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Alabama groups launching month-long film festival focused on early childhood education

Three Alabama groups have partnered to create the Invest Early Alabama Film Festival, an event focused on early childhood education that will run digitally during January 2021.

Invest Early is a joint project of the Alabama School Readiness Alliance, the Alabama Association of School Boards and the Business Council of Alabama. PNC Bank is the chief financial sponsor of the event.

The festival will feature on-demand showings of two documentaries: “No Small Matter” and “Starting at Zero: Reimagining Education in America.”

Another part of the festival will be panel-style conversations each Tuesday in January around lunchtime that feature state leaders and early childhood education experts.

No Small Matter will air January 4-17 and Starting at Zero will air January 18-February 2.

Members of the public can sign up here to receive links that allow individuals to stream both of the films.

The first panel discussion will be on Tuesday, January 5 from noon to 1:00 p.m., and it will be streamed on the Facebook page of the Alabama School Readiness Alliance.

It will be moderated by Dionne Rosser Mims, Ph.D., the campus vice-chancellor at Troy University, and it will feature:

  • LaTonya Bender, Owner, Trinity Love Center, Bessemer;
  • Lucia Cape, Senior vice president of economic development, Huntsville/Madison County Chamber of Commerce;
  • Gail Piggott, Executive director, Alabama Partnership for Children;
  • Erin Stephenson, Vice president, Client and community affairs, PNC Bank.

In a release, the groups described the two films on which the festival will focus.

“No Small Matter (airing January 4-17), lays out the overwhelming evidence for the importance of the first five years and the dire consequences of our country’s failure to act on that evidence,” the groups described.

“Starting at Zero: Reimagining Education in America (airing January 18-February 2), focuses its lens on Alabama’s First Class Pre-K program. This nationally-recognized program funds and supports quality four-year-old classrooms in a variety of early care and education settings,” the groups explained.

Allison Muhlendorf, executive director of the Alabama School Readiness Alliance, said in a statement, “The end of the pandemic gives us an opportunity to reverse trends holding our children back, but we will only be successful if we invest early and wisely. The Invest Early Alabama Film Festival will show us how.”

More information on the Invest Early Alabama Film Festival can be found here.