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Wednesday, August 26 • 16:00 - Friday, August 28 •11:59
Paper Tigers: One High School's Unlikely Success Story

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Rob Walden

This film is part of an exclusive showcase of three films. If you sign up for this one, you'll get access to the others.

More than two decades ago, two respected researchers, clinical physician Dr. Vincent Felitti and CDC epidemiologist Robert Anda, published the game-changing Adverse Childhood Experiences Study. It revealed a troubling but irrefutable phenomenon: the more traumatic experiences the respondents had as children (such as physical and emotional abuse and neglect), the more likely they were to develop health problems later in life—problems such as cancer, heart disease, and high blood pressure. To complicate matters, there was also a troubling correlation between adverse childhood experiences and prevalence of drug and alcohol abuse, unprotected sex, and poor diet. Combined, the results of the study painted a staggering portrait of the price our children are paying for growing up in unsafe environments, all the while adding fuel to the fire of some of society’s greatest challenges.

However, this very same study contains the seed of hope: all of the above-mentioned risk factors—behavioral as well as physiological—can be offset by the presence of one dependable and caring adult. It doesn’t need to be the mother or the father. It doesn’t even need to be a close or distant relative.
More often than not, that stable, caring adult is a teacher.

It is here, at the crossroads of at-risk teens and trauma-informed care, that Paper Tigers takes root. Set within and around the campus of Lincoln Alternative High School in the rural community of Walla Walla, Washington, Paper Tigers asks the following questions: What does it mean to be a trauma-informed school? And how do you educate teens whose childhood experiences have left them with a brain and body ill-suited to learn?

In search of clear and honest answers, Paper Tigers hinges on a remarkable collaboration between subject and filmmaker. Armed with their own cameras and their own voices, the teens of Paper Tigers offer raw but valuable insight into the hearts and minds of teens pushing back against the spectre of a hard childhood.
Against the harsh reality of truancy, poor grades, emotional pain, and physical violence, answers begin to emerge. The answers do not come easily. Nor can one simply deduce a one-size-fits-all solution to a trauma-informed education. But there is no denying something both subtle and powerful at work between teacher and student alike: the quiet persistence of love.

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KPJR Films

We confront society's hidden challenges. And we honour those that fight them. One story at a time.KAREN PRITZKERExecutive ProducerKaren Pritzker is an editor, film producer and co-founder of KPJR films. She has executive produced three documentary films: The Big Picture: Rethinking... Read More →
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Karen Pritzker

Editor & Executive Producer, KPJR Films
Karen Pritzker is an editor, film producer and co-founder of KPJR films. She has executive produced three documentary films: The Big Picture: Rethinking Dyslexia, Paper Tigers, and Resilience: The Biology of Stress and The Science of Hope. Pritzker also serves as President of the... Read More →
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Lynn Waymer

Vice President, Communications and Community Engagement, KPJR Films
Lynn Waymer directs development and execution of communications and community engagement strategies. Formerly director of distribution for HBO, she’s created local, national and global marketing campaigns, community partnerships and screening events for KPJR Films including: The... Read More →

Wednesday August 26, 2020 16:00 - Friday August 28, 2020 11:59 BST
On Demand Channel