 
BULLY
 

Directed by: Lee Hirsch
Rating: PG-13
Rating: 98

Over 13 million American kids will be bullied this year, making it the most common form of violence experienced by young people in the nation. The documentary film BULLY, directed by Sundance and Emmy-award winning filmmaker, Lee Hirsch, brings human scale to this startling statistic, offering an intimate, unflinching look at how bullying has touched five kids and their families.

BULLY is a beautifully cinematic, character-driven documentary. At its heart are those with huge stakes in this issue whose stories each represent a different facet of America’s bullying crisis. Filmed over the course of the 2009/2010 school year, BULLY opens a window onto the pained and often endangered lives of bullied kids, revealing a problem that transcends geographic, racial, ethnic and economic borders. It documents the responses of teachers and administrators to aggressive behaviors that defy “kids will be kids” clichés, and it captures a growing movement among parents and youths to change how bullying is handled in schools, in communities and in society as a whole.

98 min | 2012 | USA
Trailer: YouTube
 
BROOKLYN CASTLE
 

Directed by: Katie Dellamaggiore
Rating: PG
Rating: 101

BROOKLYN CASTLE tells the stories of five members of the chess team at a below-the-poverty-line inner city junior high school that has won more national championships than any other in the country. The film follows the challenges these kids face in their personal lives as well as on the chessboard, and is as much about the sting of their losses as it is about the anticipation of their victories. Ironically, the biggest obstacle thrust upon them arises not from other competitors but from recessionary budget cuts to all the extracurricular activities at their school. BROOKLYN CASTLE shows how these kids’ dedication to chess magnifies their belief in what is possible for their lives. After all, if they can master the world’s most difficult game, what can’t they do?

 

101 min | 2012 | USA
Trailer: Vimeo | YouTube
 
DAVID
 

Directed by: Joel Fendelman
Rating: Not Rated
Rating: 80

BROOKLYN CASTLE tells the stories of five members of the chess team at a below-the-poverty-line inner city junior high school that has won more national championships than any other in the country. The film follows the challenges these kids face in their personal lives as well as on the chessboard, and is as much about the sting of their losses as it is about the anticipation of their victories. Ironically, the biggest obstacle thrust upon them arises not from other competitors but from recessionary budget cuts to all the extracurricular activities at their school. BROOKLYN CASTLE shows how these kids’ dedication to chess magnifies their belief in what is possible for their lives. After all, if they can master the world’s most difficult game, what can’t they do?

 

80 min | 2011 | USA
Trailer: Vimeo | YouTube
 
PLEASE VOTE FOR ME
 

Directed by: Weijun Chen
Rating: Not Rated
Rating: 56

Is democracy a universal value that suits human nature? Do elections inevitably lead

to manipulation? Please Vote for Me is a portrait of a society and a town through a school, its children and its families.

Wuhan is a city about the size of London located in central China. It is here that director Weijun Chen has conducted an experiment in democracy. A Grade 3 class at Evergreen Primary School has their first encounter with democracy by holding an election to select a Class Monitor. Eight-year-olds compete against each other for the coveted position, abetted and egged on by teachers and doting parents.

Elections in China take place only within the Communist Party, but recently millions of Chinese voted in their version of Pop Idol. The purpose of Weijun Chen’s experiment is to determine how democracy would be received if it came to China.

 

58 min | 2007 |
South Africa/Denmark
Trailer: YouTube
 
SALAAM DUNK
 

Directed by: David Fine
Rating: Not Rated
Rating: 78

Two years ago, most of the women on the basketball team at the American University of Iraq – Sulaimani (AUIS) had never been running before. Many had never played sports. None had ever been on a team with other women. They came from all corners of Iraq to attend this prestigious school, but many cannot tell family back home they go to an “American” university.

Through traditional interviews and private confessional video diaries, Salaam Dunk follows the ethnically diverse AUIS women’s basketball team as they discover what it means to be athletes. From the joy of their first win to the pain of losing the coach who started their team, the film gives a glimpse into an Iraq we don’t see on the news.

78 min | 2011 | USA/Iraq
Trailer: Vimeo | YouTube