An Educational Field Trip that Changes Attitudes – and Lives.
“Straight to the point, (the movie) was amazing. It was like my heart just opened up and spilled right out on the theatre floor. It made me think how I want to continue to write. It made me think how I can help change someone’s life. It made me want to be a better person. Last but not least, it made me realize that I want to reach out to those with troubles who feel like they have no one to turn to.”
– Student, Pittsburgh Perry High School
Learning through a Different Lens
Educators know that each of us learns differently—through visuals, sound and music, and/or verbal transmission of information. Students also process information differently—some independently, through logic and reasoning; others through social interaction, such as sharing insights or undertaking a group project.
Teen Screen incorporates all of these into a brief (roughly two-hour) experience. Students and teachers come together at a commercial theater to watch and discuss films of historical, cultural, and social significance–and walk away changed forever.
A program of Film Pittsburgh, Teen Screen facilitates exploration of important, often difficult, topics through film. Teen Screen attracts 4-5,000 students and teachers each year. Our films help Pennsylvania educators comply with state recommendations to expose students to the Holocaust, genocide, and human rights violations (Act 70).
Thanks to generous support from local foundations, this program is FREE to middle and high school students.
Want to learn more about Teen Screen opportunities? Click here to sign up for our Teen Screen e-newsletter.
Please click on film title for more info and to view trailer
This film demonstrates the power of art to heal a nation after genocide, told through the voices of young women—a singer of Buddhist poetry, a circus artist, and garment workers who form a grassroots protest band. They are members of the generation after the Khmer Rouge regime that tragically killed 90% of artists and intellectuals, and their accomplishments provide hope for post-conflict Cambodia. Theme: Genocide Sub-Themes: Traditions, National Identity, Cambodian History and Culture, Women’s Rights, Free Speech, Healing through Art
Rocky Braat, a young man from a fractured family and troubled past, left his life, friends, and career to travel through India without a plan. There he met a group of HIV positive children living in an orphanage—a meeting that changed everything for him. In an effort to find out what compelled Rocky to reject his life in Pittsburgh, PA, for a life of unspeakable hardship in India, his best friend decided to trace Rocky’s story, resulting in this beautiful film. Theme: Human Rights/Social Action Sub-Themes: Altruism, Coming-of-Age, Friendship, Belonging, Abandonment, Survival
Hans Krasa’s children’s opera, Brundibar, was performed more than 50 times in 1943 and ’44 by Jewish children in the Theresienstadt ghetto. Performances simultaneously served as a propaganda tool for the Nazis and as a source of strength by the imprisoned performers. In this film, a Berlin-based youth theatre group stages the opera. The members of the group are ethnically diverse young people who have faced significant life challenges. When they first hear about this project, they question why they are being asked to take a look at the Holocaust again. However, once immersed in rehearsals, they travel to Theresienstadt, meet a very special Holocaust survivor, and start questioning their complacent attitude towards German history. Theme: Holocaust Themes: Propaganda, strength and resilience, art as an escape and as a teaching tool, relationships across generations
Fanny’s Journey tells the incredible story of a teenage girl who escapes Nazi-occupied France, along with her two sisters and several other children, by fleeing to the Swiss border. In route, Fanny is thrown into a leadership position, bravely holding the group of children together in the face of great risk. Fanny’s Journey is based on a true story. Theme: Holocaust Sub-themes: Loss, Bystander/Upstander, Perseverance, Bravery, Survival, Resistance Movement
The arrival of Hana Brady’s battered suitcase to the director of the Holocaust Museum in Tokyo prompts the director and her students to uncover the details of Hana’s life. As small children, Hana and her brother, George, were sent to Theresienstadt for being Jewish after the Nazis invaded Czechoslovakia in 1939. Children from Japan, Canada, and the Czech Republic, along with George Brady, who survived the Holocaust, describe Hana’s story, creating a film of astonishing power and hope. Theme: Holocaust Sub-Themes: Bullying, Children and Children’s Rights, Japanese culture, Persistence, Teamwork, Tolerance
In 1939, Nicholas Winton saved the lives of 669 children from Nazi-occupied Czechoslovakia by bringing them across Hitler’s Germany to his native Britain. For nearly 50 years, Winton kept secret how he rescued these children. There are more than 6,000 descendants of the children Winton saved—and all of them owe their lives to this gentle, unassuming hero, who just this year passed away at 106. Twenty-six “rescued children” from all over the world are featured in the film, among them CBC correspondent Joe Schlesinger, who narrates. Theme: Holocaust Sub-Themes: Heroism, Determination, Survival, Altruism, Global Citizenry, Social Action
Filmed on five continents and in a dozen countries, this film takes viewers into a world where millions of children are exploited every day, through an astonishing array of practices including forced labor, domestic servitude, begging, sex tourism, sexual violence, and child soldiering. This film is a beautiful collage, combining interviews with and footage of victims, escapees, aggressors, and several who seek to overcome this global problem. For the Teen Screen audience, it will be an education about what is perhaps the defining human rights issue of our time. Theme: Human Rights/Social Action Sub-Themes: Global Awareness, Human Trafficking, Modern Slavery
A dedicated history teacher at a French high school taps lessons of the Holocaust in an effort to motivate her troubled students. Initially reluctant to participate, everything changes for the students when they meet a Holocaust survivor. These once rebellious teens soon begin to see one another—and themselves—in a whole new light. Based on a true story. Theme: Holocaust Sub-Themes: Diversity, Teamwork, Overcoming Adversity, Personal Development
This film tells the extraordinary true story of a Polish boy who seeks the kindness of others in his solitary struggle to outlast the Nazi occupation and keep alive his Jewish faith. Some help him survive and others betray him. Just when it seems his childhood memories and identity could be lost forever, his journey culminates in a powerhouse conclusion and postscript. Theme: Holocaust Sub-Themes: Family Ties, Loss, Bystander/Upstander, Perseverance, Bravery, Survival, Resistance Movement
Given the recent escalation of the Syrian refugee crisis, Salam Neighbor is a timely addition to the TEEN SCREEN films roster. In Salam Neighbor, two young filmmakers seek to understand the human side of this contemporary issue by living among 85,000 Syrians in Jordan’s Za’atari refugee camp, seven miles from the Syrian border. This film provides insights into the refugee crossing process, entry into Jordan, initial aid upon arrival, registration, setting up a “home” in the camp, coping with the transition, and living there long-term. By focusing on five Syrian refugees, the themes and storylines are brought to life in a gripping and personal way, exposing students to a reality they may not have considered. Theme: Human Rights/Social Action Sub-themes: Refugee Experience, Cultural Awareness, Resilience, Collaboration, Human Dignity, Women’s Roles, Personal Growth and Development
Three best friends pass their days playing soldiers and exploring local caves, mimicking a war that seems far removed from their everyday life. Soon enough, the realities of war find them, and we learn that one friend’s family sympathizes with the Nazi cause, another’s family supports the resistance, and the third is Jewish, passing as a Christian to survive. Coping with these differences puts their friendship in jeopardy and their lives in danger. Theme: Holocaust Sub-Themes: Courage, Friendship, Betrayal, Resistance Movement, Occupation
Rwanda’s first and only all-female drumming troupe is made up of women from both sides of the 1994 Rwandan genocide, offering a place for reconciliation. When the troupe decides to partner with two young American entrepreneurs to open Rwanda’s first ever ice cream shop, these remarkable women embark on a journey of independence, peace, and possibility. Interweaving personal stories with powerful music, this film is a moving portrait of a country in transition. Theme: Genocide Sub-Themes: Poverty, Rwandan History and Culture, Problem-Solving, Friendship, Peace, Team-Building, Personal Growth and Development
Worlds apart, a five-star chef, a twelve year old girl, and a retired schoolteacher discover how their individual efforts to feed the poor ignite a movement in the fight against hunger. Teen Screen audiences will follow these three global citizens as they work in India, South Carolina, and Minnesota to overcome unexpected challenges as they persevere in their mission and see their impact ripple further than they would have ever expected. Theme: Human Rights/Social Action Sub-Themes: Cultural Awareness, Problem-Solving, Altruism, Acceptance, Personal Growth and Development
Set in a slum in Nairobi, Kenya, against a backdrop of bloody political unrest, village youth put aside their often warring ethnic and religious tribalism to battle for supremacy on the soccer field. This is a look into life in a conflict-ridden, very poor village, where players’ participation is inhibited by such things as hunger and lack of shoes. Both eye-opening and inspiring, this film shows the healing power of team athletics. Theme: Human Rights/Social Action Sub-Themes: Poverty, Cultural Awareness, Problem-Solving, Friendship, Peace, Team-Building, Personal Growth and Development
About The Films
Teachers choose from a selection of films running the gamut from English-language documentaries to foreign-made narratives with subtitles. Flexible scheduling makes it easy to incorporate Teen Screen into the school year. The films’ themes align with humanities curricula, including social studies and history, English, foreign languages, art, and music. Further, Teen Screen offers films that address the Holocaust, genocide, and human rights violations, considered to be important topics by the Pennsylvania State Department of Education.
The films are compelling and filled with rich details that challenge students to think about and explore topics of substance. Films focusing on the Holocaust, in particular, encourage students to consider issues that are timeless and, thus, relevant in their everyday lives, such as bullying and the acceptance of individuals who are different. Each film screening is followed by a “talk back,” led by an experienced educator who encourages students to articulate their impressions and viewpoints in a non-threatening exchange with classmates, teachers, and peers from other schools.
Before & After
Prior to the screening, teachers are provided with a study-guide to prepare students for viewing the film. Teachers can opt to welcome a Teen Screen educator to their classroom for a “Quick Lesson”—a 45-minute session to introduce students to the film’s historical context and content, important vocabulary, and technical aspects. Following the field trip, students write a brief reflection about their experience. Many students note that Teen Screen greatly expanded their understanding of the world and the people in it, or inspired them to behave differently. Teachers also evaluate the program, often noting that they find Teen Screen to be a valuable supplement to their curriculum. The films bring important topics to life in ways that reading materials and classroom discussions simply cannot.
For more information and to reserve your seats, please email Teen Screen Director Lori Sisson at email@example.com.