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Founders' Notes


Cinema Ed is the brainchild of actor, writer, and teacher Richard Stephen Bell and educator, filmmaker and marketing expert Kathleen Milburn. Their vision brings independent filmmakers into schools to not only teach future filmmakers, but also to engage students in math, science, technology, engineering and the arts.  Creative thinking is what separates innovation from mediocrity, and Cinema Ed's goal is to nurture and develop creative thought in our future scientists, engineers, artists, writers for all vocations and professions.

Richard Stephen Bell
Founder/Executive Director

I love research.  As a writer and an actor, I know that a crucial part of creating a workable story with believable characters is to know what you are writing about, and research is the foundation of that process.


In the world of education, it is no different.  According to researchers Timothy Teo and Myint Swe Khine in their white paper Structural Equation Modeling in Educational Research, “Learning today is no longer confined to schools and classrooms. Modern information and communication technologies make the learning possible anywhere, anytime ... In recent years educators find ways to cultivate curiosity, nurture creativity and engage the mind of the learners by using innovative approaches.”


Cinema Ed is one such innovative approach to education.   In the educational equation, there are many variables, but the most important factor is certainly the learner.  We at Cinema Ed believe, like Teo and Khine, that the ever-changing world of technology has completely altered how the learning equation is calculated and continues to be re-calculated.  In 2001 Marc Prensky, an author on education and learning, coined the term “digital native” to characterize students who have grown up in the a digital world, and “digital immigrants” to describe teachers and parents. (Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants, On the Horizon, MCB University Press, Vol. 9 No. 5, October 2001)


Whether or not you agree with his approach to teaching and learning, all the research and facts support his belief that students today experience the learning process in a drastically different way than past generations.  A logical conclusion to this research is that one of the best ways to motivate today’s student learner is via their passion for technology ... and the tools are right in front of their faces.


Kathleen Milburn

I believe there is a crisis taking place in the world of education and business. It is a crisis of creative thinking. With governments and school districts moving toward the understandable focus on math, science and technology, many schools, public and private, are cutting funding for the creative arts.


One reason that I started Cinema Ed is to support students as they explore their creativity, claim their voice and strive to find a place in the professional world.


Making films is a multi-disciplinary process and a team endeavor that all students, particularly those at-risk, can benefit from. I believe that by providing ways to connect to curriculum through filmmaking, we will help students engage with their academics in novel ways. I also believe that by developing their storytelling and filmmaking skills through access to professional mentors, we can truly address the creativity gap facing our country.


Funded by individual gifts, foundation grants, corporate sponsorships and government grants, our programs help students flex their creative muscles and build connections to their schoolwork. We focus on the vast career opportunities in the film industry that will certainly create a more diverse and inclusive professional community, and we are proud of our rich network of film professionals that work with Cinema Ed.


Whether a student plans a career in business, engineering, science, the arts, or any vocation, the need for creative thinking is at the forefront of their ability to innovate and succeed in their chosen endeavors. I hope to be a positive force of support for young filmmakers as they learn, tell their stories and enrich the world in which we live.

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