The Bad Kids Social Cinema Screening

March 29, 2017
10:00am Pacific Time
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Join New America and ITVS for a live discussion with the filmmakers and subjects of the film The Bad Kids on the intractable problem of generational poverty and how public education can better support all students in our nation's schools.

Geared towards educators and students, this event will feature a LIVE discussion with Principal Vonda Viland and clips from the film as well as excerpts from a panel discussion on the subject.

Prior to the event you can watch the entire film online here:

About the film:

At a remote Mojave Desert high school, educators believe that empathy and life skills, more than academics, give at-risk students command of their own futures. At Black Rock High School, the methods are unique and the model is innovative: no punitive measures, no end-date, and no formal graduation.

Employing a vérité approach during a year at the school, The Bad Kids follows Black Rock High School principal Vonda Viland as she coaches three at-risk teens – a new father who can't support his family; a young woman grappling with sexual abuse; and an angry young man from an unstable home – through the traumas and obstacles that rob them of their spirit and threaten their goal of a high school diploma. The film depicts how a radical approach to education can combat the crippling effects of poverty in the lives of these so-called "bad kids."

Video Descriptions

OVEE Intro Image


The Bad Kids Trailer & Discussion with Vonda Viland

Summer's Choice 1

Inside the Minds of Black Rock Students, Meet India Williams and The Power of Mentors

Jennifer, AJ and What Really Matters

60 minutes


  • New America - Social Cinema

    Drawing from a rich international community of filmmakers, Social Cinema @ New America brings together a diverse, thoughtful audience made up of leaders in government and public policy; human rights; academic institutions; civic technology; and art and media to preview the nonfiction films that best dramatize our country’s most timely social and political issues. Documentaries are increasingly a primary vehicle for elevating complex issues to the national agenda in engaging, thought-provoking ways. Social Cinema @ New America has tapped into that discourse by presenting films on topics as far-reaching as environment and climate change (Merchants of Doubt, Racing Extinction); the economy (Inequality for All, Inside Job) and the struggles of living in poverty (Rich Hill, The Interrupters); war and foreign policy (The Look of Silence, Dirty Wars) and the costs of globalization (We Come As Friends); global women’s empowerment (Girl Rising, Half the Sky); civil rights (Freedom Summer); immigration and citizenship (Documented); technological surveillance and privacy (The Internet’s Own Boy, (T)error); and gun violence and criminal justice reform (The Armor of Light, The House I Live In).

  • Danielle Orange


  • Moderator: Elena Silva

    Elena Silva is director of PreK-12 for the Education Policy program at New America. Her research and writing focuses on a wide range of educational issues, including teacher’s work, school design and improvement, and the assessment and measurement of student learning. Prior to joining New America, she was a senior associate for the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, a senior policy analyst at Education Sector, and the director of research for the educational foundation and library of the American Association of University Women. She previously managed youth leadership programs for the D.C.-based ASPIRA Association, one of the largest national Hispanic-serving organizations, where she developed and directed one of the first AmeriCorps service programs in the nation.

  • Vonda Viland

    Vonda Viland is the extraordinary principal of Black Rock High School in the Mojave Desert. Her mission to realize the potential of these students whom the system has deemed lost causes. The Bad Kids follow Principal Vonda Viland as she coaches three at-risk teens––a new father who can’t support his family, a young woman grappling with sexual abuse, and an angry young man from an unstable home––through the traumas and obstacles that rob them of their spirit and threaten their goal of a high school diploma.

  • India Williams

    India Williams hails from the city of aspiring dreamers New Castle, DE. India is an alumna of Communities in Schools in Wilmington Delaware . Upon graduating from William Penn High School she continued her work and relationship with CIS and devoted a year to working alongside 13 other alumni to create the National Alumni Leadership Network. A graduating senior at Delaware State University majoring in Mass Communications with a concentration in TV, Radio and Film production. Over her college career she had interned for over 4 different companies and the summer of 2016 she was a CBS news intern in Washington, D.C. , and the on camera talent for WITN Channel 22. Whilst media is her passion, india also found her purpose in using her creativity to help people see their fullest potential and make it possible for them to succeed . She is the Chief Executive officer of India Sage The Brand , LLC a company she started back in 2016 that helps get business owners and entrepreneurs connected with the resources they need to help their company thrive. Aside from everything she is involved with, her main focus is: family,, education, and helping the community. She is a mentor and motivational speaker for teenage youth, a daughter, sister and friend. If you asked her what she loves most out of everything she does she would say spending time with family and doing her best everyday to change lives.

  • Keith Fulton

    Co-Director, The Bad Kids. Keith Fulton (Producer/Director/Sound) and Lou Pepe (Producer/Director/Cinematographer) are award-winning filmmakers of both documentary and fiction films, among them Lost in La Mancha, which was nominated for the European Film Award for Best Documentary, shortlisted for the Best Documentary Oscar, and winner of the Evening Standard's Peter Sellers Award. Lost in La Mancha stands as the first and only verité chronicle of the collapse of a major motion picture and was an international theatrical success. Fulton and Pepe also directed the narrative feature film Brothers of the Head, which won the coveted Michael Powell Award for Best British Feature in 2006.

  • Lou Pepe

    Co-Director, The Bad Kids. As Low Key Pictures, the directing team received numerous documentary commissions from the Gates Foundation’s Teaching Channel, for which they produced a series of short films about excellent teachers and practices in California public schools. For Participant Media, they created I Am Education, a web series that explored pressing issues in education entirely through the voices and perspectives of school children.

  • Beth

  • Beth

  • Sharan

  • Keith

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The views and opinions expressed in this online screening are those of the presenters and participants, and do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of ITVS, public broadcasting, or any entities hosting the screening.