Tag Archives: film screening

“Homestretch” Documentary

Kee’Ara Smith, Staff Writer

The lives of three homeless teens as they fight to stay in school, graduate, and build a future in Chicago are showcased in the documentary “The Homestretch.”

The Public Health Student Association (PHSA) began its Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week with a screening of “Homestretch” on Nov. 20 in the Ogeechee Theater.

The PHSA used this week as a platform to promote the Captain’s Cupboard where students on or off campus are able to receive items they need such as canned goods, food, toiletries and more.

The three teens in the film are shown battling everyday struggles such as not having a high school diploma, mental health issues and lack of U.S. citizenship. Lucky for these three teens, those struggles didn’t follow them into adulthood.

One was still able to get into college although having a GPA lower than a 2.0 and no citizenship.

The other teen was able to get his GED and get a stable job to gain custody of his son. The last teen got the wellness check she needed and moved to a new city for a fresh start. She even planned on starting school soon.

At the end of the screening, many faculty, staff and students stood around and talked about the film. The PHSA posted two discussion posts in the back of the theatre where people were allowed to write questions they had at the end of the film.

“I found out about this movie through my FYE class but it wasn’t mandatory. I felt this film was interesting because I’ve experienced homelessness and it’s different to see how older people are affected and how much it can affect what they do next in life,” Mallory Mallett said.

“Nothing in this film surprised me. It just gave me better insight

into people’s everyday situations,” Mallett said.

There are a plethora of resources available if you or a loved one are experiencing hunger or homelessness.

Please contact the Public Health Student Association at phsa@ georgiasouthern.edu.

“Motherless Brooklyn” Review

SCAD Savannah Film Festival

Jason Chapman, Staff Writer

“Motherless Brooklyn” was written, directed, produced and starred Edward Norton as a private eye named Lionel Essrog. The film harkens back to the noir genre of the past. While watching there’s a strong impression that films like Chinatown, or The Big Sleep heavily influenced this film. 

The film doesn’t seem to want to make any new marks in the genre. It more so focuses on the characters involved and the sociopolitical battles within New York City in the 1950s. 

The main character Lionel has a great memory, but also suffers from Tourette’s syndrome, which causes him to twitch and yell out random words or phrases. Lionel’s  condition becomes significantly exacerbated whenever he gets nervous, which evokes funny and heartfelt moments throughout the film, and helps the audience connect with Lionel.

 A recurring concept in this film is the daily battles that we as humans must address and take on. There is even a beautiful song by Thom Yorke and Flea called Daily Battles. The song gives us insight into a forgotten world that is unfamiliar to us today. 

Following the events of the story, Lionel’s mentor Frank Minna gets involved with some shady people and consequently dies in front of Lionel. Lionel goes out to try and find out why someone would do this to his friend. In the process Lionel unearths a conspiracy that involves a greedy city planner Moses Randolph  an activist named Laura Rose and the city planners brother played very well by Willem Dafoe. 

We follow this character and cheer for him throughout the convoluted quest he has embarked on. 

The de-saturated greys and bright neon lights help us look through the lens to realize the rich history behind this story. Cinematographer, Dick Pope, shot the film and does a great job. It’s not the grimy New York of the 1970s it’s what came before and lead up to that.

 Daniel Pemberton arranged the score for the film, but the Wynton Marsalis Quartet is what really shines. It gives the film its pulse and drives it forward in many cases. This rich heavily layered noir is a labor of love from Edward Norton. The characters and the settings are very well defined giving a window into the past so that many audiences can experience it.

“Motherless Brooklyn” spent nearly twenty years in pre-production hell. Seeing it finally come together with so many talented actors is truly profound.

 

Screening: Experiment Brings School to Children

Hannah Hanlon, Staff Writer

West Bengal, India. Clothes are hanging on a clothesline. A 12-year old girl named Priya walks up to her home and asks her mother where her pants are. She prefers watching TV over studying, but she is still ranked second in her class. She wants to be first. She wants to be a policewoman when she grows up. If she does not finish school, her parents will marry her off.

This is an early scene depicted in “The School in the Cloud”, a documentary which follows a three year experiment directed by Sugata Mitra who headed up the installation of internet kiosks in remote villages in West Bengal to a school in northeast England to enable children to self-organize their learning.

On March 27, Georgia Southern University College of Education (COE) hosted a screening of the documentary, in the Student Union on campus.

The point of the documentary, which depicted the challenges and success of the experiment, was to show the potential of self-organized learning.

As explained by Dr. Kathie Fabrikant, a professor on the Armstrong campus, research has continued to show that children anywhere from the slums of India to impoverished areas of Chile are able to self-learn in an “unorganized” learning environment.

School in the Cloud_Priya
A quote by Priya from the documentary. Photo by “The School in the Cloud” Twitter.

Before beginning the documentary screening, Dr. Fabrikant asked the audience to consider the following questions while they watched the film: What could possibly go wrong? Can information that is accessed by children be manipulated? What are the safeguards? What do kids do when they don’t have a laptop or a tablet to complete their assignments?

“The internet technology is an integral part of the way we learn in our classrooms,” said Dr. Fabrikant.

In between scenes of the documentary, Mitra was shown giving a Ted Talk lecture and narrating throughout.

Mitra was determined to prove that children in disconnected and impoverished areas can educate themselves under the guidance of a teacher with the assistance of internet technology.

Mitra made the analogy of how a concept known as “the edge of chaos” was at play in this experiment. At the edge of chaos, things happen at random, and then there is structure.

Chaos theory, as Mitra explained it, is that after there is random chaos, there will emerge a pattern.

“Learning is something that happens to people when they are cross the edge of chaos,” said Mitra.

One area in which Mitra had to set the record straight was the accusation that he was trying to eliminate teachers from the classroom.

He said that was not true. The teacher has to convert the learning into an environment where the answer has to be devised by the students.

A challenge for students in India versus the students in England is the access of internet technology.

One man that donated his land in the Sundarbans was thrilled to have the experience of speaking with a woman in Germany via the wifi that got connected.

“We Sundarbans did not know this was possible,” he said.

Members of the audience made various comments in response to the screening.

One issue that was noted was that children in England had the advantage because they already knew the questions to ask and had someone in the classroom to facilitate.

Another concern that was noted from the audience is that students are not digging hard enough to answer their own questions, or even to ask the big questions in the first place. They wait to receive the questions and answers from their teachers…to get a good score on exams.

“What are we going to do in education to change that,” asked Angela Keel, an educator in STEM.

Near the end of the documentary, there was a scene of 12-year old Priya who had been featured throughout. She was searching images on the internet, not for weddings or bridal dresses but for police women. She looked hopeful.

 

“The Kid” Plays with Dramedy

Lila Miller, A&E Editor

“A picture with a smileand perhaps, a tear,reads the opening image of the film The Kid.Charlie Chaplin made his first cinematic debut as director, producer and starring role in The Kid.The film was released in 1921 as a silent film with cuts and was in a traditional black and white composition with subtitled imagery and classical scores for background music.

The film screening of The Kidbrought new appreciation to the film as students and members of the public gathered at the historic Lucas Theatre in downtown Savannah Friday, Feb. 22.

The film opens with The Woman, played by Edna Purviance, carrying a baby and exiting a charity hospital. The scene is then juxtaposed with a cut to an image of Jesuscarrying the Christian cross. The scene fades to black and then centers onto The Man, played by Carl Miller, burning a photograph of The Woman.

The film blacks out once again, revealing just the word Alone.The woman sits on a park bench, looks towards the heavens and prays.

Subsequently, she leaves the newborn baby in the backseat of a well-to-do familys car.

Automobile thieves thwart her plans to give the baby a good life and upon their discovery, they leave the baby in a non-descript alley.
The screen then reads, His morning promenade,signifying the arrival of The Tramp, starring Charlie Chaplin. The Tramp walks along the alley and looks befuddled as he hears a baby crying. He spies a woman with a baby carriage and says,

Pardon me, you dropped something.The woman then beats him with an umbrella for what she mistakenly assumes is The Tramp pawning the baby to off to her. After several unsuccessful attempts to leave the baby off elsewhere, The Tramp takes the infant into his own care. It is then when a letter is revealed in the folds of the babys blanket, Please love and care for this orphan child.With the note, The Tramp is convinced to foster the child.

The film then cuts to the sorrowful mother as she is shown regretting her hasty decision and shows her running back to where she left baby. As she realizes what has happened, she faints in the doorway of the wealthy familys home that she had meant the child to live with.

The Kidthen jumps five years in time later. The Tramp has created a makeshift home for The Kid whom he has named John” and himself.

The middle of the film follows the daily routine of The Tramp and The Kid. They make a modest living by working as a pair by conning local shopkeepers and citizens by breaking windows and then repairing them.

Meanwhile, The Woman, after becoming a wildly successful actress, also becomes a benefactor to the public as a way of making amends of the abandonment of her baby. The screen flashes,

Charity-to-some a duty, to others a joy.

As she hugs orphaned children, she sits on the steps right at the front door of the rooming house of John and The Tramp. She and John exchange smiles, woefully ignorant of the nature of their true relationship and she gifts him a stuffed animal.

The Man, John’s biological father, is now a painter of great prominenceand by chance or Fateas the screen displays; The Woman and The Man meet again.

The ending contains a plot twist but remains a happy one. In Chaplins later films, he does not offer happy endings, but rather opts for more somber tones as he shifts from comedy-drama to mostly drama.

The Kidis a must-watch for film buffs and Chaplin lovers alike. For those unable to make the local showing, The Kidis also available to stream for free on Amazon Prime or can be found elsewhere online.

The Kidis just one film in a series provided by the Lucas Theatre. For more information contact lucastheatre.com or call their box office at (912) 525-5050.

 

“Bully” Documentary Screams, “Back Off”

Lila Miller, Arts & Entertainment Editor 

“Is bullying an overarching problem in our school?” is how the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) documentary “Bully” begins. A member of the school’s administration asked the question rhetorically, yet still answered, “no.” In the large room, UH 156, a crowd of student and public viewers could be heard murmuring, “yes,” and “it should be,” vehemently.

Last Tuesday, the Armstrong Campus held a screening of the anti-bullying documentary “Bully” directed by Lee Hirsch to raise awareness and prevention against bullying. Flyers displayed across campus touted the headline, “it takes one” for the campaign.

“Everything starts with one and builds up” is a phrase that signifies standing up against harassment and is echoed throughout the film.

A team of panelists were present to answer post-screening questions, and consisted of: Terry Enoch, a police officer that focuses on at-risk youth; Dr. Quentina Miller-Fields, director of Student Affairs of the Savannah-Chatham County Public School System (SCCPSS); Mackey Linton, an Islands High School student and victim of bullying; and a high school counselor for Chatham County schools.

The documentary itself showcased several different bleak realities of those who have suffered from bullying. The film switches perspectives between victims who have suffered to the extent of suicide or have relocated their families entirely. The reasons for bullying stem from various “causes” including scrutiny over sexual orientation, special needs or simply a lack of popularity.

“Bully” follows individuals, their families and school officials as it navigates the war zone that many American public schools have become.

The real disappointments in the film are the school leaders themselves. The officials are portrayed as sanctimonious and patronizing with an utter lack of empathy for the children being so mercilessly tormented by their peers. “Bully” provides more transparency into the school system and publicizes the need for more preventative measures to keep kids safe online and within the schools of our technologically advanced society.

After the viewing, panelists were asked to respond and shared their initial reactions.

“[I felt] mixed emotions. It [the film] brought back a time when I was a victim of bullying in high school… There’s a responsibility for everyone inside those school walls.

Bullying is real. It exists… I still get emails. I still get phone calls. The film was very impactful. Get involved. Get engaged. We have a shared responsibility. There’s so much more we can do,” Enoch expressed.

Mackey Linton took initiative after being a victim of bullying. Around the time her anti-bullying Youtube video went viral at the age of twelve, Linton started her own organization advocating for bullied children, School Kids Against Bullying (SKAB). Linton is now eighteen and a lot has changed for her in the past six years. Her work with SKAB has influenced school legislation, had local businesses rally around her and provided support and inspiration to victims towards the end of the eradication of bullying.

Linton spoke earnestly about her future and well-being. “I have more friends. Real ones this time,” she remarked.

Allegedly, Dr. Miller-Fields experiences scenarios like the ones shown in “Bully” every day.

“There’s suicide. Girls going to jail for bringing weapons to campus. I could be the author of this kind of documentary,” she said.

A local high school counselor also gave her thoughts on the film. She cited a lack of empathy among teachers and administration that allows bullying to continue, at all levels of schooling.

After the panelists spoke, they opened the forum to field questions from students, parents and other members of the community.

“What are the steps now that are being taken to prevent suicides or violence now? What’s being done by teachers or administration?” asked one student. Each panelist offered current resolutions.

“Educate. Listen. Investigate. We try to be proactive. Character counts,” answered Miller-Fields. She also referenced the 6 pillars of community that schools teach, “Trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring and citizenship.”

The school counselor also urged kindness, embracing diversity and holding monthly meetings with other counselors in the area to provide consistency.

Another student remembers one of the students in the documentary that was a victim of ‘bullycide’, in which the person commits suicide after being bullied.

“What are we doing in Savannah to train our administrators like they are doing less than three hours away from here? She [the administrator] was even condemning the victim,” the student expressed.

Ultimately, when facing bullying, as victim, bystander, teacher and administration, the key is accountability. Everyone within the walls of the school must be held accountable for the actions of bullies and for the responsibility of keeping kids safe.

The PBS documentary “Bully” can be watched online and people can join the movement to eradicate bullying by educating themselves by visiting thebullyproject.com