Work hard, save up, sacrifice, and you’ll get ahead. America has long been thought of as the land of upward mobility and opportunity, but over the last decade, this American Dream has been called into question. The Millennial Dream is a feature-length documentary that explores the values that are coming to replace the American Dream. Check out the full length documentary here.
The program is called El Sistema. Every day after school, half a million Venezuelan children receive the gift of music education for free. Not only is this programming turning out world class musicians from the barrios of Caracas, it’s producing world-class citizens, too.
Hemmings House was able to work with the New Brunswick Youth Orchestra (NBYO) to secure the funding to join NBYO President and CEO Ken MacLeod on a research expedition to Caracas, Venezuela. What was captured on film as a result of that journey was the miracle of El Sistema — the program that was changing lives through musical education.
Within a month of returning to Canada in June 2009, the film made its rounds. Through the summer, the film was used to raise the money to start the first Sistema program in New Brunswick in September of that same year — making Sistema New Brunswick the second El Sistema program outside of Venezuela. CBC soon commissioned a documentary to follow the success of the first year of the program. Hemmings House produced Sistema Revolution, a film that has now been seen in countries around the world. South Korea had the film translated to share with its own Ministry of Education.
The film has won several Film Festival awards, and is credited with helping Ken and his team build the movement to get El Sistema off the ground. Today, nearly a decade later, Sistema New Brunswick has multiple sites across the province, and has mentored and helped grow other Sistema programs across North America and the world. Today, there are nearly one thousand children enrolled in the program.
Hemmings House was approached by thought leaders, investors, and business owners in the Atlantic Canadian tech industry to produce a film and social impact campaign to help get computer programming, technology, and the arts into early-age classrooms in a holistic way. Watch the film here.
Tech companies in the Atlantic region have often struggled to get access to skilled talent locally. The solution that many in the region have identified, is moving to make the shift to get technology into the classroom at the earliest ages, taking care to ensure that both girls and boys are given equal access to this education.
Through a number of investments from tech executives and a broadcast license from CBC, Hemmings House was able to travel to Finland and Estonia, two countries pioneering this approach. In these countries, tech is integrated into all areas of education — not relegated only to computer class. A series of interviews, and a short film, were brought back to Canada with the hope that this new approach might inspire people across the country to get excited about the future of technology in the classroom.
Through the process of filming, a number of decision makers were inspired by this story, got involved, and helped accelerate the movement to get tech education into classrooms. After a year of filming, Code Kids was released to the nation on CBC to fantastic reviews.
Before long, a nonprofit organization called Brilliant Labs was formed as a direct result of this film. Brilliant Labs works to give resources to schools, teachers, and students who are passionate about technology in the classroom. In the first four years of Brilliant Labs’ existence, over one hundred maker-spaces have been set-up in schools across the Atlantic region.
Facing incredible physical and emotional challenges, an Arctic musher and his dog sled team travel three thousand kilometres through the wilderness to their new home. Watch the film here.
City On Fire
Comedian James Mullinger discovers a hidden wealth of vibrancy and growth in his new hometown of Saint John, New Brunswick. Watch the film here.
From The Water
From the Water is a film that showcases the ocean and rivers that surround the city of Saint John, and the people who use it as their playground. Watch the film here.
Including Me – Ben George
Including Me is a film for everyone who struggles to find their place in the world. This film explores themes of determination, resilience, and hope through the remarkable story of Ben George and his family. Watch the film here.