Brick By Brick

Produced by: 
The Fall 2002 Documentary Production Workshop
19 min

Nadine Patterson and Phil Rothberg, Humanities Consultant: Dr. Tondra Loder

An eclectic group of public school students, city politicians, parents and public school teachers reflect on the unfortunate inequities, questionable fixes and and sometimes painful ironies of the city's public school system. From crumbling school buildings with prison-like barricades and the disrespect of youth and youth culture to a city government that cries poor when it comes to schools, but not football stadiums, this video offers up incendiary evidence that local governments aren't willing to put their money where their mouths are when it comes to giving public schools what they need to thrive -- not just survive.

"I love learning but they're killing that love."
- Evan Kornfield, Creative and Performing Arts High School senior

"I think we don't value our children, even when we say we do."
- Melanie Ekpaji, parent and Philadelphia Public School teacher

Dolores Luis Gmitter, Tondra L. Loder, Amy Roy, Pauline Stakelon all participated in the fall 2002 Documentary Production Workshop at Scribe Video Center. They were inspired by Toni Morrison's poem, The Big Box, a lyrical allegory of what happens when Patty, a good, but rambunctious student's freedoms are slowly taken away from her for "the greater good."

Nadine Patterson runs the awarding-winning film company, Harmony Image Productions. Her productions focus on African-American culture and the city of Philadelphia. Patterson is an award-winning independent producer of works such as I Used to Teach EnglishAnna Russell Jones: Praisesong for a Pioneering SpiritMoving with the DreamingTodo El Mundo Dance!Shizue; and LoqueeshaAshleyFranklinJosieBrown, which was part of the second season of WYBE TV35's Philadelphia Stories. She has received funding for her projects from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, WYBE, the National Black Programming Consortium, the Philadelphia Foundation and the Leeway Foundation. She has taught courses in video production at educational institutions including Scribe Video Center, Arcadia University, Temple University and Drexel University. Her latest work is Cosmic Trane, an experimental video in three parts that uses music, movement, visual art, and documentary footage to convey some of the issues explored in John Coltrane's music.

Phil Rothberg is an independent film and videomaker. He also serves as Scribe's Street Movies coordinator and has served as a facilitator for several Community Visions projects at Scribe Video Center.