Watch Write Now

Discovering Cinematic Reflections & Developing Critical Eyes
Program Developed by TT Stern-Enzi

The philosophical foundation for Watch Write Now resides in three questions (What does it mean to be human, modern, and American?) taken from the introduction of The Cornel West Reader. Dr. West, as a leading academic and philosophical thinker, argues passionately for bringing such critical thinking out of the classroom into the real world, and what better way than to involve students, especially teens from challenging backgrounds, in these exchanges.

Film is the most democratic medium for this audience. They are already familiar with the language and the format, plus they are more engaged as viewers (and far more likely to invest in film’s canon than in literature’s). Film is the gateway that could open the cultural floodgates for them, so why not develop a mobile educational film series devoted to exposing this audience to influential cinema and challenging them to find themselves in those dark reflections?

The writing sessions branch out from the questions to broader topics involving commercials, music videos, television, and film with an eye towards not only whether or not the students like what they see, but also delving into how such projects evolve from an idea to the polished narrative productions. Ultimately, the intention always returns to the stories themselves and how students can discover, from watching and critically analyzing these works of art, ways to creatively tell their own stories, in their own words.

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