The pandemic has disrupted traditional forms of education and continues to a be challenges for K-12 school systems in the United States. Beginning this year, school districts are re-opening to transition academic and non-academic activities from remote settings with varying degrees of success. Richmond founded film production company, CNM Films, is tackling difficult decisions on and how to best serve limited resources to students well into the 2021-22 school year and beyond. 

According to Dr. Megan Kuhfeld, a senior research scientist at NWEA whose work focuses on understanding students’ trajectories of academic and social-emotional learning and the school and neighborhood influences that promote optimal growth, students likely returned in fall 2020 with half of a typical year’s learning in reading and math. To help local educators and policymakers with the impact of the global pandemic on youth learning, CNM Films has partnered with The Classic Man Brand to mentor emerging filmmakers from diverse, underrepresented, Richmond, Virginia communities. Producer and Playwright Kevo Kodesh and K-12 School Administrator Dr. Darrin Branch will serve as Lead Program Mentors identifying and advising during film production. 

Launching Summer 2021, a major part of the program’s effort is to educate and inspire tomorrow’s filmmakers. This summer, students in underrepresented communities will have access to producers, studio and production executives, directors and playwrights, casting directors, and advisors in media and public relations. Students in the program will receive extra levels of support and personalized counsel on pitching their individualized and team film projects, managing production company budgets, marketing and social media best practices, business advice and mentorship, and everything in between.