Produced by The Saul Zaentz Charitable Foundation, TOMORROW’S HOPE brings us into the journey of passionate educators and tenacious kids and their families on the South Side of Chicago, determined to carve out the future despite a sea of incredible challenges. The film follows three present-day high school seniors who had started out in the Educare preschool’s first-ever class, exploring how they’ve navigated foreboding realities past and present, while also delving into the lingering ripple effects from their early childhood education. Through the eyes of audacious educators (originally from the community themselves) we also learn about the school’s harrowing yet remarkable early stages as “The Beethoven Project” located within “Forgotonia” – a name the film’s Portia Kennel uses to describe the environment. At the time, the school was located directly within the largest housing project in the country, in the nation’s single poorest census tract. Yet despite a dangerous and discouraging external landscape – then and now – an entirely opposite message emerges from this educational community: “you matter.” Director Thomas Morgan (Waiting for Mamu, India’s Daughter) stops by to talk about how he became a part of this uplifting project, chronicling the successes of Educare’s students, and seeing former student of Educare paying it forward with their continuing support for the school.
About the filmmaker -Thomas Morgan is a film director whose films have been leveraged to create lasting movements with a specific call to action. In his first film, Storied Streets, Morgan captured the painful reality of homelessness in America and gracefully unearthed the pain and personal triumphs of those living unhoused in our country. Through the film, he has elevated awareness of the problem on thousands of college campuses, petitioned in front of Congress, and pushed for laws to make violence against the homeless a hate crime and the abolishment of laws criminalizing homelessness.With the 2013 documentary short film, Waiting For Mamu, he speaks to one person’s power through the story of Pushpa Basnet, who, at age 21, began helping free innocent children from the prison floors in Nepal. The award-winning film has raised over $1.4M, which helped build a permanent home, The Butterfly Home, in Kathmandu and helped support these children’s ongoing education.His latest film, Soufra, was a New York Times and LA Times critics pick, won several film festival awards worldwide, and screened at the Vatican. The film tells generational refugee Mariam Shaar and her quest for the fundamental right to own a business—a food truck. Soufra was used to raise nearly $1 million to build a school in the camp, and now 150 refugee children have access to education.Morgan was Executive Producer of Silenced, a film about US government whistleblowers, and India’s Daughter, an Oscar-contending movie about the rape and murder of a 23-year old medical student in India. He has been a keynote speaker many times on Capitol Hill and twice before the U.S. Congress. For more go to: squarezerofilms.com
“Tomorrow’s Hope spotlights passionate educators and tenacious kids and their families, who transcend the limitations imposed on them as students growing up on the south side of Chicago.” – Variety
“Really fascinating . . . gratifying.” – Peter Rainer, Filmweek / NPR
“This is really something . . . a tremendous idea.” – Good Day Chicago, NBC