At the conclusion of the film, I was thrilled to receive an enthusiastic round of applause and cheering from the students (actually even screaming). Thus began an hour long discussion about the making of the film, the story behind the film, and then connections to their daily life. Student, parents, and grandparents, took turns sharing the floor and our conversation covered topics such as ending racism, disappeared neighborhoods, bullying, the individual response to hardship and adversity, leadership, and even connections to the book "To Kill a Mockingbird". I finally had to call the conversation to an end so that we could eat lunch.
After lunch I talked about some of the guidelines I gave myself when making collages to animate in the film. Then I invited students to make collages inspired by the film our or conversation. In the spirit of reuse, I threw in ephemeral bits from the animation that they might be able to incorporate into their own art.
We occupied the space and filled it with energy, conversation, and art-making. As the event ended, several parents commented how much they enjoyed the field trip and that they hoped I would continue to share the film with other schools. I felt a closeness to the families and students and at my school that I had not felt previously. Their willingness to have an open honest dialogue about the issues in the film gave me a lot of courage as I went into the evening screening.