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Film Forward and Stanley Nelson visit The Cinema School in the Bronx

Film Forward and Stanley Nelson visit The Cinema School in the Bronx

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Photos of imprisoned freedom riders and a burning bus were scattered along the walls of The Cinema School for a week leading up to the visit. One student stopped and asked, who are the freedom riders and what did they do?

Finding out was not easy, participating in the screening required students to complete homework assignments, research and the prepare questions to engage Stanley Nelson, Director of Freedom Riders with dialogue. We screened the film over three days and on the third day we were paid a visit by the filmmaker. The discussion was moderated by TCS Cinema Studies teacher Peter Moore who also asked Mr. Nelson questions regarding his approach to making this film.

Since TCS opened in 2009, we’ve had numerous visits from filmmakers interested in connecting with youth like David O. Russell, Spike Jonze and Charles Stone III. The opportunities for young adults to engage filmmakers in dialogue makes this school unique and provides our students with a structure for social standards in the film industry.

Group shot of Cinema School Students, Stanley Nelson, Peter Moore, Patricia Finneran and The Ghetto Film School and Cinema School participants. Photo by Andrés Santiago.

Students were particularly excited about meeting with Stanley Nelson. Over the three days the film was screened, most students returned to watch the film more than once. They were moved by the story being told, they were appalled at the conditions the freedom riders were subjected to and they were inspired by Nelson’s vision and drive to create this film. Stanley Nelson explained to his young audience that everyone has a story to tell, from the old lady at the supermarket to our own family members and even ourselves. Those words resonated through the halls of The Cinema School and since then, I’ve received more requests for camera rentals than ever before. The realization that events that shape the future of this world are happening right now are sitting in the minds of our students in light of the recent Wall Street protests and they are eager to document history taking place.

Film Forward has helped give our students one of those unforgettable moments that will sit with them for years to come. We are grateful for filmmakers like Stanley Nelson who help inspire the young creative minds at The Cinema School and for Sundance Institute for bringing Film Forward to the Bronx.