When last I spoke with the Dallas-based doc maker, he was out and about filming Mayor Tom Leppert and other council members for a short promoting the new convention center hotel. He hasn't seen the finished film yet -- he was but a shooter on that project -- but we anxiously anticipate that bit of footage. Till then, then, in addition to Dig Deep, he's also posted a trailer for his documentary Once in a Lifetime, which debuted at the Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival last October and chronicles eight Lincoln High School students' journey to China a few years ago. A rough cut played the Dallas Video Festival a few years ago, but the final version has yet to play Dallas and has no screening date scheduled at present. Perhaps an Unfair Park-sponsored screening?
Till we make that happen, a brief bit of background on the trailer you'll find after the jump: These are annual adventures begun a decade ago by former Lincoln teacher Shirley Pickton and current Lincoln science instructor Darren Carollo, who billed the program as The World Classroom. In the past 10 years they've been, among other places, to Italy, Alaska and even lived amongst the Amish in Ohio. Birnbaum documented the Alaska sojourn in the film Polar Opposites, a KERA co-production that debuted at DVF in '03, and the China trip for Once in a Lifetime. And he's in the midst of editing the Amish film, which he'd like to finish before heading to Cairo with the students next month.
"These kids experience an extraordinary adventure," Birnbaum tells Unfair Park today from KERA, for whom he's wrapping up a short film about the Trinity River Audubon Center. "It's about culture shock and having kids go into these extreme cultural situations and find their feet and become aware and become leaders."
Keep the Dallas Observer Free... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Dallas with no paywalls.