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Daniel Dale speaking at Teacher Conference
Photo by Joseph Michael Howarth
The 2024 Docs For Schools Teacher Conference took place on Friday, February 16, 2024. The theme of this year’s conference was Connection.

Educators joined us for a full day of sessions dedicated to exploring how the classroom connects to the world, how students connect to each other and how documentaries can connect us to experiences and individuals we might never otherwise know.

When: Friday, February 16, 9:00AM–2:30PM
Where: Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema (506 Bloor Street West, Toronto, ON)

Registration for the 2024 Teacher Conference is now closed.

Morning Session // Automating Creativity? Questioning AI’s Impact on the Arts, for Educators

Join Dr. Tanner Mirrlees for a presentation on generative AI and the arts. Mirrlees will provide a swift overview of the history of automation in the arts and focus in on how ChatGPT, DALL-E, deepfake and other AI systems are posing new ethical questions and practical challenges for creators, educators and learners. Mirrlees will consider some of the key controversies and debates triggered by AI in the arts and assess potential solutions to the emerging problems.

The presentation was followed by a Q&A with Dr. Mirrlees. 

Afternoon Screening // The Last Repair Shop


The Last Repair Shop
D: Ben Proudfoot, Kris Bowers | USA | 2023 | 40 min | English

Once commonplace in the United States, today Los Angeles is by far the largest and one of the last American cities to provide free and freely repaired musical instruments to its public schoolchildren, a continuous service since 1959.

From Academy Award®-nominated directing duo Kris Bowers and Ben Proudfoot, The Last Repair Shop grants an all access pass to the nondescript downtown warehouse where a dwindling handful of devoted craftspeople keep over 80,000 student instruments in good repair. Witness the profound life stories of four staff master craftspeople as well as the students whose lives have been transformed by their instrument. In the repair people’s stories, music has been the continuous thread that has mended their hearts and brought them to where they are now—fixing broken instruments to get them back into the longing hands of Los Angeles’ public school youth. 

The screening was followed by a live Zoom Q&A with filmmakers Ben Proudfoot and Kris Bowers.

Speaker Bios

Tanner Mirrlees
Tanner Mirrlees is the Director of the Communication and Digital Media Studies program in the Faculty of Social Science and Humanities at Ontario Tech University, where he teaches courses on the economics, politics, and policies of the creative industries in the digital age. Mirrlees is the author of numerous publications such as Work in the Digital Media and Entertainment Industries: A Critical Introduction (Routledge, 2024).

Kris Bowers 
Kris Bowers is an Emmy® Award-winning, two-time Grammy®-nominated and Academy Award®-nominated filmmaker and composer. A Juilliard-educated pianist, Bowers creates genre-defying music that pays homage to his jazz roots—with inflections of alternative and R&B influences. Composing the original scores for Best Picture Green Book and Netflix hit Queen Charlotte among many notable credits, Bowers has established himself at the forefront of Hollywood’s emerging generation of composers. Bowers is currently celebrating the release of some of his most highly anticipated projects, including Ava DuVernay’s Origin, Warner Bros. The Color Purple, and Bob Marley: One Love due early 2024. As an accomplished filmmaker, Bowers has multiple projects in development through his Et Al Studios Productions. Most recently, he co-directed the documentary The Last Repair Shop alongside Ben Proudfoot, released in November 2023 by Searchlight Pictures and L.A. Times Studios. Previously, Bowers garnered an Oscar nomination for Best Documentary Short Film for his film A Concerto is a Conversation (2020), which he also directed alongside Ben Proudfoot. 

Ben Proudfoot
An Academy Award®-winning short documentary director and entrepreneur, Ben Proudfoot is the creative force behind Breakwater Studios. The studio’s work has been recognized by the Academy Awards®, The Emmys, The Peabody Awards, Critics Choice Documentary Awards, The James Beard Awards, Sundance Film Festival, Telluride, and Tribeca Film Festival among others. Proudfoot was named one of Forbes "30 Under 30" for his leadership and innovation in the brand-funded documentary space. He hails from Halifax, Nova Scotia, and is a graduate of the University of Southern California's School of Cinematic Arts. Proudfoot is an accomplished sleight-of-hand magician and has performed at The Magic Castle in Los Angeles. 

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