Chekhov for Children


directed by Sasha Waters Freyer, 71 minutes

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CHEKHOV FOR CHILDREN tells the inspiring story of an ambitious undertaking: the 1979 staging on Broadway of "Uncle Vanya" by New York City 5th and 6th graders, directed by the celebrated writer Phillip Lopate. Using a wealth of never-before-screened student documentary videos and dramatic super 8mm films from the era, CHEKHOV FOR CHILDREN explores the interplay between art and life for a dozen friends across thirty years (including the filmmaker).


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Top reviewer
1 member found this review helpful Created almost 2 years ago. Updated almost 2 years ago.

NYC and public education ideals and funding, the way they were. As I write this I'm lamenting the road not taken. Anyone who was a grade or junior high school kid in the '70's will really appreciate this one.

I would love to see a companion documentary on the students of the P.S. 75 art class whose teacher, when questioned about why kids weren't taking spelling tests and the like, said that she was teaching kids how to perceive the world around them as a primary skill. That skill, and its complete absence from most curricula then and now, will sound familiar to anyone who's read "Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain." What would happen if we taught kids how to do this?

Created about 2 years ago.

This is so amazing! I was in class with you guys. I'm not sure how I came across this, but so glad I did. So many childhood memories came back. Sasha, congratulations on having taken on this project. Well Done!

Top reviewer
Created over 2 years ago.

Excellent, mind opening and (to coin a word from the '70s) mind blowing. Amazing to see the transformation from child to adult, but more amazing to see how insightful children can be when given the pathway to get there. Every school needs a Philip Lopate and every community needs a P.S. 75!

Top reviewer
Created 7 months ago.

Within the past 3 years I was introduced to Dr. Howard Gardner, theorist and researcher of multiple intelligence. One of many of Dr. Gardner's published works, is a book entitled, FRAMES OF MIND. In that book and Dr Gardner's MINDFUL SCRIBBLES, I see the principles and practices that guided both the creative writing teachers and the students at that NYC Public School. Now many schools and classrooms all over the world are using the premise of this film as a template to provide an education that welcomes all of the potential learning streams of the multicultural global classroom. This incredible teaching resource presented in this film, as of this date, December 29, 2014, have not been widely accepted in U.S.A. classrooms or even by the U.S. Department of Education. Excellent film and the lasting tools of the program continued to allow the students to grow, learn, and even negotiate through some lives difficult living experiences, i.e. illegal drug addiction *** Thanks so much for sharing this film.

Created almost 2 years ago.

really enjoyed it very much

Created over 2 years ago.

Wonderful film on so many levels! How capable children are when offered the chance. I loved the interviews when they are adults reflecting back to that time. Makes one nostalgic for their childhood years.

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