Feature Stories

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation partnership with TFT

"Education Storytelling Initiative" Funds Education-Themed Student Films

"Education Storytelling Initiative" Funds Education-Themed Student Films

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has partnered with TFT to fund eight student films on the subject of Public Education, announced Teri Schwartz, Dean of the School.

"The Gates Foundation's efforts on behalf of education are truly heroic," said Dean Schwartz, "and no issue could possibly be more important. At TFT, we proudly share the profound belief of Bill and Melinda Gates in the power of education to not only vastly improve the lives of individuals, but also enlighten, engage and inspire change for a better world."

Support from the foundation enabled eight UCLA film student teams to write, produce and direct three-minute films about pressing education issues in America. UCLA School of Film, Television and Digital Media Chair Barbara Boyle, who secured the financing, oversaw the project with support from Film Department faculty and staff.

The students selected were from the graduate programs of the Department of Film, Television and Digital Media and worked together in teams of three, including a writer, director and at least one producer.

"We are extraordinarily grateful to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for supporting and funding this project," Boyle commented. "Public education is one of the vital issues today as we must seek to provide educational opportunities to further generations. We are delighted that our young artists are a part of this effort.”

Boyle continued, "The student films explore the critical role of teachers, opportunities for the non-traditional student, and the role of inspired, forward thinkers in creating educational opportunities.”

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation:

Guided by the belief that every life has equal value, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation works to help all people lead healthy, productive lives. In developing countries, it focuses on improving people’s health and giving them the chance to lift themselves out of hunger and extreme poverty. In the United States, it seeks to ensure that all people — especially those with the fewest resources — have access to the opportunities they need to succeed in school and life. Based in Seattle, Washington, the foundation is led by CEO Jeff Raikes and Co-chair William H. Gates Sr., under the direction of Bill and Melinda Gates and Warren Buffett. For more information, visit the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation website.

The Films

Leveling the Playing Field - A former high school football star returns to school as an adult to become a teacher and football coach. Director: Jon Bryant

Voices - Spoken word poetry covering a variety of topics related to education. Director: Judy Phu

Greater Expectations - This performing arts school helps shift the question for students in South Los Angeles from “Are you going to college” to “What college are you going to?” Director: Vanessa Yee

Planting Hope - Pearl Fryar turned discarded plants into a topiary garden success. Moving forward from that success, he established a scholarship fund to nurture community college students. Director: Kimberly Townes

Detroit Summer - Detroit Summer is an program organized by young people to empower students through community based projects. Director: Jessica McMunn

Burning the Midnight Oil - Bunker Hill Community College in Boston offers midnight classes to provide adult students flexible options for education. Directed by Hanjin Park

Boyz Under the Hood — West Philadelphia Auto Academy - At West Philadelphia High School the West Philadelphia Auto Academy formed Team EVX to compete in the Automotive X Prize. Building a 100 mpg car created a project based learning opportunity that provided students with real world experience ranging from engineering to public relations. Director: Luke Slenderbroek

Docs Rock - Docs Rock is a project based learning class where students create a documentary and learn skills that transfer to the real world. Director: Susana Casares