Focus on Facets: Winter Edition

Get a deeper look into our Summer Film School, Teach-In series, Facets Kids Oak Park Library partnership and other programs in the winter edition of Focus on Facets.

Doris Conant to Receive Facets Award Recipient on May 3

Now, more than ever, the world needs Doris Conant – a remarkable fighter for equality, freedom, education, human rights, and social justice. Facets honors Doris Conant at the Facets Screen Gems Benefit on Wednesday, May 3, 2017 at the Arts Club of Chicago. Marjorie Craig Benton and Judy Gaynor are the event’s co-chairs. Reserve your ticket or get more information about Screen Gems 2017.

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Facets Academy Expands Summer Film School

Facets pioneered summer “film camps” for children ages 7-14 twenty years ago, and almost 3,000 kids and teens have graduated from this intensive “boot camp” that teaches the basics of film grammar and language and moves to kids working in diverse teams to conceive, write, storyboard, shoot, act and direct their own short movie.

Now the Facets Academy, which encompasses the broad range of Facets’ educational programs, moves into a new era with a significant expansion of film camp offerings for 2017. The Facets Kids Film Camps expand to Chicago’s suburbs with 2017 camps held in Lake Forest in collaboration with the Gorton Community Center, and to the western suburb of Lisle, Illinois, in cooperation with Benedictine University.

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New “special” camps have also been added for 2017: a Hitchcock Film Camp, in which film historian Therese Grisham will lead the study of the master of suspense to kids who will then create their own Hitchcock-style short film; a week-long Animation Film Camp led by master animator, illustrator and teacher George Berlin, a Feminist Film Camp, developed and led by Facets Executive Director Mary Visconti, and coming this fall, a Horror Film Camp, which will be held on consecutive Saturdays.

Here is a testimonial from 10-year old Alexis, a Film Camp graduate:

“It would be great if more kids like us come to film camp, so we can learn to watch movies with our minds, not just our eyes. And the best part is that when we watch other stuff like movies and TV at home, we’ll know how to question and talk about what we see. You know, watching movies really can make you smarter.”

Oak Park Public Library First City to Adopt Facets Kids

The flagship program of Facets’ long-term digital strategy is Facets Kids – the world’s first curated streaming platform of award-winning films for kids. Children ages 2 to 16 can now watch animated and live-action films at any time and on any connected device. Facets Kids has developed a unique social-emotional filter, and parents able to set the age-level for up to 4 children.

Now Facets is working with the Oak Park Public Library to make the films on Facets Kids available to every Oak Park Public Library member – for free, as a part of their library card membership. Plans are to debut Facets Kids in April, 2017, with a rollout to other regional and national libraries following.


Why Facets Kids matters

Facets Kids matters because what kids watch matters. In over 3,000 studies, the effects of a media culture whose dominant intent is to turn children into passive consumers. Even in animated films and television for the youngest audience, conflict is most often resolved through violence.

Girls and characters from diverse cultures are often absent. “If the next generation – today the generation most vulnerable to media messages – is to grow up capable of saving our planet, they need the tools to understand and critically evaluate what they are watching,” said Facets founder Milos Stehlik. “For four decades, Facets has been working every day to find the best films made by the most talented filmmakers that expand children’s horizons, challenge them to think and expand their empathetic understanding of other people.”

Speaking of the Oak Park Public Library initiative, Stehlik said, “We are thrilled that Oak Park Public Library is the leader in Facets partnering with public libraries to make these films – which before Facets Kids had no distribution in the United States – to children everywhere.”



Facets Teach-Ins Become Public Forum for Civic Engagement

This month, Facets inaugurated a free series of Teach-Ins – screenings of films followed by speaker-led discussions – that use film as a platform for delving into critical issues facing our country and planet.

On February 13, Swiss poet and co-organizer of the Unconditional Basic Income, Enno Schmidt joined WBEZ Worldview host Jerome McDonnell in a packed-house, almost 3-hour discussion of a new approach to economic parity which garnered 24% of the Swiss vote in a public referendum, and is now under consideration in France, Scotland, New Zealand, and Oakland, California. If you missed the event, you can watch the discussion and the Q&A on our YouTube channel.

On March 12 at 1 p.m., Education Professor Emeritus Bill Ayers leads a Teach-In following a screening of Michael Radford’s adaptation of George Orwell’s 1984. The next in the series will feature a screening of the masterpiece of Nazi propaganda, Triumph of the Will, on Sunday, April 2 at 1 p.m., with lecturer Judy Hoffman, Professor of Practice at the University of Chicago and a leading documentary filmmaker. Then we present A Face in the Crowd with Hugo Iglarsh on Sunday, April 23 at 1 p.m., and a Facets Teach-In on healthcare with Michael More’s film Sicko and Dr. David Edelberg, co-founder of Whole Health Chicago, on Monday, May 1 at 6:30 p.m. You can RSVP for each Teach-In on our Eventbrite page.


Academy Award Nomination for Sing

This past October, children in Chicago and in two Chicago Public Schools had a chance to see and discuss the film Sing with director Kristof Deak. Now, thanks to the film’s being screened at the Chicago International Children’s Film Festival, Sing has been nominated for an Academy Award in the category of Best Live Action Short Film. “My Chicago experience was great, especially doing Q&As with a very engaged audience,” said Deak when he was at the Festival this past fall.

Teaching Students Non-Violence Through Film

“Disrespect invites disrespect. Violence incites violence. And, when the powerful use their position to bully others, we all lose.”

Meryl Streep said these now-famous words at the 2017 Golden Globe Awards. For more than 5 years, Facets has been helping students learn the tools to confront bullying and potential violence in our School Violence Prevention program. Films from the platform for discussion to help students understand how to recognize bullying, how situations escalate into conflict, how being a “bystander” in bullying situations is to be complicit, and how to resolve conflict before it starts.

Currently, a four-week anti-bullying program at North Lawndale Elementary School matches Facets media educators and a team of school mentors to enable 5th and 6th-grade students understand how bullying impacts lives.

Help support Facets and all of our pioneering programs by becoming a Facets Member or giving a tax-deductible donation today.

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