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Speaking in Tongues

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In a time where 31 states have passed "English Only" initiatives, one urban school district is exploring the provocative notion that speaking a foreign language can be a national asset. Speaking in Tongues follows four diverse students and their families as they encounter the challenges and delights of becoming fluent in two languages. Witness how speaking more than one language changes them, their families, their communities, and maybe even the world.

Speaking in Tongues begins with an ordinary first day of public school kindergarten -- except that the teacher speaks only Cantonese. Most of her primarily white and Asian American students look confused but curious; a few nod knowingly. They are all in a language immersion class, where, from day one, they will receive 90% of their instruction in Cantonese. Remarkably, their school will test first in English and math among their district's 76 elementary schools.

Using a veriteé story-telling approach, the film follows four diverse students as they enter the portal of language and open their minds to new ways of thinking and being in the world. In a time of globalization and changing demographics, bilingualism offers them more than an opportunity to join the global job market. Language becomes a metaphor for breaking down barriers between ourselves and our neighbors -- be they around the corner or across the world.

[Original air date: Sun, Sep 26, 2010]

This program is not currently scheduled for broadcast.

Filmmaker Profiles:

Ken Schneider

Read more about Ken Schneider, filmmaker of Speaking in Tongues.

Marcia Jarmel

Read more about Marcia Jarmel, filmmaker of Speaking in Tongues.


Speaking in Tongues: Crew & Credits

Produced and Directed by
Marcia Jarmel
Ken Schneider

Julian Enis
Durrell Laury
Jason Patiño
Kelly Wong
& Dr. Ling-chi Wang

Andy Black
Vicente Franco
Dan Krauss

Ken Schneider

Associate Producer
Lorna MacMillan

Sound Design
Richard Beggs

Original Score
Wayne Wallace
Jon Jang

Additional Music
B. Quincy Griffin

Animation & Graphics
Catherine Kelly

Graphic Design
Kelly Riggio

Consulting Producer
Janet Cole

Consulting Editors
Nathaniel Dorsky
Gary Weimberg

Writing Consultants
Laurie Coyle
Tucker Malarkey

Additional Editing
Sally Rubin

Assistant Editor
Tupac Mauricio Saavedra

Additional Camera
Michael Anderson
Jim Choi
Kevin Mogg

Location Sound
Adriano Bravo
Jim Choi
Doug Dunderdale
Josh Harris
Matty Nematollahi
Tupac Saavedra
Ken Schneider

Re-recording Mixer
Richard Beggs

Music Recording
Gary Mankin

Production Assistants
Julia Lai
Marvic Paulo
Emily Stone Wallace

Raina Glazener

Still Photography
Najib Joe Hakim

Post-Production Supervision
Ken Schneider
Lorna MacMillan

Gary Coates

Online Editors
Ben Zweig

Online Video Editing Services
Video Arts/SF

Legal Counsel
Daniel Riviera
Richard Lee

Chinese Translation
Jaden Jarmel-Schneider
Mica Jarmel-Schneider
Julia Lai
Amy Lee
Nicolas Li
Sophia Rutkin
Gary Yip

Writing in Tongues
Fana & Eyasu Aregawie
Sadiq Bouhamama
Cléo Charpantier
Connie Chong
Gabriel Onderdonk
Niko Romer
Dmitriy Smirnov
Sami & Sandra Totah
Aren Williams

Fiscal Sponsor
Center for Independent Documentary

Executive Producer for ITVS
Sally Jo Fifer

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