Thursday, November 03, 2011

TEACHED Vol. I West Coast Premiere

My friend Kelli Amis, one of the first TFA corps members, is out with three short films that are debuting at the Napa Valley Film Festival on Friday, Nov. 11th and Sat., Nov. 12th, so if you're in the area, be sure to go:


TEACHED Vol. I West Coast Premiere

Napa Valley Film Festival

Friday, Nov. 11, 11:00 am

Native Sons Hall, 1313 Spring St., St Helena, CA


This special program will feature all three TEACHED Vol. I short films, an introduction by Producer/Director Kelly Amis, and Q&A sessions with two of the films' "stars": Donald Hense (Unchartered Territory), the founder of Friendship Schools in Washington, DC, and Los Angeles-based teacher Pearl Arredondo (The Blame Game: Teachers Speak Out). An encore screening will take place on Saturday, Nov. 12, at 11:00 am at the Jarvis Conservatory in Napa, CA.


To buy reserved seats at the premiere, go to .


Here's an excerpt from a newspaper story (below):

After a stint teaching in South Central, Los Angeles, earning a master of arts in Education Policy Analysis at Stanford University and experience as a charter corps member of Teach for America, Amis draws the succinct conclusion:

"There is very little common sense in the public education system," Amis said.

The now former teacher hasn't just got a soap box to proclaim the system a mess, she produced and directed her first film -- three short films, actually -- under the umbrella, "Teached," which premieres Nov. 11-12 at the inaugural Napa Valley Film Festival.

The trilogy -- "Path to Prison," "The Blame Game," and "Unchartered Territory" -- is Amis' first shot at filmmaking and she pulls it off brilliantly, hinted Marc Lhormer, co-founder of the five-day festival that opens Nov. 9.

"The quality of the filmmaking is first-rate and the characters are fascinating," Lhormer said, adding that "Teached" is a "very compelling way to dive into the issues, and to come at this very complex topic from different angles."

…"The most eye-opening main problems that were in the school were created by a dysfunctional system, that the kids weren't actually bringing the problems to the school. They were encountering a dysfunctional system when they got there. It was very frustrating to watch and to learn that most schools in the inner-city areas operate like that."

In making the films, Amis said she learned that "many boys, especially African-American and Hispanic boys, are put on a trajectory from school as a child to going straight to prison."

Amis believes her films and discussion can lead to change.

"I think we can move the needle," she said. "After working in this area 20 years, I know a lot of very committed, very talented people who have tried to make change and how hard it is."

The problem, said Amis, "is that society at large isn't emotionally connected to the situation or the problem. It's like people have become desensitized. It's an awful statistic that we have this 'achievement gap' and it's not just a reflection of income disparity. It's a reflection of race."


Ex-instructor makes debut with 'Teached'

By Rich Freedman/

Posted: 10/30/2011 01:00:35 AM PDT

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