Douglas Crets


Giving Credibility to the Shadow Education System

Teacher-Directed Ed Reform Flick Attempts Oscar Nominee Bid

Here’s a little press release we sent around today.

Teacher-Directed Doc Confronts Literacy Crisis Head-On

Film Has Won Six Recent Awards, Tracks Three Bronx Teens Escaping Poverty through Poetry

See “To Be Heard” at AFI Silverdocs in Silver Spring, Maryland June 24-25, 2011

We are inviting you to attend any of two special screenings of a documentary that is this year’s best education documentary effort at tackling the literacy crisis facing American schools. {ut together by a team of educators over the past five years, “To Be Heard” charts what can sometimes be an emotionally brutal process of learning in one of the nation’s poorest neighborhoods.

NO FANCY CGI TRICKS OR POLICY SCHTICK — This Possible Oscar Nominee Tells the Truth About Learning In American Education

Many of the education reform films that have come out in the past two years have worked the angle that big budgets, radical transformations of school processes and eliminating teachers is the only way to saving the lives of urban students around the country. The collaborative effort put together by New York City writing instructors Roland Legiardi-Laura and Amy Sultan, and two other directors over five years, shows that really good teaching, and dedication to students’ lives can help even the bleakest of the bleak.

The screenings will occur twice at the prestigious AFI Silverdocs Festival in Silver Springs, MDClick here to reserve your tickets.

Friday, June 24, 2011 at 12.45pm – Directors and student stars in attendance
Saturday, June 25, 2011 at 10.30pm – Directors and student stars in attendance

Please send this around to your social networks and to your readers, so that anyone in the Washington, DC and Baltimore area can see this powerful film.

“What could have been a by-the-numbers inspirational lesson is transformed by the brilliance of collaborative filmmaking, the weight of time, the vitality of the kids and the power of their poetry into an exemplary work.” Ronnie Scheib, Variety

How did a struggling Bronx teenager responsible for bringing home the only paycheck for her family survive high school and get into the most expensive liberal arts college in the country? She became more than functionally literate. She crafted a strong voice for herself and cultivated self-awareness through writing in one of the toughest neighborhoods in the country.
Pearl Quick, who will attend Sarah Lawrence in the Fall, is one of three Bronx teens who contend with reality in “To Be Heard,” a collaborative documentary that is .

Watch the trailer by visiting this link:


“The majority of the 22 million young men and women[of color] (or 44 percent of all students served by American public education) are functionally illiterate. They are not likely to get the intensive reading remediation they need to become successful in school. They will ultimately drop out of school and dive into poverty and prison.They are less likely to be able to play sophisticated, thoughtful roles in discussing issues that face our communities and thinking through ideas that make or break civilizations.” RiShawn Biddle, Dropout Nation

“To Be Heard” documents the literacy crisis claiming lives in America:

  • Though scores narrowed in the last (2009) reported NAEP Achievement Gap report, there is still a persistent and troubling gap in the reading literacy rates held by Blacks and Whites. 1
  • Over 32 million people are functionally illiterate in this country, creating profound implications for the nation’s health, economy, and government. 2
  • Nearly 25% of America’s students, and nearly44% of students of color fail to graduate high school on time. 3

This erosion in our learning is slowly chipping away at the functional roots of American democracy. The students filmed in “To Be Heard” are only three examples of how a life-changing poetry class in the Bronx, NYC may have a tenable answer to the literacy crisis facing our country.


“To Be Heard” documents Power Writing, a unique writing class at University Heights High School in the Bronx that uses poetry to create opportunities for kids who are becoming the first ever in their families to attend four-year colleges. One of them is Pearl Quick. “To Be Heard” is her story, and the story of two of her peers.

Pearl will begin attending Sarah Lawrence College this fall on a full-scholarship after honing her craft as a writer and poet in the Power Writing class .

·  Grand Jury Prize at the DOC NYC Film Festival
·  Audience Prize for best film in the Festival: DOC NYC Film Festival
·  Grand Jury Prize San Diego Latino Film Festival
·  Audience Prize For Best Documentary Film: Sarasota Film Festival
·  Grand Jury Special Prize: Seattle International Film Festival
·  Audience Prize for Best Documentary in the Festival, Seattle International Film Festival

Thank you for your dedication to boosting literacy rates in this country. You do this every day by telling the compelling news and analysis stories that will improve this nation’s education system.  Please pass this along to people in the DC area and beyond who will benefit from knowing this film exists.

For important information about “To Be Heard” and the PowerWriters Program, visit the website.

For more information read Sharon Otterman’s review in The New York Times

The film will also be shown in Nantucket at the Nantucket Film Fest:
Nantucket FF Ticket purchase link

Screening Times:                              2:00 PM Thu, Jun 23 ** Note: Filmmaker in attendance Bennett Hall
3:00 PM Sun, Jun 26 ** Note: Filmmaker in attendance Bennett Hall


Roland Legiardi-Laura, Director and Educator, Power Writing, Bronx, New York
Amy Sultan, Director and Educator, Power Writing, Bronx, New York
Douglas Crets, Director, dB C Media, New York, New York

Contact us:
To Be Heard Productions
212-529-9327 (o)
917-499-1993 (m)


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