Writer/Director Richard LaGravenese Reunites with Crusading Educator Erin Gruwell and the Freedom Writers; StoryMakers Studio Salutes LaGravenese’s Film “Freedom Writers”

Award winning writer/director Richard LaGravenese reunites with cast members and best selling author/teacher Erin Gruwell at StoryMakers Studio's special Freedom Writers event on May 9 at Chinese Theatre in Hollywood

Hollywood, CA, May 01, 2007 --(PR.com)-- What do recent events like the tragedy at Virginia Tech and the Don Imus debacle have to do with Freedom Writers, the movie that stars two time Academy Award® winning actress Hilary Swank as real life school teacher Erin Gruwell? “Plenty,” says Ronn Campbell, executive producer of the StoryMakers Studio, a monthly show presented at Mann Theatres’ Grauman’s Chinese Theatres Complex in Hollywood that tells the story of how a particular movie was made through the eyes of the people who made it. “In light of what happened at V-Tech and with Don Imus, Freedom Writers’ message of mutual respect, diversity and finding non-violent ways of self-expression that much more urgent,” explains Campbell.

“Even though geographically and culturally Seung-Hui Cho in Virginia and Erin Gruwell’s Wilson High students in Long Beach were worlds apart, in many ways they were also very much alike,” Campbell said. “In both cases, these were kids who felt seriously alienated and a desire to violently lash out at the people they blamed for their condition. The difference is, Erin helped her students find healthy, non-violent ways to get all that emotional poison out of their systems, which in turn enabled her students to experience growing respect for themselves and those around them. Her successful track record speaks volumes.”

On May 9, 2007, StoryMakers Studio will host writer/director Richard LaGravenese with a presentation of Freedom Writers at the Grauman’s Chinese Theatres Complex in Hollywood. Academy Award® winning actress Hilary Swank plays real life teacher Erin Gruwell, whose unconventional and heartfelt teaching methods enabled her to motivate 150 supposedly “unteachable” at-risk students at Woodrow Wilson High School in Long Beach, California into becoming critical thinkers, aspiring college students and citizens for change. Gruwell herself will join LaGravenese on stage at the StoryMakers Studio presentation along with several cast members. The event is open to the public with tickets available online at http://www.StoryMakersStudio.com/freedom

“These were kids who knew they had already been written off as low-lifes and gangbangers and definitely unteachable. She found a way for them to see beyond all that,” adds Faye Walsh, Executive Director of the Freedom Writers Foundation. “We’re very excited that StoryMakers Studio has chosen to help us remind the public about the work we do and the impact it can have on communities.”

The true story of Gruwell and the Freedom Writers was a passion project for all the key players on the film, beginning with star Hilary Swank, who lobbied hard to get the role and, as one of the film’s executive producers, helped secure the financing to get it made. "This isn't the kind of movie that Hollywood usually makes," said Swank. "But we all really felt it was an important story to tell. This was one class, but there are classes like this every day that aren't being educated. This movie is about changing that."

StoryMakers Studio presents “Freedom Writers” at 7:30 PM on Wednesday, May 9 at the Grauman’s Chinese Theatres Complex at Hollywood & Highland featuring live conversations with writer/director Richard LaGravenese, teacher Erin Gruwell and several cast members. The event is open to the public with tickets available online at http://www.StoryMakersStudio.com/freedom

Through interviews taped in front of a live audience, StoryMakers Studio tells audiences the story of how a particular film got made, as told by the people who actually made the film. StoryMakers Studio’s interviews are with Hollywood’s biggest, brightest directors, actors, writers and producers – live and unscripted.

StoryMakers Studio
Gordon Meyer