Cleveland International Film Festival } March 22 – April 1, 2023 } Playhouse Square

TOUCH OF GREATNESS

Year: 2004
Country: United States
Language: English
Run Time: 54 minutes

Among those unsung heroes we call elementary teachers, Albert Cullum was unique, and therefore dangerous. For ten years in Rye, New York, Cullum taught fifth-graders with a creative passion. Mixing classroom footage from the late ?50s and early ?60s with contemporary shots of Cullum and his former students, this homage is striking for its visual examples of Cullum?s teaching philosophy. He taught with movement, music and color; he taught Agamemnon by having them act it out; he led dances reminiscent of Martha Graham; he made games and contests out of learning, and he slipped in a whole lot of vocabulary words. Then he fought to stay in the classroom when certain parents and teachers rallied against him. The older footage is amazing, much of it courtesy of Robert Downey, Sr., who was just learning how to use a camera at the time. Cullum was a flamboyant man who wanted to act, but ended up being the king of the classroom. Title comes from Downey, Sr.?s 1964 film ?A Touch of Greatness.?

Director
Leslie Sullivan

Producer
Catherine Gund

Cinematography
David Mansfield

Editing
Bernadine Colish

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