Freestyle Digital Media acquires ‘Class of Her Own’ doc

Boaz Dvir's documentary profiling the efforts of East Gainesville teacher Gloria Jean Merriex will be available to rent or own next month.

Freestyle Digital Media has acquired an acclaimed documentary from award-winning filmmaker Boaz Dvir.

“Class of Her Own” — an acclaimed feature-length documentary that follows the unreleased documentary short “Discovering Gloria” — tells the story of “a teacher’s transformation into an innovator who infused her math and reading lessons with hip hop, dance, and call-and-response,” per the official press release. “During her first 25 years at Duval Elementary in East Gainesville, Florida, Gloria Jean Merriex adhered to her district’s pacing guides. But after her school flunked its high-stakes state standardized exam, she changed. Completely.”

Students are shown in a scene from the Boaz Dvir documentary “Class of Her Own,” which was acquired by Freestyle Digital Media. (Photo: Screenshot/Freestyle Digital Media)

Facing major consequences, including a budget freeze and the threat of a shutdown, Merriex fought back, creating her own curriculum from scratch to support her students and experimenting with music and movement.

“She wrote songs and choreographed geometrical motions,” the synopsis details. “She flipped the playbook, starting the school year with the hardest concepts. She practiced tough love. And she substantially raised her expectations of her students — and herself. In one year, she catapulted Duval’s standardized test score from an F to an A.”

The moving film will be available to rent/own on all digital HD internet, cable and satellite platforms worldwide, as well as on DVD, next month. The film is available through Freestyle Digital Media, the film distribution division of Allen Media Group, whose founder, chairman and CEO, Byron Allen, owns theGrio.

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Dvir shared, in a statement, the following about Merriex: “Gloria created a roadmap that we should follow to help vulnerable students make up the ground they lost during the pandemic. Her main message to other educators is for them to meet students where they are, and to do it in an authentic way. It’s not necessarily about rap or chanting; it’s about finding customized ways to make learning relevant, fun and purposeful for everyone.”

The documentary is produced by Dvir, Emil Pinnock and Matthew Einstein. Tamara Tunie, whose credits include a long run on “Law and Order: Special Victim’s Unit,” narrates the project.

“Class of Her Own” will be available starting Tuesday, April 16 through Freestyle Digital Media.

Correction, Tuesday, April 2, 10:50 a.m. ET: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated the year of release for “Class of Her Own.” The story has been updated.

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