AnnaSophia Robb on how entertainment educates
by Kate Neligan
I was introduced to AnnaSophia through her involvement with one of her (and my) favorite charities. TrueSpark is a non-profit that engages youth through the use of educational curriculum and inspiring mainstream movies to develop 24 different positive character traits such as courage, empathy, leadership, and responsibility. TrueSpark has already provided almost 40,000 experiences in classrooms and after-school programs around the United States.
TrueSpark, like my company Synergy TV, bridges the important worlds of education and entertainment. We discussed just how valuable movies are and how we can use them as tools for transformation because of their inherent themes, messages, and lessons.
AnnaSophia, what can we learn from movies and how can they be used to teach personal development?
We learn from story because it’s powerful and provides examples that we can relate to. We draw inspiration from and emulate characters when we connect them to our own lives. When we see characters being brave or loyal, they become our role models. Film is naturally a teaching tool and we don’t even think of it that way. Movies have developed our sense of romance and it’s a medium that can teach us how to have healthy relationships and overcome obstacles.
What film has had the greatest impact on you?
Forrest Gump. Everyone loves this film for a reason because Forrest keeps working hard and has such an honest heart. I want to have an honest heart and seize life by the day. How cool would it be to end up in incredible circumstances and your heart is in the right place? Forrest’s heart is true and pure and he believes in love. He leads such a full life. The film makes us think that if Forrest can do it, we can do it.
Why do you think more TrueSpark films would be important to society and how can we go about getting them made?
It’s important to recognize special films. Movies can be mind-numbing, but there are beautiful stories that evoke certain emotions. They need recognition and champions in the film industry to promote them so we can have a healthier society. We need to be a culture of courage, loyalty, respect, and kindness. We need to see this more and more in film and highlight it when it is part of the storyline. I believe this will help shape our culture as a whole, especially our youth.
Then we need to take films one step further, and probe into their messages and go deeper with the learning. Kids ask “why?” a lot and we lose our ability to be curious and ask questions as we get older, but we don’t have to. We can find answers when we ask “why?” more often.
What are some of your favorite films that you believe are doing a great job of both entertaining and educating?
The entire TrueSpark library is powerful. Some of my favorite films in the inspiring movie genre are 12 Angry Men, Dead Poets Society, and Freedom Writers. Whether a film inspires kids to read or shows strong classrooms that foster creativity, they can definitely entertain and educate at the same time. I loved going to class when I was young and hearing different ideas presented in high school. Together, teachers and students can create a healthy learning environment and then kids are more willing to listen to each other and their varying perspectives.
AnnaSophia is fortunate because her inner spark was ignited at a young age. Now, non-profits like TrueSpark and companies like Synergy TV carry the torch to provide education and personal development to our youth and adults alike through the power of film and television. It’s been said “when the student is ready, the teacher appears.”
As AnnaSophia said, we need champions in the film industry to promote healthy, positive, value-based, character-driven content. Thank you AnnaSophia for being one of them!Tags: AnnaSophia Robb, Films that inspire and educate, Forrest Gump, Hollywood, Intersection of education and entertainment, Kate Neligan, Power of media to influence and impact for the good, TrueSpark