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Don't Tell Me I Can't!; On the Grind; TRUST: Second Acts in Young Lives

June 12, 2011, 4:00 P.M.

The Albert and Dana Broccoli Theatre, SCA 112, George Lucas Building, USC School of Cinematic Arts Complex, 900 W. 34th Street, Los Angeles, CA 90007

The School of Cinematic Arts invites you to an afternoon of documentary screenings and a panel discussion about Social Action Projects for Youth Cultures, featuring screenings of

  • Don't Tell Me I Can't! (60 minutes)
  • On the Grind (27 minutes)
  • TRUST: Second Acts in Young Lives (78 minutes)

Three documentary films that look at programs designed to help encourage learning, crime prevention and dealing with trauma.

Additionally, there will be a Comic Book and Multimedia Show hosted by Para Ver Productions in the George Lucas building lobby inspired by the life of skater Michael K. Green called Community Graphix.

4:00 P.M. on Sunday, June 12th, 2011

The Albert and Dana Broccoli Theatre
George Lucas Building, SCA 112
900 W. 34th Street, Los Angeles, CA 90007


About Don't Tell Me I Can't!

Written & Directed by Vandana Tilak.
Provided courtesy of Bombay Pictures. Not rated. Running time: 60 minutes.

What do over 160,000 kids from 30 countries have in common? The determination and imagination to know anything is possible!

Destination Imagination, is a live event that’s been happening for over 26 years, bringing together 160,000 kids and young adults from 30 countries in a mind bending, creative problem solving competition. With 16,000 person arena-filled grand championships, celebrity sponsors, and only one winner in each category, it has proven to be the perfect proving ground for sheer creativity. It has clear rules, impossible sounding challenges, and, year after year, it has found the world’s greatest young creative minds.

From cluttered garages to shiny floors, we follow five teams throughout the competition’s process. Each is vastly different in both age and personality types. From an Elementary team interested in pizza parties to a Middle school team with a prospective Broadway star, and a High School team focused on community outreach, they all show us what it means to abandon limitations and truly create. Even if that means mastering a newspaper and glue contraption that will hold over 700 pounds!

Each team’s defining traits spring forward through vibrant interviews, flip camera home videos, and scenes of distressed practices and jaw dropping performances. There will be shaving cream wars, formal newsprint / duct tape dresses, and human bicycles. We’ll also get an insiders look at some key players, including parents, team managers and tournament appraisers.

After 4 months of rigorous practices, performances, fundraising events, exhausting flights and road trips, the teams will journey from a CA State Tournament to the Annual Global Tournaments in Knoxville TN where 3 mind blowing days of tough competitions, Family Camps, Pin Trading and After-Parties await them….

View the trailer and visit the Official Website at


About On the Grind

Directed by James Cheeks III, Produced by James Cheeks III and Kevin Campbell.
Provided Courtesy of Duction 88 Films. Not rated. Running time: 27 minutes.

In 2006, Director James Cheeks III and Photographer Kevin Campbell set out to Long Beach to capture its thriving skateboard scene in the aftermath of a gang-shooting that ended the life of one of the city's most promising skaters. On The Grind follows a diverse group of skaters who are elevating themselves out of poverty with their passion of skateboarding. The skaters practice at a skate-park located in the middle of a war zone where drugs, violence and homelessness run rampant; and over the past three years, the filmmakers have discovered compelling stories of loss, loyalty and brotherhood that transcend Long Beach. This documentary will prove to be an artifact of the urban skate phenomenon, while providing hope for a community struggling to keep its youth from the undertow of gang-violence. Skateboarding isn't some suburban sport, it's a means of survival…

View the trailer and visit the Facebook page at


About TRUST: Second Acts in Young Lives

A Film by Nancy Kelly and Kenji Yamamoto.
Provided courtesy of Kelly+Yamamoto Productions. Not rated. Running time: 78 minutes.

TRUST begins in a small theater as a group of teenage actors receive a standing ovation, then takes us back to the beginning, when Marlin, an 18-year-old Hondureña tells a traumatic story about her life to the company. Amazing things unfold as the young members of Chicago’s Albany Park Theater Project transform the story into a daring, original play. TRUST is about creativity and the unexpected resources inside people you might discount because they are poor or young.

TRUST is one of those brilliant pieces which reminds us what documentary does best: captures small, specific stories which illuminate much broader issues and themes. This verité style is in fundamental contrast to the kind of big-message, big policy analysis documentary which presumes to lecture us about education, like Waiting for Superman.”  -- Rick Ayers, Huffington Post

The Albany Park Theater Project (APTP) is a neighborhood theater project that creates original plays from members’ real life stories. Since 1997, under the direction of co-founder and artistic director David Feiner, APTP has created highly-skilled, artistic and transformative theater. And they do it with kids who never audition.

View the trailer and visit the Official Website at


About Community Graphix

Para Ver Productions will be hosting a Comic Book and Multimedia Show inspired by the life of skater Michael K. Green in the lobby of the George Lucas Building called Community Graphix: Making a Difference with Socially Conscious Media.

Creating positive alternatives to gang violence, the exhibit will showcase artwork created by students at Crenshaw High School and its New Media Academy. Facilitator and Program Director Elizabeth Monsivais will demonstrate the process of utilizing comic book/storyboard art and motion graphics to help youth understand the consequences of youth crime.

About the Guests

Vandana (Dana) Tilak (Writer/Director, Don't Tell Me I Can't!) is an avid photographer, singer, writer, poet, painter and since 2009 a film maker. Addicted to Bollywood and later Hollywood, Vandana loved the escape into the world of story telling, images, fiction and the stark reality of documentaries. She attended USC's filmmaking intensive and later started her own film company, Bombay Pictures and has not looked back since. Learning, experimenting, and finding new avenues to create documentaries with a message while keeping a strong emphasis on commercial value addition.

Vandana is looking forward to developing and producing a 3 part documentary series on India, scripted series for television and several co-productions in Canada, Turkey, India and Brazil based on Destination Imagination. She attends television markets, in the US and Cannes regularly, to better understand the changing trends of entertainment the world over.

Charles Wachter (Writer/Consulting Producer, Don't Tell Me I Can't!) is an Emmy award winning writer and executive producer of Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution on ABC. Charles is a graduate of Yale and NYU film school. Known for his successful reality shows and films, Charles agreed to write the narrative for Don't Tell Me I Can't! when he fell in love with the worldwide competition Destination Imagination and the gift it brings to creative kids in the form is theater, improv, science, structure and social outreach. Charles is currently working with Bombay Pictures on a scripted TV series and major productions at NBC, ABC and various production companies.

James M. Cheeks III (Director/Producer, On the Grind) recently finished his MFA degree in Film and Television Production at USC’s School of Cinematic Arts in Los Angeles. His career started in high school at the age of 16 with an internship at The TV Guide Channel, which later turned into part-time employment. Cheeks got accepted into art school but he decided to study Communication and Film at George Mason University, where he earned his Bachelor’s degree. In college, James worked on various television projects in the DC area including the Ted Turner documentary mini-series, Avoiding Armageddon, which aired on PBS. In 2006, Cheeks served as a sound designer for Alex Ko’s documentary, Pok Dong, which examined the haunting impact of the LA riots on an immigrant family from Korea. Cheeks’ interest in missions and social justice has led him to serve in Peru, Mozambique, Jamaica and downtown LA’s Skid Row. Cheeks is also a skateboarding enthusiast and supports skateboarding for at-risk youth. The short version of his prospective feature documentary, On The Grind, had its World Premiere at the 2009 Mammoth Film Festival, where it won the award for "Best Documentary Short.”

Kevin Michael Campbell (Producer/Still Photographer, On the Grind) finished his Master of Professional Writing degree at the University of Southern California. Over the course of two-years, he exposed his passion for photography and poetry in a 375-page hardcover thesis entitled, “Sum Meanings of LA: Language Art.” In 2006, he photographed Long Beach skaters and the following year he signed on as a producer the for documentary film, On The Grind. Fighting for social justice impacted his life during his high school years when he served with Cabrini Alive, a low-income housing project, in Chicago, Illinois. He earned a bachelor degree in English and Pre-Law from Messiah College and Temple University. Currently, he interns with fashion photographer and director David LaChapelle in West Hollywood, Ca. In 2011, On The Grind has made official selection for the Texas Black Film Festival, Newport Beach Film Festival and Seattle True Independent Film Festival. The future is beaming bright.

Veteran independent filmmaker Nancy Kelly (Writer/Director/Producer, TRUST) wrote, produced and directed a trilogy about the transformative power of art that includes TRUST: Second Acts in Young Lives, about Chicago’s Albany Park Theater Project; Smitten, about Napa Valley art collector Rene di Rosa; and Downside UP, about how America’s largest museum of contemporary art saved her de-industrialized home town. She directed and produced the feature film Thousand Pieces of Gold, starring Rosalind Chao and Chris Cooper.

Kenji Yamamoto (Producer/Editor, TRUST) edited and co-produced TRUST: Second Acts in Young Lives, Smitten, Downside UP, and Thousand Pieces of Gold. He edited New Muslim Cool by Jennifer Maytorena Taylor; Between Two Worlds and Thirst by Alan Snitow and Deborah Kaufman; and Cowgirls by Nancy Kelly. Kenji attended the Sundance Institute’s Documentary Edit and Story Lab with New Muslim Cool and the Filmmaker’s Lab with Thousand Pieces of Gold.

Check-In & Reservations

The screenings are free of charge and open to the general public. Please bring a photo ID or print out of your reservation confirmation, which will automatically be sent to your e-mail account upon successfully making an RSVP through this website. Doors will open at 3:30 P.M.


The USC School of Cinematic Arts is located at 900 W. 34th St., Los Angeles, CA 90007. Parking passes may be purchased for $8.00 at USC Entrance Gate #5, located at the intersection of W. Jefferson Blvd. & McClintock Avenue. We recommend parking in outdoor Lot M or V, or Parking Structure D, at the far end of 34th Street. Please note that Parking Structure D cannot accommodate tall vehicles such as SUVs. Free street parking is also available along Jefferson Blvd.

Contact Information

Name: Alessandro Ago
Phone: 213.740.2330