Actor Edward James Olmos Inspires Madison Elementary

Published : Monday, March 28, 2016 | 1:14 PM

Academy Award®-nominated actor Edward James Olmos visited Madison Elementary School Tuesday, March 22, 2016 to see fourth grade student filmmakers in action and to celebrate the dedication of a new mural featuring his words.

“You are our hope and our future,” he told cheering Madison Elementary students at an outdoor school assembly. “If you want to make movies, you’re at the right school.”

This year, Madison fourth graders have been working twice each week in the Latino Film Institute (LFI) Cinema Youth Project, a program founded by Olmos that provides an immersive experience in the art of filmmaking and implements 21st century learning techniques in classrooms that support literacy, encourage creativity, and develop leadership skills among students.

“It’s been an extraordinary experience watching you work,” Olmos told fourth grade students after watching them film a scene in their classroom. “You’re learning to use tools to communicate.”

Madison fourth graders work with industry professionals to explore all areas of filmmaking, from developing ideas and writing scripts to production, editing and marketing. In collaboration with their peers, students develop short films under the guidance of their teacher and LFI Youth Cinema Project instructors. Students also participate in a variety of industry fieldtrips to agencies, studios and production sets to learn more about professional career opportunities

At the school assembly, Olmos told students that the he has never had his words painted on a mural.

The mural features Madison’s soaring eagle mascot, and Olmos’ favorite phrase, “Discipline yourself to the things you love when you don’t feel like doing it.”

“This has been my favorite phrase since I was a kid,” he told young students. “That’s how I got here. The key — remember this — the key, is to discipline yourself, make yourself do something you love to do even when you don’t feel like doing it.”

Discipline and perseverance is the path to achievement and excellence.

“By investing in this school and these children, you’re changing not only the course of their lives, but the lives of the people they touch,” he said, addressing Principal Juan Ruelas, PUSD Superintendent Brian McDonald, Board of Education President Dr. Elizabeth Pomeroy, Board member Larry Torres, parents and community leaders gathered at the assembly.

Olmos has achieved extraordinary success as an actor, producer and humanitarian. The Tony, Emmy and Academy Award® Nominated actor is probably best known to young audiences for his work on the SYFY television series Battlestar Galatica as Admiral William Adama. In 1988, the actor was nominated for an Academy Award® and won the Golden Globe for his portrayal of Jaime Escalante in Stand and Deliver. He directed and starred in his first motion picture, American Me, in 1992.

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