At the Mind the Gap Summit at the 40th Mill Valley Film Festival in October, director Dee Rees (Mudbound) reminded the audience that the films we see in theaters are the end product; in order to have mainstream films that reflect women and other underrepresented groups, we have to change that pipeline. Rees said, “If you want to change the water that’s in the glass, you have to change the tap.” One of the ways we do that at the Mill Valley Film Festival is by engaging young audiences through CFI Education.

CFI Education provides Bay Area students of all ages with opportunities to learn about themselves and the world through the art of film. During the Mill Valley Film Festival and throughout the year, CFI Education brings students to the theater and takes local and international filmmakers into classrooms to share their work and talk to students about their films and the variety of subjects those films address. This year we reached more than 2,700 students in schools and at the Festival with several inspiring and provocative Mind the Gap films including the world premieres of Frances Causey’s documentary The Long Shadow, about the legacy of racism in America, and Kate Weber’s documentary Kim Swims, about San Francisco-based open-water swimmer Kim Chambers’ quest to swim from the Farallon Islands to the Golden Gate Bridge; and Halima Lucas’ short film Amelia’s Closet, which sparked meaningful classroom conversations about bullying.


Teachers give CFI Education rave reviews:

“They learned about a change maker, were inspired to make a difference, girls saw a strong woman breaking the rules of the time, they learned about a female scientist —- so many positives!”

“When my students saw …a girl planning to study hard to be a doctor, it had a big impact on them,” said one high school teacher after a screening of short films, “All of the films helped add strength to their resolve in surmounting the difficulties that they and their families are facing.”