Education Blog

FREE Film Screening for High School Students 5/5!

By Paige Grand Pré, Education Communications Associate 04.19.17

Join us on Friday, May 5 at 7:00 pm for a FREE screening of Little Miss Sunshine (2006).

Open to all high school students. No registration necessary.

Click HERE to download the permission slip for R-rated films. While the JBFC believes that Little Miss Sunshine is suitable for viewing and discussion by a high school age audience, we also believe that the decision to attend this film and subsequent discussion is one that should be made by you, your child’s parent/guardian. No one under 17 years of age will be permitted to view any R-rated films within the series without a signed permission slip.


Friday Night Films @ The Lab (FNF) is a film series dedicated to local high school students presented by the Jacob Burns Film Center. FNF is hosted each month by a faculty member, who introduces the film beforehand and facilitates a discussion after the screening. This month’s special screening, Jonathan Dayton & Valerie FarisLittle Miss Sunshine, has been rated R for language, some sex, and drug content.

Friday Night Films @ The Lab’s educational emphasis is on the investigation of works by innovative filmmakers. The film for May’s screening, Little Miss Sunshine, is a paradigmatic example of the “little indie film that could.” Drawn to writing after years of working in the industry—including as an assistant to Matthew Broderick for years—first-time screenwriter Michael Arndt wrote Little Miss Sunshine in just three days. Yet, after three years of struggling to attract funding and over 100 script rewrites, Arndt began to worry that the film was “too indie” to get any real attention from Hollywood. Eventually, the film was fast-tracked by Focus Features after married music-video-directing team Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris signed on for their first feature, and the rest is history.

A charming, understated peek into the lives of a chaotic yet loving family, Little Miss Sunshine includes all the aspects of what makes indie film so special: spectacular character studies, organic dialogue, and the perfect balance of comedy and drama. At turns heartbreaking and hilarious, Little Miss Sunshine focuses on the Hoover family as they embark on a road trip from Albuquerque to Redondo Beach, CA in their yellow Volkswagen bus to support daughter Olive (Abigail Breslin) as she competes in a child beauty pageant. Along for the ride are Olive’s neurotic mother and peacemaker Sheryl (Toni Collette); Sheryl’s brother Frank (Steve Carell), a Proust scholar recovering from a suicide attempt; Sheryl’s husband Richard (Greg Kinnear), a failed motivational speaker; Olive’s half-brother Dwayne (Paul Dano), a Nietzsche-obsessed teen who infuriates his family with a vow of silence; and Edwin (Alan Arkin), Richard’s heroin-addicted father. Captivating audiences and critics alike, the film went on to score four Academy Award nominations and two wins—Best Screenplay for Michael Arndt, and Best Supporting Actor for Alan Arkin—making it arguably the most successful debut feature written “on spec” in cinematic history.

Click HERE for more information on Friday Night Films @ The Lab.

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