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Room to Breathe

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School Bd/College/University DVD: $275
K-12 Single School DVD: $110


Grade Level: SrH-Adult
Producer: Video Project
Closed Captioned: Yes
Running Time: 55 mins
Country of Origin: United States
Study Guide: No

Copyright Date: 2012
Available in French: No

Inner city schools across the nation are in serious trouble. In many cities, about half of high school students drop out, and a similar percentage of teachers leave after just five years in the profession.

ROOM TO BREATHE explores one promising solution that has been tested in several dozen public schools – a self-regulatory technique called mindfulness that increases kids’ focus and concentration, self-awareness and impulse control.

The film presents a hopeful story of transformation, following a young mindfulness teacher, Megan Cowan, as she spends several months attempting to teach the technique to troubled kids in a San Francisco public middle school that tops the district in disciplinary suspensions.

Confronted by defiance and contempt, Cowan at first runs into substantial difficulties in the classroom. But under her guidance, the students begin to learn the technique and eventually use it to take greater control over their lives, decrease stress, and better focus in class and at home.

Based on the experiences depicted in the film, as well as results at other schools and independent academic studies, the mindfulness technique appears to have broad potential to significantly improve kids’ social interactions with peers and adults, to reduce bullying and violence, and to improve academic performance and graduation rates.

• Interviews with mindfulness in the classroom experts:
- Megan Cowan, Director of Mindful Schools;
- Dan Siegel, MD, UCLA Clinical Professor of Psychiatry;
- Jon Kabat-Zinn, Ph.D., Emeritus Prof. of Medicine, Univ. of Massachusetts

• Video testimonials from 6 students in the San Francisco class
Scene Selection • Closed Captioned 

“This is a meaningful, moving, and gutsy film that gives hope in the face of adversity. This film provides a powerful glimpse of what is possible when mindfulness is offered in a skillful manner to our youth in their schools.”
– Philippe Goldin, PhD, Department of Psychology, Stanford University

“A beautifully crafted jewel of a documentary. As an educator, my heart and mind were captured by this film and the exquisite tool it provides. This is a film that can change so much with so little. “ – Leslie Leslie, Fred Gellert Family Foundation

“This film beautifully and authentically portrays the power of mindfulness to change individuals, families, one classroom, and perhaps, one day, the world.”
- Diana Winston, Director of Mindfulness Education, UCLA's Mindful Awareness Research Center

"A riveting story of at-risk kids learning to take more control of their lives and actions through the powerful practice of mindfulness. The scientific evidence is overwhelming that the ability to focus, to attend and regulate one's emotions has extraordinary positive benefit…."
– James R. Doty, M.D., Founder and Director, The Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education. Stanford University

"A deeply moving and inspiring film that gave me hope." – Richard Schiffman, Huffington Post


Platinum Reel Award, Feature Film, Nevada Film Festival

Official Selection
Maverick Movie Awards
Ruby Mountain Film Festival
Cine Sol Film Festival
Utopia Film Festival


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