Post Number: 331
|Posted on Tuesday, May 01, 2007 - 7:57 am:
Full disclosure: The producer of this film has been a friend of mine for more than 40 years.
Award Winning Detroit Documentary Film COLORBLIND
To be Broadcast on Detroit Public Television in Honor of Teacher Appreciation Week, May 7, 2007 at 9:00 PM
On Monday night May 7, 2007 at 9:00 PM Detroit Public Television will broadcast the award-winning documentary film Colorblind in honor of Teacher Appreciation Week. (Please see: www.ColorblindDocumentary.com to view the film’s trailer.)
The story of Colorblind is about one of Detroit’s greatest teachers, Alvin Bell, who touched the lives of thousands of Detroit’s grade school children over his thirty-year career as a Detroit public grade school teacher and principal. Colorblind’s producer/director Pamela Peak was one of Bell’s students during the turbulent years of the 1960s. Colorblind presents an accurate picture of the Detroit’s history during those times and how they affected the children of that generation.
“As a teacher, Mr. Bell impacted the lives of thousands of Detroit public school children in a very positive way” says Peak. “He was just one of those special teachers that you could never forget. He did something very right as a teacher and a principal in The Detroit Public Schools for thirty years. His story and his legacy are now living on to inspire a whole new generation of teachers”, says Peak.
Colorblind has been touching thousands of people’s lives as it screened in film festivals across the country winning numerous awards.
“Colorblind is an uplifting story that Detroiters everywhere can be proud of”, says Peak. “It is our story and Mr. Bell is one of the true ‘treasures of The City of Detroit.’ All of his students feel that way.”
HISTORY OF THEIR STORY
The story of Alvin Bell first made national television in 2004 on The birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King on Good Morning America with Diane Sawyer, when Peak organized a grade school reunion in Detroit after not seeing Bell or the students from her 1960s class for over thirty-five years. Their story was so heartfelt, resonating so strongly with America, that following the response to the national television coverage, Peak knew a documentary film about the story was in order. Thus, the film Colorblind was created in 2005 and went on to win numerous awards in film festivals across the country.
“We were the kids who grew up in the middle of the civil rights era”, explains Peak. Mr. Bell was our ‘port in the storm’ when the riots and news about Dr. King’s assassination came crashing into our childhoods. Mr. Bell was the first African-American teacher our almost all-white class ever had. He taught us to step into someone else’s shoes and view things from the other guys prospective no matter their color of skin. He shared with us what it was like for him to be a young black man in the late 1950s and 60s, and that really meant something to us.”
And when this special grade school class reunited in 2003, they found that they had all lived their lives the way Bell had taught them to do when they were very young.
FINDING HER CLASSMATES
With the help of her “third grade boyfriend Timmy Lysinger”, Peak located all thirty-two members of their close-knit grade school class. “With each classmate we found, tears of joy were shed. We had not seen each other since the age of twelve.” And then something amazing occurred: “Each classmate uttered the same identical words”, says Peak. “They would say ‘Where’s Mr. Bell? That man impacted my life more than any other teacher.’”
When Bell was found in 2003, now close to seventy years old, he remembered each and every student from this special grade school class. He, too, had considered this group of children very special. He had snapped a little picture of this class in 1968, their last year with him. When they reunited in 2003, they found that 80% of the students had kept that picture all these years.
As their story in the film Colorblind has traveled the country, Peak has found other students who had Mr. Bell as a teacher in the City of Detroit. “They all said the same thing about this wonderful man” says Peak. “He had a way of communicating to children that got through. He helped us to understand that we are all a part of one human family. He would simply get us to express our own viewpoints as children and found there was a lot of love in each child’s heart.”
BROADCAST ON DETROIT PUBLIC TELEVISION
Detroit Public Television (Channel 56) is proud to present Colorblind on Monday night May 7, 2007 at 9:00 PM. “It was only fitting that we air this story in honor of Teacher Appreciation Week”, said DPTV’s VP of Production and Station Enterprises, Jeff Forster. “Mr. Bell did something very right as a teacher. Colorblind brings back memories of great teachers we have all experienced. In that way Colorblind honors the entire teaching profession”.
Colorblind will air in Detroit starting on May 7, 2007 and then be distributed nationally through American Public Television in early 2008. Jeff Forster predicts that 90% of the PBS stations across the country will pick up this Detroit based documentary film.
I've seen the film, and it's a warm, uplifting look at a man who had a huge, positive impact on a whole slew of Detroit school kids. If you want groundbreaking, cutting-edge cinema, you might be disappointed. If you want a film that shows how one dedicated teacher can make a difference in the lives of uncountable numbers of kids, make sure to see Colorblind.
(Message edited by vic_doucette on May 01, 2007)
Post Number: 333
|Posted on Sunday, May 06, 2007 - 8:33 am:
Post Number: 424
|Posted on Tuesday, May 08, 2007 - 4:38 pm:
Saw it last night. It was great.