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Storytelling Class, The

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School Bd/College/University DVD: $250
K-12 Single School DVD: $59.95
Public Library (HUO) DVD: $59.95
Pay per View: $7.50
3 yr Streaming Rights: $250
DVD+3yr Str. Rights: $375


Grade Level: JrH-Adult
Producer: Sedna Pictures Inc.
Closed Captioned: No
Running Time: 60 mins
Country of Origin: Canada
Study Guide: No

Copyright Date: 2009
Available in French: No

Located in Winnipeg's downtown core, Gordon Bell High School is probably the most culturally varied school in the city. One recent survey found 58 different languages spoken by the student body.

A large percentage of this diverse population is made up of children who have arrived as refugees from various war torn areas of the world. Traumatized by violence and displacement and experiencing culture shock in Canada these immigrant children face challenges that are not easily understood by their Canadian classmates.

In an effort to build bridges of friendship and belonging across cultures and histories, Marc Kuly, a dynamic young teacher at Gordon Bell, initiated an after-school storytelling project whereby the immigrant students would share stories with their Canadian peers.
The catalyst for this cross-cultural interaction was the students’ reading of A Long Way Gone by Ishmael Beah. The book is a memoir of Beah’s horrific time as a child soldier in Sierra Leone’s civil war and how difficult it was for him and similarly traumatized children to be rehabilitated after the war ended.
One week, during the course of Marc Kuly’s storytelling project, Beah and his American adoptive mother, Laura Simms who is a renowned professional storyteller, were both in Winnipeg and they agreed to meet with the students to talk about the healing power of storytelling. With their help the students learn to listen to each other and find the commonality that had so long eluded them.
By turns poignant, uplifting, angry and humourous, The Storytelling Class is a remarkable testament to the resilience of the human heart and it’s infinite capacity for forgiveness and redemption.
"A powerful film...The Storytelling Class is not a 'how-to-do' film regarding teaching the art of storytelling, but rather it is an evocative demonstration of how a particular teacher got students, outside of class time, to tell important stories from their own lives. While this film focuses on the experiences of young people in wartorn countries, the techniques illustrated can be used with any group of adolescents or adults.
Highly Recommended."
- CM Magazine, Manitoba Library Association

"For any educators who have the courage to be real about school reform, this video will show you where to begin. Resist the testing and the scripted curriculum, and start with your students' own stories. This program demonstrates how to release the power of your students' intelligence by inviting their authentic voices into the classroom. When the teacher and students in this film create a safe space to share and heal their own pain, they also show us how we might heal the world."  - Gary Howard, Founder, REACH Center for Multicultural Education, Author, We Can't Teach What We Don't Know

"The intensity of each participant's emotions is palpable as the camera records both prepared and spontaneous moments...An excellent choice for classes reading A Long Way Gone and those exploring the collective responsibility to overcome prejudice."
- School Library Journal

"Gordon Bell High is comprised of rich and poor, aboriginals, Afghans, Arabs, Africans, refugees for war-torn countries, immigrants, and a recent influx of Burmese students. Much of the film portrays students talking about their ethnicities and races and how stratified and segregated the school is...Marc Kuly, a teacher, set out to bring students together...The experience 'was like wildfire spreading through the school. Kids loved it.' Recommended."
- Caron Knauer, La Guardia Community College, Educational Media Reviews Online

"Kuly's charges not only learn from each other, but also teach their dedicated instructor a thing or two...Recommended."
- Video Librarian

Special Award Winner - Geminis 2011 - Canada Award
Outstanding Canadian Documentary at the ReelWorld Film Festival in Toronto 2011
Chris Statuette, Columbus International Film & Video Festival
Gold Remi Award, Houston International Film Festival

Screened at:
  • Global Visions Film Festival
  • Gimli Film Festival
  • Global Justice Film Festival
  • Freeze Frame International Film Festival for Kids
  • ReFrame Film Festival
  • American Psychological Association Convention

Links: www.umanitoba.ca/outreach/cm/vol17/no1/thestorytellingclass.html    Review

Related Documents:
The Storytelling Class - Production Notes

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