High School Programs

High school is a critical time in everyone's life. The films in these programs depict different challenges students may face in a high school setting. Watch these characters as they stand up to bullies, find their true colors, and embrace their unique characteristics in these films.

All programs include theatrical screening and media education.

How to book?
Book a field trip or in-school session today.
Phone: 773.281.9075 ext. 3040

How much does it cost?
Field trips: Tickets are $6 per kid for groups of 25 or more and $7 for groups under 25. Chaperones attend free of charge based on an approximate 10:1 ratio of students to chaperones—there is a $10 fee for each additional chaperone. Refreshment packages are available.

In-School sessions: Session cost is determined by class size. We charge $8 per kid for groups of 50 or more, but there is a minimum fee of $400 for groups of 50 or less. There is an additional $100 fee for each additional 20 miles from Chicago.

Film still from No Labels, Please! program

No Labels, Please!


Grades 6–9

The characters in these films are targeted by bullies because of their appearances, body size, cultural backgrounds, and religions. Watch as they learn that what makes them different also makes them special.

In one film, the characters in a race reject a newcomer from the country, despite demonstrated ability. Will someone come forward and not remain a bully bystander? In another film, not only is Munya teased for her immigrant ways, but her size. She seeks inspiration to break out of their preconceptions, finds it through her favorite hobby, and demonstrates to the gang once and for all that she owns her differences! In another film, (2015's "Best of the Fest") Anatole is rejected for his appearance and artistic ability, but the kindness of a new friend makes all the difference.

Themes: Tolerance/Respect; Identifying stereotyping based on gender, orientation, religion, disability, appearance; Recognizing feelings/perspectives of others; Recognizing individual differences; Investigate traditions of others; Confidence in Individuality; Hobbies and Identity-building strategies.

Films: Scarves, Crosses, and Incense, Anatole's Little Saucepan, The Basketball Game, Specky Four Eyes, I am Round, Beach Flags, and Munya in Me.

90 mins with media education. In English, French, Finnish, Swedish, and German with English subtitles.


Film still from Boldness Against Bullies program

Boldness Against Bullies


Grades 6–9

Bullies are often skilled at skirting authority to misbehave without consequences, but their power only lasts as long as no one is willing to stand up to them.

In one film, Emily has long thought of Rebecca as her pal, until pressured into participating in a classroom prank. Then, in the 2015 Oscar-nominated animated short, The Dam Keeper, a new classmate seems to be a good friend to a little outsider in the community. In the last film, Munya is bullied not only by for her mother, but ceaselessly teased by the neighborhood toughs, as well. She learns that to receive respect from others she must stand up for herself.

Themes: Appearances can be deceiving, good choices, trust, strong identity vs group dynamics, role of individual, don't be a bully bystander.

Films: Appearance and Reality, Eleven, No Fish Where to Go, The Dam Keeper, and Munya in Me.

90 mins with media education. In English, Hungarian, and German with English subtitles.


Film still from Paper State program

Paper State: Power and Prejudice


Grades 9+

The characters in these films face the complicated and confusing challenges of life on their own terms.

In one film, a competition is high among the girls, but the real prize turns out to be inclusion and compassion as teen girls overcome norms by providing mutual support. In another film, a reserved and withdrawn teen, Yussef is often bullied by his classmates. In threat of being expelled from his school for his often hostile and disengaged behavior, Yussef is implored by his teacher to express his emotions and share the day that changed his life through a class assignment. In the 2016 Oscar- winner Bear Story, the protagonist does whatever it takes to be reunited with his family despite the different obstacles he faces.

Themes: Interact effectively with others; Demonstrate an ability to prevent, manage, and resolve interpersonal conflicts in constructive ways; Empathy; Verbal and non-verbal strategies to resolve group conflict; Self- reflection; Compassion; Effective communication .

Films: Alpha Beta Complex, Why Banana Snarls, Bear Story, No Fish Where to Go, Beach Flags, and Yussef is Complicated.

90 mins with media education. In English, Russian, Spanish, and French with English subtitles.


Film still from African & African American Animation program

African & African American Animation


Grades 9+

From watercolor to oil painting, from hand-drawn to computer animation, come along with these characters as they set off on their journeys—and find out more about themselves along the way.

In What's Fufu? Nigerian teen Yemmi reflects on her heritage versus her present-day life in London with foster parents. In the documentary Pondering, passersby note whether they prefer their present circumstances or look to emigrate from Africa. In N'djekoh, a young woman looks back on her childhood and the memories of her mother. And in Journey to Cape Verde, a traveler checks out of digital life completely, to get in touch with the rhythm and flow of African daily life. The animation "palette" from across the globe paints the lives of characters of African descent in many ways.

Themes: Travel, reflection, cross-cultural exchanges, rural life, coming-of-age, career aspirations, family origins.

Films: Miss Devine, What's Fufu?, Snowflake, Hisab, Pondering, N'djekoh, Sharaf, and Journey to Cape Verde.

90 mins with media education. In English, Russian, Ethiopian, French, Swedish, and Portuguese with English subtitles.


Film still from Dragon Girls

Dragon Girls


Grades 6–9

Director Inigo Westmeier gives his audience an exclusive look at a staple of Asian culture, martial arts, in this thoughtful ode to adolescence.

The insightful documentary feature film follows three brave young girls and their studies at the traditional Tagou Martial Arts School: Xin Chenxi, nine, specializes in the art of swords and hopes to make her father proud by winning first place at the national championships; Chen Xi, 15, concentrates on boxing while battling the pain of growing up without her parents; and Huang Luolan, 16, cannot decide whether to remain or to leave her life of kung fu and pursue her passion outside of the walls of Tagou. Each girl must examine what kung fu means to her while overcoming homesickness, pressures at school, and maturing into a young woman.

Themes: boarding school daily life, its structure and disciplines; overcoming homesickness; traditional culture (martial arts); gender empowerment (girls); coming-of-age; career aspirations.

110 mins with media education. In Mandarin with English subtitles.


Film still from Jewish Heritage program

Jewish Heritage: Reflections


Grades 6–9

Join us as we celebrate Jewish American Heritage, as told by children and young people in five amazing films.

In one, a narrator remembers his days at summer camp, where an anti-Semitic teacher attracts national attention for some incendiary comments. The youngsters' community decides to amend the situation by bringing the campers to an interfaith basketball game in order to teach the children tolerance and understanding, with some unexpected results. In the next four films, characters recollect acts of kindness and resourcefulness in tales that span across years and borders during the Second World War. This series also includes the 2009 Oscar-winner Toyland, a story that tests the bonds of friendship in Nazi Germany.

Films: The Basketball Game, Overnight Stay, Toyland, 55 Socks, nd A Son's War.

80 mins with media education. In English, German, and Czech with English subtitles.


Film still from True Colors program

True Colors


Grades 9+

An exploration of identity that is relatable to all, these shorts are filled with tales of self-discovery and belonging.

First, a boisterous musical, where a young man's quest for love and acceptance shows how freedom of expression is worth singing about! In another film, a neighbor joins in a mean girl bullying prank posing as a fake pen pal with a made-up identity. As correspondence grows, Lilja grows fond of Melitta—can she reveal her true identity? Then, Joppe seems to have it all—confidence, popularity, a loving family. But there are two things Joppe desperately wants: to go out with her crush, Brian, and to be finally biologically female.

Themes: Embracing differences; Identity exploration; Recognizing personal qualities and external supports; Understanding feelings and perspectives of others; Recognizing individual similarities and differences; Negative depictions of differences among people (e.g. gender or sexual orientation stereotyping); How lack of understanding of differences can contribute to intolerance; Overcoming stereotyping.

Films: This PSA is Gay!, A Good Man, Bald Guy, Next Door Letters, I Am A Girl!, and Father Wanted ... With A Piggy Nose.

90 mins with media education. Screened in English, Norwegian, Swedish, and German with English subtitles.


Film still fromThe Painting

The Painting


Grades 8+

Enjoy a feast for the eyes and the imagination in this feature-length animated film about an imaginary world where characters in paintings come to life.

Meet the impeccably painted Alldunns, who live in a majestic palace, and the Halfies, who are shunned by the Alldunns because the Painter has left them incomplete. Meanwhile, the untouchable Sketchies, simple charcoal outlines, are banished to the cursed forest. Follow the adventures of Claire, a Halfie, and her beloved Ramo, an Alldunn, as they journey to discover what the Painter has in mind for all his creations.

95 mins with media education. Screened in French with English subtitles.


Film still from Taking the Plunge program

Taking the Plunge


Grades 10+

The characters in these short films explore their identities in different directions.

In one film, can a young woman finally jump off the high dive, or is she trapped in her relentless, indecisive depression? In another film, sense of place, belonging, identity, career aspirations—where do these real-life characters in Burkina Faso see themselves going? In another film, the daughter of a film director fixates on a French film classic and imagines herself part of the world of cinema. But cinema is illusion, oftentimes far from imagined reality!

Films: Birds of Sorrow, I Am As I Am, The School of Fine Arts, I Can't Wait, The Mist Is Coming In, Taking the Plunge, Wanderer of Saint-Marcel, Angélique's Day for Night, Pondering, Tulkou, and N'Djekoh.

90 mins with media education. Screened in English and French with English subtitles.


Film still from Identity vs. Reality program

Identity vs. Reality


Grades 10+

Where do we go after we join the adult world of work, obligation, and family? Is it possible to still be an individual—or is our fate only as a cog in a machine not of one's making?

In a beautifully animated short film, a policeman reflects on his ancestry and loss of identity, constantly bullied by his superior officer. In another film, a respected office worker finds himself part of an unexpected scheme in a parallel universe. The triumphs of the individual do not go unnoticed in this collection of powerful and inventive animated shorts.

Films: Ben Hora, Engine 371, The Woodcutter, O'Moro, The Shell, The Necktie, and Fard.

90 mins with media education. Screened in French with English subtitles.


Film still from Children of the Princess of Cleves

Children of the Princess of Cleves


Grades 9+

This compelling feature documentary by director Régis Sauder interweaves passages from the novel concerning love, fidelity, and morality with unusually frank interviews with the students about these issues in their own lives.

When the teenaged students of Diderot High School in France begin reading The Princess of Cleves in class, the parallels between their own lives and the events of the novel soon become apparent. Featuring students of different ethnic, religious, and cultural backgrounds as they read and study the novel in preparation for the "Bacc" (baccalaureate exam), this film provides insight into the way literature can both imitate and impact student's lives.

85 mins with media education. Screened in French with English subtitles.


Film still from Neukolln Unlimited

Neukölln Unlimited


Grades 9+

In this award-winning feature documentary, a family survives on their art and lives on the edge, yearning to belong in the place they call home.

Relying on breakdancing and musical talent to get them through each day, three resourceful teenage siblings must figure out budgets, pay the rent, and find an identity between illegal immigrants and hip-hop hopefuls. However, youngest sibling Maradona is in danger of flunking out of school, which could spell disaster for the entire family. Will Maradona's reckless streak derail their dreams and get her family deported? Directors Agostino Imondi and Dietmar Ratsch create a space for audiences to explore identity along with the protagonists.

110 mins with media education. Screened in German, Arabic, and English, with English subtitles.


  • John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation
  • Artworks: National Endowment for the Arts
  • Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences
  • Comer Family Foundation
  • Bloomberg Philanthropies
  • Alphawood Foundation
  • Polk Bros. Foundation