2013 Grants Challenge

Empowering LAUSD with a Transmedia Education Platform for Change

Filmanthropos is a transmedia production studio headquartered in Los Angeles that specializes in humanizing social issues through creative uses of film and new media. Using storytelling as a platform, we help social enterprises build relationships that lead to measurable change.

Having worked with non-profits addressing LA's weak public education system, we have seen that LAUSD students' themselves recognize and care about very specific issues pertaining to their district and teachers.

Of these issues, the most prominent include:

1 - Inability to transfer into "better" schools because of perceived negative stereotypes

2 - Inability to learn through creative means as teachers tailor

lectures to only "left-brained" students

3 - A desire to overcome drug abusive in order to learn

4 - The role "bullying" plays in school

We find it sad that such young and bright students have identified specific weaknesses and challenges within LAUSD, yet have no voice or sense of empowerment to do something about it.

Filmanthropos' idea is to build a transmedia platform for long-term impact that empowers students to voice these concerns, propose solutions, and encourage teachers, school districts, and politicians to get involved and care enough about these issues to take action.

A story is the most powerful form of influence. This interactive transmedia platform will hold a collection of real-time, interactive stories from students, teachers, after-school programs, non-profits and social enterprises addressing education, and other stakeholders involved, with the aim to tie these stories and people together in building a comprehensive solution for LAUSD. This platform will highlight every perspective of the problem, and is designed to encourage every stakeholder to create his own content - the purest form of authenticity.

Our stories are our assets. They can engage audiences to care enough about a cause to take action. We believe that by building a "story world" that showcases authentic and empathetic stories about problems with and proposed solutions for LAUSD will evoke themes of change and hope that will engage others on an emotional level. Problems with LAUSD cannot be addressed overnight, and require the effort of a collective pool of students, teachers, districts, parents, organizations, and politicians in order to be successfully resolved and enhanced. Once we have built a “story world” of masses of people engaged, these masses will combine their efforts to tackle LAUSD’s shortcomings and create change – moving our education system from its current status significantly hindering human development to significantly enhancing human development by 2050.


What are some of your organization’s most important achievements to date?

While Filmanthropos is a fairly new social enterprise that was founded in Q4 2012, we are proud to have connected with several social enterprises to create powerful stories that engage their audiences to elicit change. On top of this, we have provided USD 10,000.00 in pro-bono services to non-profits to date - a number that is rapidly and continuously growing, as we are now institutionalizing our pro-bono service offerings.

Please identify any partners or collaborators who will work with you on this project.

We are currently collaborating with after-school organizations, university film and new media departments, and transmedia consultants in our work. We intend to bring these collaborators in on our "Transmedia Education Platform for Change" project once additional funding is secured.

1 - verynice (www.verynice.co)

2 - The Hub LA (www.thehubla.com)

3 - Filmanthropos Advisors: Matthew Manos, CEO of Very Nice (www.verynice.co) & Jean-Michel Arnoult, Co-Founder & Advisor of Crowdfunder (www.crowdfunder.com)

Please explain how you will evaluate your project. How will you measure success?

Success will be measured by:

1 - Increased number of individuals actively signing-up on and interacting on the platform

2 - Number of stakeholders connected to each other as a result of the platform (ie after school and summer enrichment program sign-ups)

3 - High-school completion and drop-rates that can be attributed to the support system this platform provides

4 - College going rates contributed to the support system this platform provides

5 - Increase in test scores due to teachers and districts being held more accountable for the quality of their teachings

How will your project benefit Los Angeles?

This project will hold all stakeholders involved in and affected by LAUSD's shortcomings accountable. Once voices and concerns are amplified and a masses of Angeleno's are engaged in making critical improvements to LA's education system, the cause itself will have a ripple effect that puts LA in the spotlight to improve its current state of education.

By highlighting stories of both cases - positive and negative - from students, parents, teachers, after-school programs, and the like, others in LA struggling with similar issues will be able to learn from and be inspired by one another's experiences.

The underlying purpose of the project is to create accountability. By creating a massive, interconnected, real-time "story world" that addresses very specific problems with LAUSD and creative solutions for addressing its shortcomings, those in LA responsible for the problems and issues with our education system will be held publicly accountable. On top of this, after-school programs, organizations, and enterprises available to LA's K-12 students will gain more exposure and support to expand their services once their impact has been highlighted.

What would success look like in the year 2050 regarding your indicator?

Success would be a world in which every stakeholder involved is not only empowered to voice their concerns and issues with LAUSD, but held directly accountable for their actions, or lack of action, and their decisions.

Success would be an increased amount of students completing high school and attending college as a result of success stories and the support system derived from a transmedia platform for education.

Success involves improved test scores because teachers and districts embrace other forms of creative learning to help right-brained students grasp and understand difficult left-brained concepts.

Success involves attracting support for after school and summer school enrichment programs to extend their services as a result of showcasing their tremendous impact.

Our goal is to change our education system from its current status of significantly hindering human development to significantly improving human development by 2050.