THE PUSHOUTS tells the story of millions of “dropouts” in the US who are often pushed out of school for reasons beyond their control. Through the lens of pushout-turned-professor Victor Rios and the youth of YO!Watts, THE PUSHOUTS interrogates questions of race, class, and power at a crucial time.
In Partnership With
Inclusion StatementInclusion is central to the mission of THE PUSHOUTS campaign. The film’s main subjects are Black and Latinx students and educators from under-resourced, overpoliced communities. In sharing their stories, our goal is to help build a truly inclusive educational system.
About The Project
THE IMPACT CAMPAIGN Via national screening and discussion tours with key audiences (e.g. middle and high school students, teachers and administrators, youth development workers, policymakers and others); the creation of short form media content and periodic calls to action, THE PUSHOUTS campaign works with partner organizations and within movements toward the transformation of a status quo that stigmatizes and criminalizes, rather than educates and offers meaningful opportunities to, countless deserving, talented, and underserved youth.
I was in prison before I was even born. So begins the story of Victor Rios, a high school “dropout,” Oakland gang member, and three-time felon by age 15. But when a teacher’s quiet persistence, a mentor’s moral conviction, and his best friend’s murder converge, Rios’s path takes an unlikely turn. 20 years later Rios, by now an award-winning professor, author and expert on the school to prison pipeline, rejoins his old mentor to work with young people who have been pushed out of school for reasons beyond their control.
Filmed over more than 25 years, The Pushouts weaves Rios’s inspiring pushout-to-professor narrative with stories from YO! Watts, a youth center serving 16-24 year olds out of school and out of work. A story of unusual intimacy and depth, THE PUSHOUTS trades narratives of tragedy and victimization for true stories of grit and resilience, highlighting the vast potential of young people to thrive when given access to meaningful opportunities and connections to adults who care.
What We Need
Referred to as “dropouts” in national statistics and common parlance, many youth of color are actually “pushouts," trying to stay enrolled against the odds. They need well-coordinated, concentrated and ongoing partnership to do what we know they are capable of: radically changing the game. We believe that, with core partners such as Sundance, YouthBuild, Latino Public Broadcasting, CalHumanities, Just Films, and a range of youth orgs, we have created a blueprint for a transformative campaign. But we need your help. From travelling the country with our film and subjects to developing quick turnaround media responses at key moments to supporting our partners using grassroots to grasstops methods to upend the school to prison pipeline - the work and commitment is big, and to do it we need resources and support. Please join us.
Why Join our Campaign?
With the recent launch of our PBS Frontline short, this is the ideal moment to reach for the sort of support that can meet ambitious goals. The first 3 days can make or break a campaign - so, if you're considering making a contribution, please don’t delay. Our team has a long, strong history of making impact and each and every one of us is passtionately committed to making the most out of every dollar. It's something we don’t take lightly at all - every little bit counts. We want to thank everyone who contributes for investing in this work and in our youth. Gifts and gratitude listed below.
Other Ways You Can Help
In order to reach our goal, we will need help from as many of you as possible. After you've contributed to the campaign, sharing the link to the campaign via social media and telling those you know will help to spread the word about this important project.
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About This Team
Founder and principal of BIG PICTURES, is a documentary filmmaker, investigative reporter & impact producer whose work explores the intersections of institutional power, civil & human rights and political activism. Her feature documentary THE RETURN (POV, 2016), the third in her trilogy on the 21st century American justice system, follows the release of thousands of “lifers” after a historic reform as a lens through which to consider downsizing mass incarceration. BETTER THIS WORLD (POV, 2011) follows the case of young friends from Texas charged with domestic terrorism after falling under the sway of an older activist/undercover FBI informant. PRISON TOWN, USA (POV, 2007) looks at the impact of the prison boom on rural America through Susanville, a town with more prisoners than free people.
Galloway's other work includes the feature documentary EL POETA (VOCES, 2015) which follows a spontaneous uprising against Mexico's violent drug war (and its US roots) sparked by the murder of a poet's son; a trio of films on the justice system for PBS FRONTLINE (SNITCH, THE CASE FOR INNOCENCE and REQUIEM FOR FRANK LEE SMITH) and a body of shorts that have screened to live audiences around the world and been distributed by a range of media partners including the New York Times Op-Docs series, Field of Vision, Mother Jones, USA Today, This Week Tonight with Jon Oliver, The Marshall Project's Viewfinder series and others.
Her work has been shown at NY MoMA's Director's Fortnight, at Lincoln Center, on Capitol Hill, inside prisons nationwide and with top festivals and broadcasters internationally. She has received the Writer’s Guild of America’s Best Documentary Screenplay Award, Gotham Independent Film’s Best Documentary Award, an IDA Creative Achievement Award, The Imagen Awards' Best Documentary prize, a Peabody and five National Emmy Nominations, as well as Best Doc awards from San Francisco International, Tribeca, Human Rights and other respected festivals.
A recent Sundance Institute and Fledgling Fund Fellow, Galloway's earlier fellowships and residencies have been with HBO/Film Independent (Producing); Sundance/Women-In-Film's Women's Initiative (Directing & Producing) and at UC Berkeley’s Investigative Reporting Program, where she was the filmmaker in residence. She has taught documentary filmmaking, history and theory at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism, where she hold's a Master's, and in Media Studies at UC Berkeley, where she holds a Ph.D. in Politics. An Oakland native, Galloway lives and works in Berkeley, California.
A filmmaker, social worker, artist, youth development specialist, resource wrangler and impact strategist. Her award-winning feature documentary GOING ON 13 premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival. It follows the stories of four girls of color as they transform from 9 year old little girls into 13 year old teen-women, examining via an intimate, verite-driven approach the experience of young women growing up in America.
In addition to spearheading THE PUSHOUTS impact campaign, Valadez is in production on her feature documentary TEACHER LIKE ME, which she is directing and producing. The film tells the stories of five leaders of color striving to become teachers in a system that once failed them. Once wrapped, TEACHER LIKE ME will complete Valadez's trilogy on race, class, education and coming of age in the 21st Century U.S.
Valadez’s work is supported by the Ford Foundation/Just Films, Sundance Documentary Fund, Tribeca All Access, The California Humanities Council, Wellspring Philanthropic Fund, CPB, Latino Public Broadcasting, The San Francisco Foundation, Fledgling Fund, the Logan Foundation and others. Her work has been awarded numerous awards and honors, including most recently the Saul Zaentz Artist Award (2017), a Chicago Media Project Impact Prize (2018) and the Imagen Awards' Best Documentary Award (2018). Vice President of the board of the Bay Area Video Coalition (BAVC), Valadez advises on documentary films and public engagement campaigns and acts as a review panelist for a range of public documentary and other media funders.
Past residencies and fellows programs have included the Corporation for Public Broadcasting Producer's Academy, The Sundance Lab / Skoll Foundation's STORIES OF CHANGE Initiative; the BAVC Media Makers Fellowship; NALIP's Latino Producer's Academy and Media Market and the Women of Color Filmmakers' Artist Residency Center. She lives and works in Oakland, California. www.dawnvaladez.com
DANIELLA BROWER SUEUGA
A documentary producer, researcher and writer who has worked in the film, legal and investigative fields for nearly 20 years. Her long and short-form work has covered a range of issues including the American criminal justice system, the rise of mass incarceration, international arms trafficking and post-Hurricane Katrina social and economic policy.
Prior to producing and co-writing THE PUSHOUTS, Sueuga researched, reported on, and produced a range of films including the feature documentaries MINE (Independent Lens) and PRISON TOWN (POV), the short film ERIC & ANNA (Field of Vision) and a number of others for broadcasters including PBS FRONTLINE, National Geographic Films, CBS and Court TV.