Participant Media announced today that, in conjunction with its upcoming social action campaign and other educational outreach efforts, it will distribute DVDs of Steven Spielberg’s critically acclaimed film Lincoln to all middle and high schools, both public and private, throughout the United States.
Together with DreamWorks Pictures and Fox/Newscorp, Participant Media will be funding the efforts with Disney In-Home to create special packaging for the DVDs, which will include an Educator’s Guide for teachers as well as complete lesson plans relating to the significance of Abraham Lincoln’s leadership and the importance of that period in our nation’s history. Disney Educational Productions will handle distribution.
The timing of the announcement coincides with Lincoln’s birthday and the launch of Participant’s new “Stand Tall: Live Like Lincoln” campaign, which will bring the film to eight U.S. towns all named Lincoln, followed in mid-March with screenings at 15 Lincoln high schools across the country in largely underserved communities, according to the company.
Each school hosting a screening will receive new audio-visual equipment to best experience Lincoln and any future films screened at the school, including a 120-inch portable screen, Blu-ray and DVD player, a projector, and new speakers. The screenings will be followed by moderated conversations and distribution of Disney’s educational curricula.
“As more and more people began to see the film, we received letters from teachers asking if it could be available in their classrooms,” director Steven Spielberg says. “We realized that the educational value that Lincoln could have was not only for the adult audiences—who have studied his life in history books—but for the young students in the classroom as well.”
Adds Participant Media CEO Jim Berk, “Before the film was released, we engaged Penn Schoen Berland to conduct a research study to help inform the focus of our Social Action campaign…Among the findings of the study was that more than half of Americans think it’s important to learn about Lincoln, but two thirds say they know little to nothing about him. While I’m sure that’s changed thanks to the tremendous popularity of the film and all the surrounding attention, it still clearly indicated the need to better educate our students about the 16th President’s accomplishments.”
To further explore the relationships depicted in Lincoln and learn about the film’s production, you can download the free app Lincoln: Discover the Story (David Rubel and Disney Editions, iBooks, Free, Gr 6 Up), which was reviewed in this week’s Touch and Go column.