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In a scene from the film, “To Be Heard,” Anthony Pittman, one of the lead characters, gets ready to perform at the NYC Urban Word youth poetry slam finals.


Thomas University partners in Covey Film Festival

The award-winning documentary “To Be Heard” will be presented at Thomas University at 9 a.m. Thursday, Oct. 3, as part of the Covey Film Festival, a fundraising event for the Thomasville Community Resource Center. TU is a festival partner along with the Thomasville Center for the Arts and the Florida State University College of Motion Picture Arts.

The event will be held in the Flowers Executive Classroom in Smith-Bonvillian Hall, located on TU’s Main Campus.

“To Be Heard” chronicles the lives of three teenage friends from the South Bronx. When they start attending a class about poetry writing, their lives change.  Their writing and reciting become vehicles for their expressions of love, friendship, frustration and hope. Through the course of the movie, the three grow into accomplished self-aware artists who use their creativity to change their circumstances.

“To Be Heard” has won many awards, including more than two dozen film festival honors. It was also recognized as one of the best documentaries of the year by the New York Times. 

 “This film explores the crucial role that the expressive arts such as writing and poetry, can play in helping teenagers to discover themselves and their inner voice,” said Bill Milford, Chair of the Division of Social Work at TU. “This is an important part of the personal growth journey, to find a way to externalize to the world what is your internal experience, and to be validated for it.”

During the presentation on Oct. 3, the film will be followed by a question-and-answer session with Roland Legiardi-Laura, one of the filmmakers, and Dr. Nick Mazza, Dean of the Florida State University School of Social Work and Editor of the Journal of Poetry Therapy. Milford will moderate the discussion.

Admission is free for all participants. Preregistration is required at  Professional social workers may receive 2.5 continuing education unit credits through LPCA and GA-NASW. For more information about the film, visit For more information about the event, contact Milford at

In addition to the “To Be Heard” event as part of the Covey Film Festival, the TU Jazz Ensemble will perform on Friday evening, Oct. 4, at the reception before the showing of “Beasts of the Southern Wild” at the Thomasville Center for the Arts.

At 1 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 6, a full script reading of the movie “The Highwaymen” will be held in the Flowers Executive Classroom inside Smith-Bonvillian Hall on Thomas University’s Main Campus. Currently in pre-production, this film is the true story of 26 black artists in the 1960s from Fort Pierce, Fla., who taught themselves to paint and grew together as artists selling their works on the highways because no galleries would accept them. 

For more information about all events that are part of the Covey Film Festival, visit



In another scene from “To Be Heard,” Pearl Quick, one of the lead characters, explains how she deal with reality ‘on the other side of the door.’

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