Freedom Writers

49 prince street founder Tracey Durning produced the ABC News Primetime Live documentary short about teacher-changemaker Erin Gruwell and her group of racially-diverse high school students, which Durning then went on to Executive Produce the feature film for, Freedom Writers, starring Hilary Swank.

Gruwell and her students used the Primetime Live piece as a powerful messaging and outreach tool online and in speaking engagements across the country for diverse audiences including educators, administrators, teenagers, politicians, journalists and philanthropists.

For the feature film, Durning also helped drive the PR/marketing campaign which included producing and directing a new documentary short for all media and targeted organizational outreach, directed the MTV promos, and directed a 20-webisode viral campaign called Be Heard which attracted up to 10 million young online users who actively dialogued around the film’s themes of racial tolerance and education (webisode samples: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5).

The campaign was a natural extension to a lot of the work Durning had been doing prior around complex teen issues, including the documentary films 13 and 16.

The news doc, film and media/marketing push greatly enhanced the fundraising efforts of The Freedom Writers Foundation to promote and carry out its mission, as well as helped Gruwell launch her next national program that teaches educators her unique style of education.