Bringing Diversity to Documentary

Logo for Kartemquin's Diverse Voices In Docs programI’m honored to have been accepted into the 6-month “Diverse Voices in Docs” program organized by Kartemquin Films and the Community Film Workshop of Chicago. (see HuffPo article) Think of it as an incubator for emerging documentary filmmakers of color.

We’re now done with our very first session and I’ve been blown away by all the talent in the room. So much experience. So much wisdom. We wasted no time on day one. Tasked with introducing everyone to our works-in-progress within 5 minutes, I took the leap to turn an idea that’s been in my head for months, into reality. I’m excited about highlighting and exploring a much heavily praised aspect of Singapore with folks here in Chicago.

Adventures In Learning

The documentary I’m going to be working on throughout the course of the program and beyond will shine a spotlight on innovation in the classroom, before teens enter university. Areas of interest include classrooms that incorporate social entrepreneurship, environmental sustainability, or global citizenship.

Driving Force

The interest in these new curriculums and teaching methods really stem from my experience of growing up in a very “exam-driven” educational system, where school was more about learning to get the good grades than it was about learning… actually learning. I remember feeling like a fish out of water when I first stepped into the classrooms at Northwestern University. “You mean you actually wanna hear my opinion?” And also in constant awe of the number of fellow students around me who truly believed they could change the world.

Research Research Research

I’d like to follow stories both in Singapore and in Chicago. If the above resonates with you, I’d love to chat. In this initial research stage, I’m seeking people who’ve done academic studies on the education systems in Singapore and the US, and those who are directly involved in either education system, whether as a teacher, an administrator, or even as a student with an opinion to share.
At this point, I’m still searching for the right points to cover, characters to follow, and stories to tell. Know someone who fits the bill? Send him/her my way.
Journey With Me
Curious and wanna come along for the ride? Sign up to receive progress updates via my newsletter. :)

How technology is redefining education.

Innovations For Learning has been featured in GOOD Education for our use of computer technology to help teachers track student learning in classrooms. Watch how it all works as my boss Seth Weinberger demonstrates the TeacherMate.

Check out the full article on GOOD here. Thanks to the team at for the great post! Glad I was able to contribute some classroom footage to this.

Great teachers change lives.

If you see only 1 more movie this year, make Waiting For Superman it.

I’ve been fortunate to have some great teachers in school. I’ve no doubt that it’s them i have to thank for where I am in life today. Who were your great teachers? Share your story.

The chance for an education.

I’ve always seen Creative COW as a hugely popular information source and discussion venue for all things film and media. Apart from it being reliable, it’s always had a vibrant community. Now there’s 1 reason to like them even more – The Creative COW Foundation.

Launching this April, the Creative COW Foundation will be helping deserving film and media students cover the costs of their educations, not just in the US, but around the world. Fantastic. (see full article on their newsletter)

As a scholarship recipient myself, I know how much of an impact they make on a student’s life. These opportunities open HUGE doors. I remember receiving an email a year ago about Grace Teng, a Singaporean girl who was so determined to study film in NYU, she started her own fundraising campaign and website to raise money. Through her site called ‘Dreaming Big’ she introduced herself as an “amatuer filmmaker and future NYU undergraduate film student”. She knew she was going to make it happen. The money, she hoped, would come from selling her short films on DVDs and appealing for donations.

I don’t know how her campaign’s going today, but I remember being moved by her fierce determination. Not many youths know deep in their guts exactly what they want to do, let alone work so hard to pursue it. Those who do deserve a shot at it. There is no way I would have been able to get the solid education I did at Northwestern if it weren’t for Ngee Ann Kongsi and the Media Development Authority of Singapore. Seeing Grace’s story, I understood the need for funds and I understood that burning passion. So it was really frustrating for me that there was little I could do to help her out at that time.

That’s why I’m so excited for this. Here’s to more foundations funding education like this. I’d love to see more students, like Grace, being enabled to get that education they so deserve and desire.

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