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Film Studies


Film Assignment beginning 19 Sept. 2019 

The Hate U Give (2018)

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Black Lives Matter Website:

Tear Gas

Black Panthers' Ten Point Program:


By Any Means Necessary          

It entered the popular culture through a speech given by Malcolm X in the last year of his life.

We declare our right on this earth to be a man, to be a human being, to be respected as a human being, to be given the rights of a human being in this society, on this earth, in this day, which we intend to bring into existence by any means necessary.

— Malcolm X, 1965[


Starr Carter

Starr Carter is the novel's protagonist, a sixteen-year-old African-American living in the mostly poor and black neighborhood of Garden Heights while attending the upscale, largely-white private school Williamson Prep. When she was ten, Starr saw her friend Natasha killed in a drive-by shooting; the trauma of this experience is repeated at the beginning of the novel when Starr witnesses the death of her friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. The novel follows Starr as she attempts to navigate the two worlds of Garden Heights and Williamson Prep while simultaneously dealing with grief over Khalil's death and her forays into activism in response to the unjust shooting.

Maverick "Big Mav" Carter

Maverick, Starr's father, owns and operates a grocery store in Garden Heights and is a firm believer in the tenets of Black Power espoused by Huey Newton. A former gangbanger, Maverick spent three years in prison before fatherhood inspired him to get out of the gang system. He supports Starr throughout the novel, inspiring her to not be silent in the face of injustice. Although he feuds with his brother-in-law and struggles to accept Starr's white boyfriend, by the end of the book Maverick makes peace with those who care about Starr.

Lisa Carter

Lisa, Starr's mother, is an invaluable source of support and care for her daughter throughout the novel. She encourages Starr to do as much as she is comfortable with in terms of activism and speaking out. Lisa worries for the safety of her family and convinces Maverick that their family should move out of the Garden Heights neighborhood. At the beginning of the book, she works as a nurse in a Garden Heights clinic, but she later secures a higher-paying job in a different hospital which makes the family's move financially feasible.


Seven is Starr's half-brother; Maverick is Seven's father, and Iesha, the gangbanger King's girlfriend, is his mother. Seven has a close relationship with Starr—they play basketball together every month, he drives her home from school every day—and he supports his sister during the difficult grieving period following Khalil's death. He's eighteen, and is accepted to many colleges, but doesn't want to leave Garden Heights because he feels the need to protect Iesha and his sisters from King's physical abuse. Ultimately, Maverick convinces Seven to pursue the opportunities open to him and attend a college outside of the city.


Sekani is Starr's younger brother, who also attends Williamson Prep. At first, Starr's parents don't tell Sekani that Starr witnessed Khalil's death, but eventually tell him as Starr gets more involved with efforts to protest the shooting. Starr and Sekani frequently have good-natured fights and bicker with each other.


Chris is Starr's boyfriend. He shares Starr's love for Jordan sneakers and The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. However, he's also rich and white; Starr feels that this creates distance between them, while Chris insists that Starr let him into the side of her life she usually tries to hide from her Williamson friends. Although Maverick doesn't accept Chris at first, the two grow closer throughout the novel.

Hailey Grant

Hailey is one of Starr's friends at Williamson Prep. At the beginning of the novel, their friendship is strained because Hailey unfollowed Starr's Tumblr account after Starr posted a picture of Emmett Till, a fourteen-year-old black boy murdered for whistling at a white woman. Hailey doesn't redeem herself throughout the novel, either; she insinuates that Khalil is better off dead because he sold drugs, and she repeatedly makes racist comments to Starr while denying that she herself is a racist. The tension between the two friends builds until they get into a physical altercation at school. At the end of the book, Starr decides to cut Hailey out of her life, since the negative aspects of the friendship outweigh the positive.

Maya Yang

Maya is one of Starr's closest friends at Williamson. Like Starr, Maya plays for the school's basketball team. She also lives on Carlos's street. Maya is Asian-American, and when Hailey makes racist comments about Maya's ethnicity, Maya and Starr agree to make a "minority alliance" and refuse to allow Hailey to make prejudiced remarks towards them.


Kenya is one of Starr's friends who lives in Garden Heights. She and Starr share a brother, since Maverick is Seven's father and Iesha is the mother of both Kenya and Seven. Kenya has an outsized personality and isn't afraid to fight people, but she also calls Starr out for not speaking up for Khalil as she believes Khalil would have if their roles were reversed. In addition, Kenya has to deal with physical abuse from King.



King is the most notorious gangbanger in the neighborhood, a King Lord deeply involved in drug dealing and violent acts. When Maverick took a prison charge and saved King from getting locked up, King allowed Maverick to leave the King Lords. King is also abusive towards his girlfriend, Iesha, and to his kids, Kenya, Seven, and Lyric. The neighborhood ultimately turns on King, turning him in to the police after he sets fire to Maverick's store.


Iesha is King's girlfriend and the mother of Seven, Kenya, and Lyric. Although Seven and Iesha have a strained relationship because Seven believes that she doesn't reciprocate his love—she didn't even show up to his high school graduation—Iesha makes sacrifices for Seven as well. She is a point of contention in Maverick and Lisa's relationship, because Maverick conceived Seven with her after having a fight with Lisa.


DeVante is a teenager who lives in Garden Heights and ends up getting involved with the King Lords. He joins the gang and sells drugs in an attempt to find a kind of family and to make money to provide for his mother and brother. Fearing that he will end up dead or in prison, DeVante turns to Maverick for help in getting out of the King Lords. Maverick sends him to live at Carlos's house. At the end of the novel, DeVante agrees to turn witness against King to protect Iesha, Seven, Kenya, Lyric, and the Garden Heights community.


Khalil, Starr's best friend from childhood, is shot while unarmed by a police officer who had pulled him over for having a broken taillight. Although Khalil's death occurs in the first few pages of the novel, his presence reverberates throughout the novel. Khalil sold drugs because his mother, Brenda—who struggles with addiction—was in debt to King. King tried to persuade Khalil to join the King Lords, but Khalil refused.


Carlos, who is Lisa's brother, serves as a police officer in the same force with the officer who shot Khalil. When Maverick was in prison—from when Starr was three years old until she was six—Carlos served as a father figure to Starr. This creates tension between him and Maverick; they both have Starr's best interests at heart. Carlos is put on leave from the police force after he punches the officer who shot Khalil. He lives in a suburb that is wealthier than Garden Heights.

Film Assignment for Monday and Tuesday, February 4-5, 2019

The Hate U Give


  1. What is “The Talk?”


  1. Characterize the relationship between Starr’s parents.



  1. What does Khalil teach Starr about Tupac?



  1. Why was Khalil stopped by the police officer?



  1. Why does King tell Starr to “keep it in the rearview”?


1. "The Talk"

2. The  Black Panthers' 10 Point Program and  T.H.U.G.L.I.F.E.

The Book by Angie Thomas

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b. Inspired by Oscar Grant killing in 2010

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Tamir Rice - 2014

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Sandra Bland - 2015

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Eric Garner - 2014

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Emmitt Till - 1955

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  1. "It is impossible to be unarmed when it is our blackness that they fear." -Shamell Bell, Black Lives Matter activist.  Describe the meaning of this quote. 
  2. Starr quote #1: "When I'm home, I can't be too Williamson, and when I'm here (Williamson), I can't be too Garden Heights."
  3. Starr quote #2:  "You all want to act black, but you want to keep your white privilege."
  4. Starr quote #3:  "If you don't see my blackness, you don't see me."
  5. What is a grand jury?
  6. Define "indict."
  7. What happened to Starr's childhood friend, Natasha?
  8. Starr and others at the restaurant recorded the police officers when they confronted Maverick. What does Starr say when the police officer told her to stop recording?


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Super Size Me



“Super Size Me” Video Worksheet




1. Over ________________ million Americans are today either overweight or obese.



2. ________________ is the fattest State.



3. _________ in 4 Americans eat at a fast food restaurant a day.



4. Globally, how many people eat at McDonald’s each day?




5. How much did Morgan weigh when he first went to the doctors?




6. Morgan’s Rule #1 was that he would only Super Size a meal at McDonalds when…




7. Morgan’s first weigh-in was _____________ pounds.


8. How many McDonald’s are there in Manhattan alone?



9. How many food advertisements do children see on television per year?




10. Morgan’s second weigh-in was ___________ pounds.


11. Texas has ______ of the top 15 fattest cities in the U.S.A.



12. What is the #1 Fattest City in the U.S.A?



13. How many items are there on the McDonald’s Menu that does not contain sugar?



14. Morgan’s third weigh-in was ___________ pounds.



15. The nutritionist said that Morgan had eaten as much McDonalds in 30 days as a nutritionist would say you should eat in _____________ years.



16. Morgan’s final weigh-in was _____________ pounds.



Personal Response Essay:


Did watching “Super Size Me” make you want to change your eating habits?  Explain & support your answer using facts & information from the video. 




Searching (2018)

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Korea Image result for korea world map Image result for korea world map



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1. Describe how Margot used social media.

2. Describe how Margot's use of social media helped her deal with the loss of her mother.

3. Explain why Margot hid her life from her father and people her own age.  

4. Describe the dangers of using social media.

5. Describe how adults and teens lied in Searching.

6. Consider this:  In Searching, do people control social media or do social media control people?

7. How did Margot's father fail her?





Michaela DePrince (from war orphan to star ballerina)

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A. Watch the 12-minute video on the amazing story of Michaela DePrince and respond to the following questions.

1. What country does Michaela come from?

2. What skin condition does she suffer from?

3. What explanation did the adults at her original home offer for her skin condition?

4.  Describe her relationship with her sister.

5.  Describe her living situation when the film begins.

6. What number ranking did Michaela have at the orphanage.

7. What is the name of the European city where Michaela is based.

8. What was Michaela's lowest point?

9. Name two character traits that helped Michaela succeed.

10. Describe two character traits of Michaela's mother (Elaine).

11.  Mia did not study dance.  What did she study?

12. What event helped Michaela overcome her skin condition?

13. Describe what Michaela faced as a ballerina of color.

14. Name two characteristics that make Michaela a successful dancer, according to her instructor.

15. Write one or two paragraphs of your impressions of this amazing story.



Film Assignment for Week of Sept. 3-12, 2019

Write a review of Hidden Figures.  Mention the following elements:

  • Quality of the acting.
  • The use of music.
  • The cinematography (quality of the images)
  • The strength of the story.
  • Is the film meaningful?  Explain

Hidden Figures

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1. Describe at least one struggle faced by Katherine, Dororthy and Mary.

2. How did they respond/react/overcome the struggle?

3. HIdden Figures take place during the cold war period of history.  Name the two adversaires in this war.  Who was the U.S. president when astronaut John Glenn became the first American to orbit the earth?

4. NASA values Katherine for her _____________.

5. What does it mean that Mr. Harrison (the boss) is surprised that Katherine was required to walk a half mile to the "colored" restoom?  




  • Civil Rights (African Americans oppressed, treated unequally and with savage discrimination

  • Female Discrimination (women's rights)

  • Cold War  (U.S. vs. USSR)

  • Space Race (U.S. vs. USSR)
  • Mathematics (Euler's Method)

The Space Race was a competition between the USA and the USSR to explore space using artificial satellites and manned spacecraft. It can be seen as a part of the larger arms race, as developments in space research could easily be transferred to military research. Both countries started work on developing reconnaissance satellites well before the height of the Space Race. The Vostok spacecraft used by the USSR to put Yuri Gagarin into space, for example, was developed from the Zenit spy satellites used by the Soviet military.

However, the military benefits of the Space Race were not the only driving force behind the American and Soviet attempts to explore space. The populations of both countries took a great interest in their respective space programs and it was a useful way for both superpowers to demonstrate their superiority. Nikita Khruschev, the Premier of the Soviet Union, used the country's early success in the Space Race to claim that the "economy, science, culture and the creative genius of people in all areas of life develop better and faster under communism." The American President John F. Kennedy, on the other hand, is quoted as saying "Everything we do ought to... be tied in to getting on to the Moon ahead of the Russians... we hope to beat the USSR to demonstrate that instead of being behind by a couple of years, by God, we passed them. "

In America the space program was headed by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, or NASA, who were given control of all non military activity in Space. The team at NASA included Dr. Wernher von Braun, the German scientist responsible for the development of the V2 rocket during the Second World War. He was later moved to the United States by the U.S. Army to study the future potential of rockets and masterminded the development of the Saturn V Moon Rocket.

NASA's Mercury space program ran from 1959 to 1963 and cost a total of $1.5 billion. Its aims were to determine if man could survive in space and to put a man into orbit around the Earth. However, as early as 1961 the Russians had pulled ahead of America's space program, having launched two men into orbit, Yuri Gagarin and Gherman Titov.

The first American to go into space was Alan Shepherd who successfully made a sub-orbital flight in May 1961. During this flight Shepherd took manual control of the spacecraft to test its controls and also made observations of conditions outside. Unlike in Russian missions, where cosmonauts parachuted from their spacecraft during landing, the Mercury spacecraft had their own parachutes to slow them down during descent. This made Shepherd the first man to return to Earth with his ship, Freedom 7, which landed in the North Atlantic Ocean, on May 5th.

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John Glenn in his spacesuit (NASA)

Despite this success the pressure was still on to send an American into orbit, but before risking the life of an astronaut NASA wanted to ensure the safety of its spacecraft for an orbital flight. Therefore, in November 1961, Enos the Chimpanzee orbited the Earth twice before splashing-down, alive and well, off the Puerto Rican coast. Just three months later, in February 1962, John Glenn became the first American to orbit the Earth in Friendship 7. During his flight Glenn experienced various difficulties, including a problem with Friendship 7's controls. He also reported seeing 'fireflies', although these were probably small ice crystals being vented from onboard the spacecraft.



  • Three characters in the film exhibit racist tendencies. Identify one of them, describe how their racism is shown, and what happens to their attitudes by the end of the film.
  • Coffee serves as a symbol in this movie. What does it symbolize?
  • Descibe the importance of mathematics in the flim.
  • What is the IBM mainframe machine?  Describe the positive and negative consequences of this new technology.
  • Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan and Mary Jackson each plays a part in advancing racial equality, women's rights and the space race for the United States.  Describe the actions taken by one or more of these characters to make these advancements.




Film Assignment for week of 3 Sept. 2019

Real Women Have Curves (2002)

  1. In which ways does Ana differ from her mother? Explain.
  2. Describe the different life paths taken by Ana and Estela. 
  3. How does Ana’s education influence her opinion of the women who work in the garment shop, including her mother, Carmen, and her sister, Estela?
  4. Ana is shocked to learn that Estela earns only $18 for each dress, but dresses retail for $600.  Why?
  5. When Ana removes her shirt in the shop she helps the women change their perception of female beauty.  How?  
  6. Ana is independent of her family with respect to education, sexuality and work.  Describe how she is different in each of these areas.
  7. Does Ana’s mother value her for her intelligence?  What does Ana’s mother value in a woman?
  8. Ana does not give up after her parents refuse to allow her to accept the college scholarship.  Explain her strategy for getting acceptance. 



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