|For Immediate Release|
|August 7, 2007|
Orange County's KOCE Television Welcomes Teachers and Students
To welcome all OC teachers and students back to school, on Sunday afternoon, September 2, 2007 at 1:00 PM Orange County Public Television Station KOCE will broadcast a sneak preview of the award-winning documentary film Colorblind prior to this stirring film's official release nationally in 2008 on PBS stations.
OC filmmaker, Producer/Director Pamela Peak is pleased to have the story of Colorblind playing in her home county.
Peak, a long-time resident of Lake Forest, was born and raised in Detroit where her childhood story took place. However, 60% of Colorblind was shot in Orange County and 80% of the post production work was performed here.
To Peak's great surprise, she found several of her closet grade school classmates (who are in the film) living now in Orange County.
Peak found these long-lost classmates on-line when she went "searching for a bit of her past" in 2003. "Although we were all born and raised in Detroit, I couldn't believe that several of my closest classmates (more like long-lost brothers and sisters) were living their lives right in my own backyard in Orange County." says Peak. "When we were reunited here in Orange County our childhoods came flooding back to us."
THEIR UNIQUE STORY
Peak's search for her close-knit grade school classmates ended up in a nationally televised grade school reunion in honor of their favorite teacher "Mr. Bell" and the story ultimately became the award-winning film Colorblind. Their reunion story honoring their beloved teacher "Mr. Bell" and how he had touched their lives was covered by Diane Sawyer and Robin Roberts and aired on Good Morning America on The Birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King in 2004.
The response to that story was so strong and the subject matter so heartfelt that Peak knew a documentary film was in order. Thus, Colorblind was created in 2005 and 2006, went on to win multiple film festivals awards across the country and then was picked up by American Public Television, the major distributor for PBS stations nationally.
“Our grade school class consisted of kids who grew up in the middle of the civil rights era”, explains Peak. "Mr. Bell was our 'port in the storm’ when race riots and news about Dr. King’s assassination came crashing into our childhoods. Mr. Bell was the first African American teacher our almost all white class ever had. He taught us to step into someone else’s shoes and view things from the other guy's prospective no matter their color of skin. He shared with us what it was like for him to be a young black man in the late 1950s and 60s, and that really meant something to us.”
And when this special grade school class reunited in 2003 at the age of forty-six, they found that they had all lived their lives the way Bell had taught them when they were very young.
FINDING HER CLASSMATES
With the help of her “third grade boyfriend Timmy Lysinger” who is now a resident of Carlsbad and working in Orange County, Peak located all thirty-two members of their close-knit grade school class. “With each classmate we found, tears of joy were shed. We had not seen each other since the age of twelve.” And then something amazing occurred. “Each classmate uttered the same identical words”, says Peak. “They would say ‘Where’s Mr. Bell? That man impacted my life more than any other teacher.’”
"It turned out that two more of my favorite classmates Patricia Mitchell (now a business woman living in Laguna Niguel) and Brian Kincaid (a national sales manager) were right here in Orange County as well." says Peak. "It was an exciting day when I reunited with Pat Mitchell in Dana Point. Finding out that another classmate Brian Kincaid's main sales territory was in Orange County was amazing! Our individual reunions were filled with tears. It made me wonder how many of the people we love and often think of from our childhoods could be living and working right next to us without our even realizing it."
Finding those classmates right around her spurred her on to find all the rest of her classmates. That led to their finding their beloved "Mr. Bell".
When they found Bell in 2003, now close to seventy years old, he remembered each and every student from this special grade school class. He, too, had considered this group of children very special. He had snapped a little picture of this class in 1968, their last year with him. When they reunited in 2003, they found that 80% of the students had kept that picture all these years.
Bell's method of teaching and his great ability to communicate to young children is quickly becoming the centerpiece for teacher training in school districts across the country who have seen the film. Middle school and high school students are using Colorblind in their social studies classes to understand the civil rights era and what that changes that brought to the children of that time.
As their story in the film Colorblind has traveled the country through film festivals, Peak has found other students who had Mr. Bell as a teacher. “They all have said the same thing about this wonderful man” says Peak. “He had a way of communicating to children that got through. He helped us to understand that we are all a part of one human family. He would simply get us to express our own viewpoints as children and found there was a lot of love in each child’s heart.”
COLORBLIND'S POST PRODUCTION WORK
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