Teen Screen Films

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HOLOCAUST FILMS


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A Bag of Marbles

German, Yiddish, Russian, and French, with English subtitles

This is the true story of two young Jewish brothers in German occupied France who, with a mind-boggling mix of mischievousness, courage, and ingenuity, are forced to fend for themselves in order to survive the enemy invasion and bring their family back together.

Recommended for grades 8-12.

Sub-themes: perseverance, coping with adversity, bravery, bystanders versus upstanders, coming of age

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Brundibar Revisited

German, with English subtitles

A Berlin-based youth group stages the opera Brundibar, which was originally performed more than 50 times by Jewish children in the Theresienstadt ghetto. Once immersed in rehearsals, they travel to Theresienstadt, meet a very special Holocaust survivor, and start questioning their complacent attitude towards German history.

Recommended for grades 8-12.

Sub-themes: Propaganda, strength and resilience, art as an escape and as a teaching tool, relationships across generations

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Fanny's Journey

French, with English subtitles

Thirteen-year-old Fanny grows up fast as she is forced to parent a group of younger children on the run from the Nazis. This beautifully shot, heartfelt film highlights a young person’s resolve, bravery, and compassion in the face of great risk.

Recommended for grades 6-12.

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Holocaust Shorts

English, German, and Turkish, with English subtitles

A program of short films curated to introduce students to little known stories of the Holocaust, international film, and different filmmaking techniques. The selection includes documentary, narrative, and animated films.

Recommended for grades 9-12.

Sub-themes: the power of one person to make a change, coping with adversity, response to evil, survival

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Light of Hope

Spanish, with English subtitles

This film tells the inspiring story of Elisabeth Eidenbenz, the director of the Elne maternity home—a refuge for pregnant women fleeing the Spanish Civil War and Vichy refugee camps in the 1930s and 40s. Based on a true story.

Recommended for grades 9-12.

Sub-themes: the power of one person to make a change, heroism, perseverance, survival, strong women

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Nicky's Family

English

For nearly 50 years, Nicholas Winton kept secret how he saved the lives of 669 children from Nazi-occupied Czechoslovakia. Today there are more than 6,000 descendants of the children Winton saved, 26 of which are featured in this moving documentary.

Recommended for grades 7-12.

Sub-themes: the power of one person to enact change, heroism, perseverance

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Once in a Lifetime

French, with English subtitles

A dedicated history teacher enrolls a group of unruly inner-city kids in a national competition whose theme is child victims of the Holocaust. The students are resistant, but a visit to the classroom by a Holocaust survivor moves the bar just enough for some of them to begin the journey to self-enlightenment.

Recommended for grades 9-12.

Sub-themes: role models and mentors, teamwork, overcoming differences, coping with adversity

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Run Boy Run

Polish, German, Russian, and Yiddish, with English subtitles

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. 

Recommended for grades 7-12.

Sub-themes: family ties, loss, bystander/upstander, perseverance, bravery, survival, resistance movement

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Secrets of War

Dutch, with English subtitles

Three best friends pass their days playing soldiers and exploring local caves, mimicking a war that seems far removed from their everyday life. When the realities of war find them, it comes to light that one friend’s family sympathizes with the Nazi cause, another’s 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. 

Recommended for grades 7-10.

Sub-themes: friendship, loyalty, resistance movement

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Genocide Films


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Angkor's Children

English, Kinyarwandan, with English subtitles

After the Khmer Rouge regime tragically killed 90% of artists and intellectuals, the accomplishments of a group of artists provide hope for post-conflict Cambodia. Told through the voices of young women—a singer of Buddhist poetry, a circus artist, and garment workers who form a grassroots protest band—this film demonstrates the power of art to heal a nation after genocide.

Recommended for grades 8-12.

Sub-themes: traditions, national identity, Cambodian history and culture, women’s rights, free speech, healing through art

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Sweet Dreams

English, Kinyarwandan, with English subtitles

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.

Recommended for grades 9-12.

Sub-themes: poverty, Rwandan history and culture, problem-solving, friendship, peace, team-building, personal growth

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HUMAN RIGHTS / SOCIAL JUSTICE FILMS


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Blood Brother

English

A young man from a fractured family and troubled past, Rocky Braat leaves his life, friends, and career to travel through India. There he meets a group of HIV positive children living in an orphanage—and his life changes forever. In an effort to find out what compelled Rocky to reject his life in Pittsburgh for a life of unspeakable hardship in India, his best friend traces Rocky’s story through this beautiful documentary.

Recommended for grades 9-12.

Sub-themes: altruism, coming-of-age, friendship, belonging, abandonment, survival

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Not My Life

English

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.  In a beautiful collage of interviews and footage, this film elucidates a defining human rights issue of our time. 

Recommended for grades 9-12.

Sub-themes: global awareness, human trafficking, modern slavery

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Salam Neighbor

English and Arabic, with English subtitles

Two young filmmakers seek to understand the human side of the Syrian refugee crisis by living among 85,000 Syrians in Jordan’s Za’atari refugee camp, seven miles from the Syrian border. The lives of five Syrian refugees in particular are brought to life in a gripping and personal way, exposing students to a reality they may not have considered.

Recommended for grades 9-12.

Sub-themes: refugee experience, cultural awareness, resilience, collaboration, human dignity, women’s roles, personal growth

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The Starfish Throwers

English

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.

Recommended for grades 6-12.

Sub-themes: cultural awareness, problem-solving, altruism, acceptance, personal growth

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Without a Fight

English

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. Both eye-opening and inspiring, this documentary illustrates the healing power of team athletics.

Recommended for grades 7-12.

Sub-themes: poverty, cultural awareness, problem-solving, friendship, peace, team-building, personal growth

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Liyana

Liyana

English

Five orphaned children in Swaziland work together to craft a fairytale drawn from their darkest memories and their brightest dreams. In their work, they create an inspiring tale of perseverance.

Recommended for all Teen Screen audiences.

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