Louder than a Bomb

Director(s): Greg Jacobs and Jon Siskel
Country: United States
Language: In English
Documentary | 2010 | 99 min
Recommended for ages 13+ (Parental Guidance: Some strong language; hard life experiences conveyed)

“Louder than a Bomb” is a film about passion, competition, teamwork and trust. It’s about the joy of being young and the pain of growing up. It’s about speaking out, making noise and finding your voice. It also happens to be about poetry.

Every year, more than 600 teenagers from more than 60 Chicago-area schools gather for the world’s largest youth poetry slam, a competition called “Louder Than a Bomb.” Founded in 2001, Louder Than a Bomb is the only event of its kind in the country—a youth poetry slam built from the beginning around teams. Rather than emphasize individual poets and performances, the structure demands that kids collaborate: presenting, critiquing and rewriting their peers’ pieces. To succeed, teams have to create an environment of mutual trust and support. For many kids, being a part of such an environment—in an academic context—is life-changing.

Since its premiere at the Cleveland International Film Festival in March 2010, the film has won seventeen festival prizes, including ten audience awards. It was also selected for the 2011 American Documentary Showcase, a program created by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs “to cultivate greater understanding among people around the world." As part of the Showcase, the film has traveled to Angola, Burma, Jordan, Malawi, the United Arab Emirates, and Zambia.

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