LOGLINE: A New Orleans Inner-city drama teacher confronts her long buried past while fighting for two former students who share her similar tragic childhood.
Everybody has a story.
'A Story Like Mine' opens with a New Orleans drama teacher urging her students to always speak up and tell their story – something Diana was forbidden to do as a child. The film then flashes back 10 years, as twin 16-year-old boys who Diana had committed to help, Dwight and Dwan, are forcefully removed from the only city they know and dropped off in a Missouri farm town.
First the boys are welcomed, but then resented. A year later, Dwan is attacked and left for dead – slashed with a box cutter. Still, with their housing project in New Orleans shuttered down, and most public schools still closed, the twins have a realization that they are stuck in Missouri. They face another stark reality. They have been placed two grade levels ahead based on their age, despite learning that they are reading at a second grade level.
Diana is often the twins' only ally. Even before they were sent to Missouri, as a teacher using radical tactics to fight what was relentlessly happening to her students, she picked up a camera to try an experiment with the twins. One day in 2004, she said, 'I told your mom I would take my little video camera and record things you want me to understand; stories that are important to you.' She recognizes that she saw much of her own childhood in the lives of her students, and wants to do for Dwan and Dwight what she couldn't do for her own sister, who died at 16.
By explaining what happened to the twins over the past several years, Diana works with a group of current students, and pushes them to tell their own story. The film takes a twist with a call from an old friend of Diana's parents, Nurse Laurie Conrad, who ran a nursery that she attended as a small child. “Nurse” calls with a trove of new information about Diana’s parents. Nearly on her deathbed, she helps Diana learn of her own past, and offers insight into what she can do now to help the twins survive.
For Diana and the twins, there are new beginnings as she learns her whole story, and they learn to tell their own.
Tim Watson ...
is a documentary editor, writer, and producer based in New Orleans. His work has been seen on PBS, the Sundance Channel, HBO, and other networks in the U.S. and Europe; online; and at many film festivals around the world. He edited Everything Is To Be Continued (summer 2015); edited and co-wrote A Story Like Mine (fall 2015); was advising editor for Big Charity: The Death of America’s Oldest Hospital (2014); edited and co-produced Campo to B.C. (2014); co-edited and co-wrote Bayou Maharajah (2013); co-produced and co-edited The Music’s Gonna Get You Through (2010); was supervising producer and co-editor for Bury The Hatchet (2010); co-edited Walker Percy: A Documentary Film (2010); edited Taste Of Place (series, 2010-11); did story development for and edited Vows of Silence (2008); edited Member Of The Club (2008); co-produced and edited By Invitation Only (2006); edited a documentary segment for HBO Comic Relief (2006); co-produced and edited A Player To Be Named Later (2005); co-produced and co-edited Desire (2005); edited and co-wrote Shalom Y'All (2002); and edited Ruthie The Duck Girl (1999). Contact: Tim Watson, Ariel Montage, Inc., 3020 Royal St., New Orleans, LA 70117 (504) 948-0008 • firstname.lastname@example.org • arielmontage.com
How one woman's life struggle was transformed by the events that followed personal tragedy ...