Kalani is a teenage girl living in Harlem’s housing projects with her older brother Jacob, and her younger sister, Bebe. While her mother struggles to make ends meet for the family, Kalani’s ambitious goal is to get admitted to an Ivy League college.
As her siblings get caught in a myriad of hardships, Kalani teeters on the brink of ruin as she struggles to keep both her family and her dream intact. Strive reminds us that hard work, optimism, and perseverance in the face of overwhelming adversity is the essence of what it is to be an American.
As screenwriter Sha-Risse Smith put it: “ I wish I had a film like this when I was going to boarding school. […] I want people to watch this and say, if Kalani can do this, I can too.” The film title refers to Striver’s Row, a historic area in Harlem that its most successful citizens moved to.
Films are behavioral role models, and providing stories of success and hope can have a lasting impact on the communities that identify with its characters. The entire DNA of Prodigium Pictures runs on this model of social impact.
Ethnicity and economic background can be enormously challenging factors to adolescents who want to succeed in the United States’ school system. The lead character in “Striver’s Row”, Kalani, embodies this struggle and does her best with the cards that life has dealt her.
We plan to screen the film in partnership with organizations that empower young students that come from challenging socioeconomic backgrounds, and provide them with a role model that is based on real life stories. Here are a few real-life facts about the theme of our film:
New York State High School Graduation Rates
Black students in the state of New York are roughly half as likely to graduate high school than their white counterparts.
Source: Manhattan Institute (2006)
Bachelor's Degrees for Rich VS. Poor
Out of all bachelor’s degrees earned in 2014, more than half went to the richest quartile of students, while only 10% went to the poorest quartile.
Source: Pell Institute (2014)
Suspension from K-12 Schools, Nationwide
In K-12 public schools in the U.S., Black girls are 5 times as likely to be suspended as white girls.
Source: U.S. Department of Education (2014)
We are actively looking for partners – nonprofits in the space of empowering students of color to succeed, organizations that improve school systems in inner cities and groups that raise self-efficacy in individuals who grew up in poverty. Please reach out to us – we will find a way to work together and support your efforts through our film.
We are a team dedicated to making films that have a positive impact on the world. Telling stories of women…mostly women of color–in a divided nation where a government is attempting to discredit the integrity of individuals like our writer and her heroine, is needed more than ever. As Martin Luther King Jr put it:
“It is a cruel jest to say to a bootless man that he ought to lift himself up by his own bootstraps.”
However, with insight and action, the ideals that bring so many immigrants from countries all over the world to the U.S., live on.