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Watch Clip From ‘Teachers’ – a Film on the Education Crisis in the USA, Starring Tatyana Ali

Watch Clip From 'Teachers' - a Film on the Education Crisis in the USA, Starring Tatyana Ali

Set to screen next month at the LA Film Festival, Mark Columbus’ short film “Teachers”
starring Tatyana Ali and Jordyn Barber (pictured above), focuses on the
complications and realities of high poverty education in the United States, “capturing
the difficult and emotional experience educators face when dealing with
students with troubling situations.”

In the film, Ali plays a dedicated but frustrated high
school teacher, Faith, who has a student Ellie (Barber) who’s
been in the 10th grade twice, and will repeat again, if she doesn’t excel on the final exam.

Further… “Anxious and
unnerving to that idea, Ms. Mayfield confronts Ellie, attempting to instill
passion and motivation in her education, though she discovers that Ellie’s
struggles are a direct result of her bigger responsibility in helping out her
family. Eventually, Faith discovers that
her family is flirting with the idea of Ellie dropping out of high school
altogether to work full-time.”

Written by Jason Park and produced by Stephen Love, the film was created in the Project Involve Program at Film Independent and its subject has a personal meaning for Columbus, who also teaches elementary and
high school students filmmaking, as part of the LIFI Youth Cinema Project, since
he was a high school dropout himself; though he eventually graduated from UCLA
after much struggle.

He says about his film: “‘Teachers’ is a film close to my heart. Not because I
agree or disagree with what it has to say about education in the United States
today – but because I have strong empathy for the characters in the story who
lie on both sides of the argument…”

He adds: “I was a
high school dropout, my brother was a drop out as well, and so was my father –
so education was not a priority in my family, who were dealing with economic
hardships. I worked hard in community college and was lucky enough to go to
UCLA where I studied history and was thinking of attending to law school, but
then decided that, with my breadth of experiences, I could be more useful as a
storyteller as opposed to a policy maker – finding power in empathy as an agent
for change.”

Here’s a film
clip from “Teachers.”

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