Young Minds of America
Young Minds of America is a Dark Comedy Short Film about how representation in the classroom (or lack thereof) can influence a child’s ability to learn from a young age. This film asks how we can look past demographics & test scores to help children think outside the box.
ABOUT THE PROJECT
Carl, an interim teacher, is forced to confront his own unconscious bias as he fights to change a corporate America education system.
Young Minds of America follows Carl, a substitute teacher trying to inspire and teach his students, but there’s a catch. Turns out, Carl has replaced Mike, a black teacher who was fired for being too ‘controversial’. When Carl quickly learns that subject matter centered around inclusivity is frowned upon, he fights to keep teaching in a fun way, ensuring all of his students are seen and heard.
With the help of some veteran teachers, his finacé, and the encouragement of his students, Carl helps Dr. Hemmen come around to his side, but is it enough? Throughout the film, Carl is forced to face his own personal unconscious bias as he learns exactly how broken the system is.
Young Minds of America addresses exactly how representation in the classroom can heavily impact students and what happens when that representation is silenced, diminished, or removed. Young Minds of America tackles a broken system, the American public school system, from the point of view of a young, emerging teacher. It ultimately asks us, is this the future we want for our children or can we work together to fix the current system?
Meet Our Team
Incentives & Donations
$5 – Social Media Shoutout: We will personally thank you on the Young Minds of America social media accounts and a few of our personal accounts! We appreciate you and any amount you can give.
$15 – Glimpse into the Director’s Mind: In addition to a social media shoutout, you can get a glimpse into the creative vision of Young Minds of America with access to our super secret Pinterest mood board and Spotify inspiration playlist!
$25 – Star in Your own Storybook: One of the many trained actors on our team will do a dramatic reading of your favorite storybook, replacing the main character’s name with YOUR name (as long as the book takes less than 5 minutes to read).
In addition to a social media shoutout and our inspiration links, you’ll get a video of us reading your book which you can then share on social media or just listen to as you fall asleep.
$50 – The Finished Film!: Make some popcorn and invite friends over, because you’re having a movie night!
In addition to all of the above incentives, you’ll receive an exclusive private link to view the finished product of our film!
$100 – Signed 4th Grade Yearbook: In addition to a social media shoutout, access to our inspiration links, and early access to the film, you’ll receive a signed yearbook from the cast & crew with their photos today alongside a photo of them when they were in 4th grade! Be prepared to die from the cuteness.
$250 – Invitation to Wrap Party: Come party with the cast & crew in NYC to celebrate finishing principal photography on our short film! In addition to a social media shoutout, early access to the film, and our inspiration links, you’ll get a VIP invite to our wrap party.
(You must be able to travel to NYC yourself to attend the event)
$500 – Office Makeover: Get your office looking as pristine as Dr. Hemmen’s with our producer Gabby’s pro-office organization techniques. In addition to a social media shoutout, our inspiration links, and early access to the film, Gabby will give you some pro tips over Skype or in your home office on how to best organize your space!
(We can do an office consultation on Skype.)
$750 – A Visit to Set: Do you want to get an exclusive behind the scenes look into the filmmaking process live on set? In addition to a visit to set for one of our scheduled filming days in April, you’ll also receive: a social media shoutout, our inspiration links, early access link to the film, a signed cast & crew yearbook.
And office organization! (We can do an office consultation on Skype.)
$1,000 – Associate Producer’s Credit: We are so grateful for you! In addition to being credited in our film as an associate producer, you’ll receive: a social media shoutout, our inspiration links, early access link to watch the film, an exclusive VIP invite to our wrap party (must be in NYC), a personal snail mail letter of thanks, a signed cast & crew yearbook
And office organization! (We can do an office consultation on Skype.)
$2,500 – Executive Producer Credit: We are so grateful for you! In addition to being credited in our film as an executive producer, you’ll receive, a social media shoutout, our inspiration links, early access link to the film, a personal snail mail letter of thanks, a signed cast & crew yearbook, an exclusive VIP invite to our wrap party (must be in NYC), your Childhood memory on screen!
An invitation to come on set to watch production! (must be in NYC or NJ) and office organization (must be in NYC or the in-person office organization, but we can do an office consultation on Skype)
Young Minds of America
We are fiscally sponsored by From the Heart Productions, a non-profit charity dedicated to helping independent filmmakers get their films funded. This means that any donation you give is tax deductible.
Once this project is complete, we will be taking it to festivals. Soul Series Productions and L2G Productions have teamed up before to take Cheer Up, Charlie – a successful web series – to festivals like Urbanworld, Hollyshorts, LA Femme, T.O. Webfest, and so many more. Individually, these two companies have taken multiple projects to festivals around the world and we can’t wait to see where Young Minds of America takes us.
You’ll be the first to hear about our festival screenings and we can’t wait to see you there where we can celebrate the success of Young Minds of America together!
We appreciate your contribution and can’t wait to include you in the process of making our film! Thanks for joining us on this journey.
MORE ABOUT US
Director/Producer/Soul Series Productions Founder
Monica Arsenault is a Brooklyn-based writer and director whose work addresses the issues at the intersection of womanhood, faith, and sexuality. Her goal as an artist is to bring communities together through diverse storytelling. Projects that Monica has written, directed and/or produced have been internationally recognized at over 20 different film festivals. Currently, Monica is directing a short film featuring Lindsey Sagrera and directed Lydia Granered’s music video for her song Weekend. Her original web series, Nun Habits, was accepted to Cinequest 2020 monicaarsenault.com.
I chose to direct this film because our modern education system is failing our children and future generations. Growing up, I attended public school until I was in 9th grade. I was bullied for being “the weird kid” a lot. Only a few teachers, and my parents, encouraged me to embrace how weird could be positive and good.
In directing this film, I hope to convey the impact that a supportive teacher can have on any individual, and what that ultimately looks like from the teacher’s perspective. My dad is a teacher, so I know just how much teachers fight for their students every day – they fight for smaller class sizes so they can have more one-on-one time with each student, they fight administrators when designing their curriculum, they fight parents who don’t want their children exposed to certain ideas or philosophies, and so much more.
In our current political climate where education and the arts are federally underfunded, continuing to receive less federal help, we need to discuss how the education of our children builds a better future. I hope to do that through this film and I can’t wait to share it with the world, celebrating educators everywhere.
– Monica Arsenault, Young Minds of America Director & Producer
Danny Epstein is an actor, writer, producer, and all around good guy. His love of the performing arts goes back to his first equity play when he was twelve, but in school he struggled due to his ADHD and discouragement from his teachers. Before going to NYU for his BFA, he produced and acted in Make it Happen, (2012 NBC Short Cuts Audience Award Winner). He is currently producing Nun Habits and can be seen in the pilot of HBO’s Upcoming miniseries The Plot Against America. Danny wrote this movie to illustrate the lasting impact having a supportive teacher can have on any student’s life. dannyepsteinactor.com
Derek Rushing graduated from ASU’s film program and has been working in film his whole life. Most recently, he won the special diversity award at the Lebanese Independent Film Festival. Derek loves being on screen and stage, but he realized in order to tell the stories of people of color and the LGBTQ+ community well, he had to be behind the camera crafting the stories. Derek’s goal is to expand these genres beyond the typical oppression of marginalized communities. Derek continues to grow and won’t stop telling stories until he is dead, and maybe even after.
Producer/L2G Productions Co-Founder
Gabrielle Adkins is an actor/writer/director/producer and the head of her own independent production company, L2G Productions. A military brat from across the South, Gabrielle trained in singing and dance for 15 years before earning her B.A. from American University as a double major in Political Science and International Relations. After attending the Atlantic Acting School, she performed in a variety of theatre and film including, A Pier Drawn in Chalk at The Secret Theatre; May Violets Spring, Let Nina Prosper, and the serialized podcast drama Harlem Queen. Gabrielle has also directed several short films and trailers for L2G Productions and co-produced web series such as Cheer Up Charlie. l2gproductions.com
Producer/L2G Productions Partner
Ehsan Ali is a lawyer, mediator, producer, and partner in L2G Productions. When he’s not collaborating with creatives on a wide range of film and series projects, he’s maintaining an active legal practice, serving as a mediator with the New York Peace Institute, and pursuing a passion for writing.