Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Our Little Roses Film: Eyes Will Open: Teaser Goes Live!

Our Little Roses Film: Eyes Will Open: Teaser Goes Live!: (Our Little Roses Film Teaser) By Brad Coley Director Well, March usually brings some early blooms and here we have the first ...

Thursday, February 14, 2013

SMM Launches Our Little Roses Film and Production Blog



Photo: Girls in San Pedro Sula, Honduras

In December, 2012, an Episcopal Priest traveled to Honduras, the poorest Spanish-speaking country in the Western Hemisphere and, in that, the murder capital of the world -- San Pedro Sula -- to teach poetry to a score of orphaned teenage girls at Our Little Roses orphanage, at the edge of one of the city's ram shackle barrios.

Even before Padre Spencer Reece stepped off the plane to begin his year-long mission -- a Fullbright scholarship to "make a book of poems with the girls, having them write the poems of their stories for the world to hear" -- the Stories Matter Media production crew was already there filming. And we plan to continue filming for many weeks, periodically, over the full course of the year.

Our crew of filmmakers -

   Director (East of Acadia, The Undeserved)
   Producer (Shallow Waters, Principal, Stories Matter Media)
   Director of Photography (Nadja, Working Girls)
   Assistant Director of Photography (Etude in Black, Trash and Progress)

Also involved in the project:
James Franco, Executive Producer (127 Hours, As I Lay Dying)
Dar Williams, Composer

- has been riveted by the girls' stories we've heard and we share Padre Reece's belief in the power of creative storytelling.

A Transformative Process - Through our filming, we will capture a handful of girls' inward and upward journeys, as they dramatically unfold inside the orphanage and against the backdrop of the surrounding sprawl of San Pedro Sula, creating indelible memories of the girls' faces, voices and stories that the movie-going crowd will not soon forget.

A Transformative Film - Telling a story is only the first half of the project. The other half will be sharing these girls' voices with the world.  We're already planning a national tour into poetry classes, school assemblies, film festivals, and other gatherings. If you'd like to sign up for a screening in your community, please contact us (contact below).

Artists, priests and laypersons, there are many ways you can support the making of this important film, including following our production blog, in which we'll tell you all about making the film, so please contact us to learn more.

cassidy(at)storiesmattermedia.com
415.322.8047

The journey ahead, which we'll be making three times over the course of Padre Reece's one-year Fullbright mission:
map showing the journey ahead, which we'll be making three times over the course of Padre Reece's one-year Fullbright mission
The journey ahead, which we'll be making three times over the course of Reece's one-year Fullbright mission.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Occupy Oakland Shuts Down the City

With picket lines forming around banks, thousands marching to shut down the port - and then the inevitable vandalism by the .001 of the 99 percent - there was simply too much action happening in Oakland this week for Stories Matter Media to pass it up.

This video, unlike many others blanketing the Web, tells the story of the people who have been affected by foreclosures rather than pandering to our lowest common denominator tastes that want only to see the firebombs, masked crusaders hammering down storefront windows, and violent confrontations with cops.

As storytellers, we chose to go deep with a few protesters rather than cast a wide net in an effort to cover all the events of the day.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

The Making of a Great Teacher


A closer look at some of the top teachers at Gateway Public Schools was well overdue.

The teaching model of the public charter High School in San Francisco has long since been nationally renowned -- small class sizes, emphasis on college prep and a comprehensive out-of-class tutoring program that helps students get ahead. That model helped attract an oversized pool of families to apply for spots in its middle school, which opened in fall.

But less known are the idiosyncrasies of the school's outstanding teaching staff. In this video, four teachers describe the arc of their career as educators, the challenges and uncertainties they faced along the way and the success stories that ultimately came of them. We see how even the best teachers were once rookies, at times overwhelmed or out-of-place, and how their own learning curves instilled unique teaching styles and passion to work with children.

Monday, September 26, 2011

SMM Captures Unforgettable Multimedia Experience at JCC

SMM is proud to have been selected by the Foundation for Jewish Culture to capture the sensational multimedia musical performance of Monajat held this weekend at the San Francisco Jewish Community Center.

Monajat, an evening of Middle Eastern musical poetry, inaugurates the New Jewish Culture Network, an initiative to create and deliver outstanding Jewish music and other art forms to audiences in the U.S. and beyond.

For those who could not attend, FJC hopes to release the video of the performance in its entirety, and plans to integrate the footage into a fundraising video very soon.

Here are a couple sneak peeks:


Thursday, August 4, 2011

A School Development Team's Video Postcard

Previously, they might have mailed parents a Thank You postcard.

But after The Development Team at The Hamlin School partnered with Stories Matter Media, they were able to present parents who had helped raise millions of dollars for the school with something they had never seen before -- a video thanking them for their generous contributions and support.

This video shows that all messaging once considered the exclusive domain of the printed word, can now be expressed through video. And, when done right, with even greater impact.

Monday, April 4, 2011

A Small Sample Goes A long Way


Fania Davis knew she had a story.

Actually, the director and co-founder of Restorative Justice for Oakland Youth Director can name hundreds of students in Oakland public schools whose downward spirals her organization is credited with turning around. And thanks to a recent study measuring RJOY's progress, Davis now has the stats to prove her organization is a powerful tool for preventing violence in one of the world's most crime-ridden cities and improving academic standards in its schools.

RJOY hired Stories Matter Media to make the case for RJOY, which according to its mission, seeks to "fundamentally shift the way we respond to youthful wrongdoing from punitive approaches that inflict more harm to restorative approaches that repair it."

We took a small sampling of success stories -- two students; Jasmine King, a wannabe gang-banger in middle school and Eric Myles, a high-schooler who never thought he'd survive adolescence. The reshaping of their lives through restorative justice puts a pair of human faces on the statistics: an 82 percent drop in suspensions, zero expulsions, a dramatic uptick in test scores, and perfect teacher retention, while restorative justice was implemented.

Davis has already presented the video in an appeal for donations at the Rotary Club. She has begun circulating the video online to raise funds and to educate the public about RJOY. She will also be able to embed the video on RJOY's site and link the video in grant applications.

Thursday, March 24, 2011


After we produced a micro-documentary for New America Media on Restorative Justice in Oakland, which ran March 24, Restorative Justice for Oakland Youth hired Stories Matter Media to produce an informational video on how the alternative model is being applied in Alameda County's juvenile courts and schools across Oakland.

Shoots are complete. Editing is already underway. Stay tuned to our blog to see the final video!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Micro-Documentary: Expelling Expulsion

Can Restorative Justice Save Struggling Oakland Schools?


Two decades after schools across the United States stepped up expulsions and began doubling suspensions, so-called “zero tolerance” policies have failed to make good on a promise to stem misbehavior and reduce violence in schools, according to researchers at UC Berkeley School of Law. But research into alternative policies is virtually non-existent.

Pacific News Service hired Stories Matter Media producer Cassidy Friedman to cover the ongoing battle Oakland is waging to usher in an alternative discipline model called Restorative Justice.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Hamlin Student Wins NASA Space Contest



You may have noticed there's a lot of winning cropping up in this blog. That says a lot about the quality of education at The Hamlin School, which I produced both this video, and one lower down the page, for. But I suspect there are many, many stories like this going unnoticed.

Too few reporters are on the street. And not enough schools are hiring journalists to dig up their stories.

Here's a tidbit from NASA for any science wonks who might be interested in the particulars of the contest:

"Kids in Micro-g" is a student experiment design challenge geared toward grades 5-8. Its purpose is to give students a hands-on opportunity to design an experiment or simple demonstration that could be performed both in the classroom and aboard the International Space Station (ISS).

The winning experiments will have observably different results when the experiments are performed in the "1-gravity" or "1-g" environment of the classroom, compared to when the experiments are performed by Astronauts in the "Micro-g" environment (one-millionth of 1-g) environment of the ISS. The apparatus for the demonstration must be constructed using materials from a materials tool kit provided to the astronauts on board the ISS. The tool kit consists of materials commonly found in the classroom and used for science demonstrations.

The experiment demonstration must take no more than 30 minutes to set up, run and take down.

Experiment proposals should be limited to no more than 7 pages in length in either Microsoft Word or PowerPoint format or a Word or PowerPoint file converted to PDF format. A font size of no smaller than 11 point (the size of this type) should be used. Hardcopy experiment proposals submitted by postal mail should provide text and graphics on one side only, for a submission length of no more than 7 total sheets. All experiment proposals should include photographic documentation of the proposed experiment in its fully set up configuration, as part of the 7 page total document length.

The following details must be contained in the experiment proposal:
1) Subject of the experimental investigation
2) Hypothesis of the expected outcome in the classroom and onboard the International Space Station (ISS)
3) StepbyStep experiment procedure, to be written for use by the ISS Astronauts. The procedure must include the following information:
a. Experiment assembly and set up instructions (only using items from the Kids In Microg materials list)
b. Instructions for running the experiment
c. Instructions for experiment take down
d. Instructions for data gathering and recording during the experiment run
e. Instructions for data analysis
4) Conclusions:
a. Observed from experiment runs in the class room
b. Expected results from the experiment when conducted onboard the ISS
5) Observed inclassroom time for actual experiment setup, experiment run and experiment take down,
using the exact stepbystep procedures provided in 3) above.
6) References used for experiment development

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