Dr. Jenny Mackenzie, assistant professor of digital cinema production at Utah Valley University (UVU) and Emmy Award-winning documentary filmmaker, has directed a new documentary film titled “The Right to Read,” which premiered at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival and will go on to SXSW-EDU.
The film will be screened on Wednesday, March 15, at 7 p.m. at the Rose Wagner Performing Arts Center in Salt Lake City, Utah, with a reception before the screening at 6 p.m. Tickets are free and are available on the Utah Film Center’s website.
“The Right to Read” examines low literacy rates among children in the United States, the issues leading to the low rates, and what is being done to remedy the issues.
“This has been a humbling experience, and I truly feel as though this non-partisan issue of illiteracy across America and my little film will have a big impact in turning the tides,” Mackenzie said.
The film follows Kareem Weaver, an NAACP activist and educator; Sabrina Causey, an elementary educator in Oakland, California; and two families with young children fighting curricular changes to improve child literacy.
The film is produced by LeVar Burton, the producer and host of “Reading Rainbow,” a children’s television series that aired on PBS from 1983 to 2006 and encouraged reading through narrative stories and special guests. Burton told the Los Angeles Times in a recent article, “Literacy is at the heart of our democracy. And if you can’t read, you can’t access anything and function in a democracy.”
Dr. Mackenzie has produced films promoting social change, including “Kick Like a Girl,” “Where’s Herbie?,” “Sugar Babies,” “Lead With Love,” “Dying in Vein: The Opiate Generation,” and the 2018 Emmy Award-winning film “Quiet Heroes,” which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival.
To learn more or watch the film, visit https://www.therighttoreadfilm.org/.