Sundance Channel to Premiere DREAM SCHOOL, 10/7
Sundance Channel announced today an impressive list of innovators and leaders from a cross section of professions including music, politics, film, science, journalism and more who will come together to create a "Dream School" for 15 troubled students in the network's new six-part unscripted series premiering on October 7 at 10:00pm et/pt.
From Academy Award(R)-winning filmmaker Oliver Stone to astronaut Dr. Mae Jemison, these instructors will have one mission - to excite young minds and reignite their students' desire to learn. An ambitious project where the best and the brightest in our culture teach kids who have been falling through the cracks, "Dream School" is designed to motivate troubled teenagers to turn their lives around. Pregnant, neglected, bullies or bullied; the kids all have one thing in common - they are dropouts. Now Sundance Channel is giving them a once in a lifetime chance to start over, but overcoming past failures and future obstacles will prove to be no easy task for both the students and their instructors.
The students, ages 17-18, who have either been expelled or dropped out of the conventional school system, will feel what it's like to float in space when their science lesson is taught at the California Science Center by Dr. Mae Jemison, the first African-American female astronaut in space. Homeroom teacher and drama coach David Arquette will lead self-confidence exercises and teach the craft of acting, while famed choreographer Doriana Sanchez helps the students get over their inhibitions by encouraging a "silent disco" in a public mall. Music class will be a trip to the recording studio with music impresario Swizz Beatz, who's worked with some of the industry's biggest stars, including Jay-Z and Bono. Third generation ocean explorer Fabien Cousteau will teach the laws of physics and buoyancy first-hand in a water bottle regatta in a pool. Plus, the students learn that it's never too early to start getting their finances in order by taking an economic course taught by none other than financial expert Suze Orman.
Will these professionals succeed in their educational experiment to help put the troubled teens on the right track? Or will they get schooled by a group of students who are unimpressed and unwilling to follow even basic school rules?
Sarah Barnett, Sundance Channel President, said: "'Dream School' is a passionate attempt by those who have made it to use their resources, creativity and skills to turn around our students' lives. It's not easy, and the tension that ensues is both dramatic and, at times, heart wrenching. In the end, what we hope for with this show is a true second chance for the students, something our viewers will definitely be rooting for."
Adapted from the UK series created by celebrity chef Jamie Oliver and executive produced by Oliver and multi-platinum award-winning musician and entrepreneur Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson, "Dream School" is a gripping look at what it takes to foster creativity and a love of learning and just how hard it is to Capture the imaginations of today's students.
The "Dream School" faculty:
David Arquette (Homeroom/Drama)
Appears in episode 101-106
David Arquette is an actor, writer, director, and producer whose unique sensibility makes him one of the most versatile talents working in the entertainment industry today. He is a fourth generation performer and has appeared in films such as the Scream series, Hamlet 2, Never Been Kissed and The Darwin Awards.
Swizz Beatz (Music)
Appears in episode 103
A renowned DJ-turned fashion designer and painter, Swizz is one of the music industry's most prolific producers. With over 14 years of creating music for some of the biggest musicians in music history, he has worked with the likes of Jay-Z, DMX, Beyonce, Kanye West, and Bono to name a few.
Roy Choi (Cooking & Nutrition)
Appears in episode 104
Roy Choi is a culinary street revolutionary. While his pedigree includes Le Bernardin and the Beverly Hilton, his fame rose with one amazing taco. He nearly single-handedly created the gourmet food truck movement with his popular food truck Kogi BBQ. The food truck has won much recognition, including a Bon Appétit Award in 2009 and "Best New Chef" for Roy Choi by Food & Wine in 2010, the first for a food truck.
Jeff Corwin (Biology & Ecology)
Appears in episode 102
Emmy Award-winning television host, author and biologist Jeff Corwin has worked for the conservation of endangered species and ecosystems around the globe. For nearly 20 years, Jeff has produced and hosted a variety of popular television series. Through education and awareness, he believes these vital elements of our planet can be conserved for future generations.
Fabien Cousteau (Physics)
Appears in episode 103
Fabien Cousteau grew up on decks of his famous grandfather's ships, Calypso and Alcyone. He has refined a public policy platform grounded by his strong belief that environmental discipline can be the basis for innovative solutions that strike a balance between regional and global environmental problems and the realities of market economics.
Cliff Dorfman (English, Writing)
Appears in episode 101, 103, and 105
Cliff Dorfman is a screenwriter, film director, and actor. He is best known for his work on HBO's "Entourage" and was nominated for a Writers Guild of America Award as a screenwriter on the series for the 2005 episode "My Maserati Does 185."
Reverend Jesse Louis Jackson (Civil Rights and Political Science)
Appears in episode 105
The Reverend Jesse Louis Jackson, Sr., founder and president of the Rainbow PUSH Coalition, is one of America's foremost civil rights, religious and political figures. Over the past forty years, he has played
a pivotal role in virtually every movement for empowerment, peace, civil rights, gender equality, and economic and social justice.
Dr. Mae Jemison (Science)
Appears in episodes 103 and 105
As a mission specialist aboard the Shuttle Endeavour in 1992, Dr Mae Jemison is the first woman of color to enter space. Dr. Jemison is currently leading 100 Year Starship (100YSS), a bold, far reaching new initiative to ensure that capabilities exist for human travel beyond our solar system to another start within the next 100 years.
Chris Jordan (Photography)
Appears in episode 105
Chris Jordan is an acclaimed artist and cultural activist based in Seattle. His work explores contemporary mass culture from a variety of photographic and conceptual perspectives, connecting the viewer viscerally to the enormity and power of humanity's collective unconscious.
Soledad O'Brien (Journalism)
Appears in episodes 102 and 105
Soledad O'Brien is an award winning journalist, documentarian, news anchor and producer. She recently founded Starfish Media Group, a multi-platform media production and distribution company, dedicated to uncovering and producing empowering stories that take a challenging look at the often divisive issues of race, class, wealth, poverty and opportunity through personal stories.
Suze Orman (Finance and Economics)
Appears in episodes 104 and 105
Suze Orman is one of the top personal finance experts in the US. Twice named by Time Magazine as one of the 100 most influential people in the world Suze was also named by Forbes magazine asone of the most powerful women in the world today. She is a two-time Emmy Award winner and the author of ten consecutive mega bestselling books.
Doriana Sanchez (Dance & Movement)
Appears in episodes 102, 104, and 106
Well known for creating beautiful and extraordinary images for stage and screen, Doriana Sanchez has gone on to become one of the most successful director/choreographers in entertainment. Her television credits include the Grammy Awards, the American Music Awards, and 8 seasons as resident choreographer on "So You Think You Can Dance."
Cara Santa Maria (Neuroscience/Science)
Appears in episode 105
Cara Santa Maria is an American science communicator, writer, producer and television personality. She was the senior science correspondent and host of the "Talk Nerdy to Me" series for The Huffington Post and is currently a host at the Young Turks Network.
Oliver Stone (History)
Appears in episodes 101 and 104
Academy Award-winning Oliver Stone has written and directed over 20 full-length feature films, among them some of the most influential and iconic films of the last decades - films such as "Platoon" (1986), "JFK" (1991), "Natural Born Killers" (1994), "Nixon" (1995), and "World Trade Center" (2006). His latest work, "The Untold History of the United States", is a monumental 10-hour interrogation of the conventional triumphalist narrative of U.S. History.
Rob Smith (Life Skills)
Appears in episode 106
Rob Smith is a Workforce Services Manager at STRIVE, a leading organization in helping individuals with significant barriers to employment receive the training and support they need to obtain meaningful work. Rob co-authored the STRIVE training curriculum.
Dr. Stephen Keller (Principal)
Dr. Stephen Keller is the Superintendent of the Redondo Beach Unified School District. He graduated from the UCI/UCLA Joint Ed.D. in Educational Administration in 2000. He has served in a variety of districts with diverse demographics from Baldwin Park to Laguna Beach. After graduating from Pitzer College and, shortly thereafter, The Claremont University, he was a middle school teacher and assistant principal in Rancho Cucamonga. In the same community, he became an Elementary school principal at the tender age of 28. In his next venture, the Laguna Beach Unified School District, Steven stepped into a new context, serving as the Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction as well as Human Resources for five years. His focus in Laguna Beach was "the whole child." From Laguna Beach, Steven landed what he calls his "dream job" as Superintendent of Schools in Redondo Beach Unified School District at the age of forty-one and has thrived in this position for nearly seven years.
"Dream School" is made by Fresh One Productions, the production company which Jamie Oliver launched, and its executive producer is Roy Ackerman. The show is also produced by G-Unit Films and Television, the production company launched by Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson. Jackson's producing partner Andrew Jameson also serves as executive producer. Jonathan Grosskopf will executive produce for Sundance Channel.
In addition to "Dream School" Sundance Channel's impressive slate of boundary-pushing, non-fiction programming also includes "Push Girls" and "The Writers' Room," a new original series produced in partnership with Entertainment Weekly that takes viewers inside the writers' rooms of the TV shows that are defining pop culture. These projects build on Sundance Channel's overall programming slate which includes the critically-acclaimed original drama series "Rectify" and the recently-aired Jane Campion mini-series "Top of the Lake."
About Sundance Channel
Sundance Channel is the destination for What's Next, Now. Showcasing both today's creative icons and the emerging talent of tomorrow, Sundance Channel tells bold stories with a fresh point of view. In addition to award winning films, Sundance Channel is home to daring new original programming. Launched in 1996 and owned and operated by AMC Networks Inc., Sundance Channel provides perspectives dedicated to founder Robert Redford's mission to celebrate creativity.
About AMC Networks Inc.
Dedicated to producing quality programming and movie content for more than 30 years, AMC Networks Inc. owns and operates several of the most popular and award-winning brands in cable television. AMC, IFC, Sundance Channel, WE tv, and IFC Films produce and deliver distinctive, compelling and culturally relevant content that engages audiences across multiple platforms. The company also operates AMC/Sundance Channel Global, an international programming business, and AMC Networks Broadcasting & Technology, a full-service network programming feed origination and distribution company.