To Be Heard

Directors: Amy Sultan, Roland Legiardi-Laura, Edwin Martinez, and Deborah Shaffer
Total Running Time: 87 minutes
Release Date: 2010
Study Guide: To Be Heard – Click Here

To Be Heard is the story of three teens from the South Bronx whose struggle to
 change their lives begins when they start to write poetry. As writing and reciting 

become vehicles for their expressions of love, friendship, frustration, and hope, we
 watch these three youngsters emerge as accomplished self-aware artists, who use

 their creativity to alter their circumstances. A verité film, intimately shot over four

 years, To Be Heard is the story of three friends and the love that develops between

 them as they evolve as artists. This “tripod,” as they call it, is bound by proximity,
 circumstance, and poetry. To Be Heard is also the story of how language links people. Pearl is the support and soul of the three; Karina is the passion and heart; and Anthony

 is the energy and physicality. In a community where friendships are kept tenuous for 

many reasons, these three build a bond based on language, respect, and the need to

survive. In a world where the power to speak and write effectively is a critical survival tool, not just for individuals but for entire societies, To Be Heard stands out as a film about power of literacy and the essential relationship between literacy and democracy. Thomas Jefferson said: “If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be.”

Seattle International Film Festival – Audience Award
Seattle International Film Festival – Special Jury Prize
Sarasota Film Festival – Audience Award
Ellensburg Film Festival – Best Film
DOC NYC – Audience Award
DOC NYC – Grand Jury Prize
Nantucket Film Festival – Audience Award
San Diego Latino Film Festival – Best Documentary

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