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Friday, June 14
12:00 PM - 1:45 PM

Landmark E-Street Cinema

555 11th Street NW, Washington, DC 20004

The First Class

Director

Lee Hirsch

Executive Producers

Laurene Powell Jobs, Russlynn Ali

Producers

Robert Fernandez, Lee Hirsch

Editor

Navzad Dabu

Cinematographer

Jordan Danelz

The First Class is a rousing documentary that immerses viewers into the lives of the very first students and teachers at Memphis’s Crosstown High—a school breaking the mold in a city craving change. With every laugh, lesson and struggle, we watch as these curious learners evolve from anxious ninth graders to proud graduates, their ambitions as boundless as their projects—from dreaming up life on Mars to empathizing with refugees. This film, brimming with humor and emotion, captures their voyage to self-discovery. It’s a compelling appeal for the future of education, spotlighting the transformative journey of learning and the dedicated educators leading the way.

Director, The First Class

Known for creating change through his documentaries, Lee is a film director, producer, and social entrepreneur. His film Bully was released in the spring of 2012 and has been released in over 35 countries and garnered five Emmy nominations along with the prestigious Columbia School of Journalism DuPont Award as well as the Producers Guild of America’s Stanley Kramer Award for igniting social change. Lee has screened Bully at the White House, US Congress, and for Ministers of Education around the world.

Hirsch launched The Bully Project, a social action campaign to leverage the power of the film to inspire parents, educators, and students around the globe. In partnership with various corporations, municipalities and mayors, foundations, and educators, The Bully Project highlights solutions that both address immediate needs and lead to systemic change that can improve school climate and promote social and emotional learning. So far, over 15,000,000 kids have seen the film for free.

He is the founder and creative director of LocalVoices.org, which uses the power of film to put regular voters at the center of political campaigns. In presidential battleground states from Iowa to Georgia, Local Voices has helped working-class Americans—firemen, nurses, veterans, small business owners, and retirees—tell their stories in positive, pro-democratic ads on TV, radio, and the web. Lee Hirsch’s debut feature film, Amandla! A Revolution in Four-Part Harmony chronicles the history of the South African anti-apartheid struggle through a celebration of its musical heroes. This film was released to acclaim, winning the Audience and Freedom of Expression Awards at the Sundance Film Festival and one of the five Emmy awards it was nominated for, among many other honors. Hirsch also directs commercials and other filmed entertainment for Moxie Pictures, enjoys singing out of tune, and lives in Brooklyn.