Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Meridian Hill Pictures produces many documentaries about education in Washington DC; new film will honor art teacher with cancer

Brandon and Lance Kramer direct (and Cameron King edits) a number of short films about education for Meridian Hill Pictures in Washington DC.

Inspired Teachers” (7 min) follows Ben and Michele, young teachers in pro-active interaction with elementary school students, in various subjects like mathematics. The film documents the Center for inspired Teaching, formed in 1995.  It appears to pre-date controversial DC Chancellor Michelle Rhee.  Would I be comfortable with that degree of continuous interpersonal interaction as a teacher?

When I Grow Up” (5 min) sounds self-explanatory, as the kids say what they imagine to be “their place in the world of work”.  Then some professionals, graduates of Sidwell Friends, speak, including a writer.

Kids Day at HRC” depicts a field trip to the Human Rights Campaign, in April 2011, at the HRC headquarters on 17th St. Former president Joe Solmonese is interviewed.   HRC is presented as a typical workplace that interfaces with the public, but not specifically about gay rights.  Toward the end the film covers bullying, and HRC/Meridian have a separate PSA on the issue.

Teaching What You Love” from the Arts and Technology Academy presents a music teacher, Ms. Cooper, who demonstrates her grade and middle school classes in both classical and jazz music, mostly strings. There is a little section of a string quartet performed and it sounded like Elliott Carter, but the film didn’t identify it.  She talked about “freedom” in the context of performing music, and tried to debunk the idea that classical music was too rigid.

Community Harvest” from Washington Parks and People, 9 min, was the largest film.  It presents the volunteer building of the North Columbia Heights Green.  Schools use it to teach “expeditionary learning”.
The website for Meridian Hill documentaries is here.  

Today WJLA TV reported a new film “Life as a Collage” where a 16 year old directs and students at the Sitar Arts Center document the work of a teacher fighting liver cancer.  I presume that the film will be available on YouTube soon. It was shown free at the Center Sept. 20. 

Here is WJLA’s report.

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