Festival Curated by Cook County Jail Inmates Premieres Aug. 9 & 11

On August 9th at 10:15am, the International Children’s Media Center and the Sheriff’s Anti-Violence Effort (SAVE) at the Cook County Correctional Facility, 2600 S. California, Ave., will present the WorldScene Film Festival, the first international film festival ever curated by inmates of a municipal jail, and screened in a correctional facility. The festival includes 6 powerful short films from 6 different countries, and the chance to see uplifting stories about the challenges faced by young men around the world. Public screening to follow on Saturday August 11th, at 7pm at 625 N. Kinsgsbury Street.

AMPAS Greenlights Global Girls for Second Year!

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) has awarded a second prestigious FilmWatch grant to the International Children's Media Center for its groundbreaking Global Girls Residency and Festival.

"It is the Grants’ privilege and responsibility to fund organizations, rising and established, that reflect both The Academy’s values and its leadership role in the arts," said Buffy Shutt, chair of the Academy's grants committee.

Global Girls is a therapeutic arts program designed to generate transformative dialogue about female-focused topics, and provide job-readiness skills. The program culminates in participants making a movie and curating their own film festivals. This evidence-based program works with marginalized young women in shelters and detention centers, helping them rise above limitations to build an empowered future. 

ICFilmFest 2018 To Kick Off At Chicago Area Youth Centers

The International Children’s Media Center will launch its ICFilmFest -Movies Make You Smarter™ Summer season at the Elliott Donnelley Youth Center and Albany Park Community Center!

The enchanting shorts program, Special Gifts features a variety of exceptional films, including Tuurngait, a French film that follows an Inuit child as he wanders into icy caverns following a strange bird, and Shame & Glasses, an Italian short about young Mirko’s fear of wearing his glasses in front of his crush.

The festival’s films cover themes of self-discovery, acceptance, adventure, and family. Children will have the opportunity to vote for their favorite films immediately following each program. Their participation determines the winners of the annual ICFF “Best of Fest”, to be awarded to the film that receives the highest number of votes.

ICFilmFest will be held at Elliott Donnelley Youth Center (3939 S. Michigan Avenue) on Wednesday, July 11th at 2:00 PM, and Albany Park Community Center (5101 N. Kimball Avenue) on Friday, July 20th at 2:00 PM.

We’re On A Mission to Change the Way Children Use Electronic Screens. Won’t You Join Us?

The ICMC’s revolutionary work with thousands of children and youth depends on you!

Your contribution will bring accelerative learning and “screen smart skills” to impoverished schools, and to homeless, abused and incarcerated youth. 

Screen Smart Programs Close Achievement Gap in Three Chicago Public Schools


Screen SmartTM the ICMC's accelerated learning program for PreK-1st grade reached almost 500 children, 35 teachers and 300+ parents in three schools this Spring. The program received high marks across the boards! Amazed at how many of her diverse learners, had begun to participate, Ms. Sweeney at Otis School commented, "Before this program, these students also never raised their hands and rarely talked in class. I've seen a big increase in  increase in confidence and participation due to the Screen Smart program."



MY FIRST MEDIA | How to Accelerate Early Childhood Learning from ICMC on Vimeo.

Inspiring In-Service Workshops

Check into ICMC professional development and discover how a great PD workshop can revive your passion for teaching!

1. Use Media & Technology to Improve Skills, Scores and Common Core

Connecting the stories on screens to the stories in books will boost literacy, critical thinking and empathy.  The result:  better learning and happy students. All Grades.

2. Screen Smart Learning Strategies for ELL Learners

This high-energy workshop shows educators how to use narrative media to improve ELL students’ abilities in many common core frameworks. All Grades.

3. Screen SmartTM - Accelerate Learning & Close the Achievement Gap 

Gain a new tool kit of neuroscience-based, sensory approaches that that boost self-regulation, literacy and social emotional learning for PreK-2nd grade students. 

4. Instant RECESS – What to Do When Students Lose Focus

Chaotic or unpredictable days that diminish learning can cause students to fall behind. These lively physical and vocal techniques boost classroom energy and focus every day. Prek-5th.

Call 773-528-6854 or email workshops@icmediacenter.org.

ICMC Digital Safety Workshops


Tech troubles at your school or home? If your child has problems with sexting, cyber bullying, game addiction or social media the ICMC can help. Call us about Digital LaunchPad: Building Healthy Tech Habits for your school, PTA or parent group: 773-528-6854, or email workshops@icmediacenter.org

ICMC Director Talks About Gaming Disorder on WGN

Photo: Jennifer GirardWGN's Julie Unruh interviews Executive Director Nicole Dreiske on "the Fortnite phenomenon" and how to avoid the game becoming an addiction: https://bit.ly/2NeqlYX


Thanks to the Albert Pick, Jr. Fund, the ICMC is partnering with the Sheriff’s Anti-Violence Effort (SAVE) to bring WorldScene to the Cook County Jail.  Using art therapy and conflict resolution strategies, the program's goal is to end the cycle of violence, offer skill-building for future employment and provide springboards to hope.

According to Elli Montgomery, Director of the SAVE program, World Scene will be the first film-based therapeutic arts residency to be offered at CCJ, and will be the only film festival ever to take place inside a jail. 

ICMC Call For Entries - Each Entry Eligible for 4 Festivals!
Don’t miss out on the ICMC’s impressive season of festivals for 2018-19.
Enter your film to be considered for four ICMC events: ICFilmFest, WorldScene, Global Girls, and My First Media. Download our Entry Form.
Entry Fee - $75/Short Film;  $125/Feature Film

Deadline:  December 12, 2018
Contact icmediacenter@gmail.com for additional information!
The Summer of Gods, Global Girls Fest 2015 Winner
Women’s View to Launch at Cook County Jail

After interviewing four agencies as prospective partners for the landmark Global Girls/Women's View film immersion program, the ICMC has selected Cook County Jail as the site for the next Women's View residency. With more than 200 films identified for the 2018 program, Women's View promises to deliver transformative experiences for young women detained at the CCJ.   The program trains female youth in vital 21st century skills and provides economic opportunities that lead to employment.  To volunteer, call 773-528-6854!

Global Girls from ICMC on Vimeo.

Professional Development Workshops – 2017-18 

1. Using Media & Technology to Improve Common Core Outcomes

2. Media-Based Learning Strategies for ELL Learners – Using Audio-Visual Storytelling to Improve Common Core Outcomes

3. Screen Smart® Strategies to End Summer Slump 

4. Instant RECESS – What to Do When Students Get “Wiggly”


1. Using Media & Technology Improve Common Core Outcomes

Children are visual learners and media is a powerful learning tool. However teachers seldom receive direct instruction in best practices for the use of media resources. Make sure your faculty has access to these cutting-edge strategies. Help them learn how to integrate media into lesson plans that will boost student participation and educational outcomes.

Educators will gain the following skills:

  • Rubrics for using short film/media to improve literacy skills

  • Introduction to 21st century skills and their impact on learning

  • Methods to address common core frameworks by teaching with media

  • How to achieve multiple learning outcomes from showing a single short film

These dynamic techniques foster strong academic skills, promote thinking, reasoning and teamwork skills and increase proficiency in using technology. The result: better learning and happy students.


2. Media-Based Learning Strategies for ELL Learners – Using Audio Visual Storytelling to Improve Common Core Outcomes

Students of all backgrounds watch more than a thousand hours of television and other media each year. What are they really learning from what they watch? How can educators use what media to improve academic performance and get ELL Students to participate in “extended response” discussions? This high-energy workshop shows educators how to use short films and videos to improve ELL student's work in the classroom. You'll learn essential techniques for using media to stimulate discussion, prompt critical thinking and improve students’ ability in many common core frameworks.

You’ll learn:

•An introduction to the basics of media literacy

•Strategies for engaging your students in dialog that supports classroom learning.

•Learning-rich activities to get students thinking critically after they’ve watched TV or movies.


3. Screen Smart® Strategies to End Summer Slump

Our youngest children are exposed to more media than ever and we all know what that means: too much “super hero play”, too much time spent with screens, and summer learning loss. So how do we help our youngest students develop a positive relationship to screens?

ICMC Executive Director Nicole Dreiske, uses a neuroscience-based strategy, focused on story telling and narrative to accelerate EC learning and end summer slump. 

Educators will learn:

  • How to use short films to improve literacy skills and inferential reasoning.

  • Fun, physical movements to boost focus and student engagement 

  • Articulation exercises that improve communication skills

  • Techniques for using screen time to elevate empathy 


4. Instant RECESS – What to Do When Students Get “Wiggly”

Whether “wiggling and drifting” come from a sugar high, stress, or desire for attention, the “wiggles” can wreck a day of learning. So what do we do when students are losing focus?

This is when educators need Instant RECESS! The Instant RECESS workshop teaches PreK-8th Grade educators a unique series of physical and vocal techniques together with simple concentration and creativity exercises that boost classroom energy and focus. As an added benefit for students: research in neuroscience shows that regular exercise strengthens neural pathways and improves cognitive skills.

Instant RECESS Workshop Outline – 2 Hours

  1. Background on the techniques & how exercise improves learning.

  2. Physical Warm-up – Hands & Whole Body (Hands-on Participation)

  3. Isolation exercises - In sync, on cue from instructor or peers (Hands-on Participation)

  4. Game-based exercises: Speed, quality, sequence of movement changes. Hands-on

  5. Plosives and exercises for the mouth and tongue to strengthen articulation skills. Hands-on.

Instant RECESS helps educators regain control on chaotic or unpredictable days – they’ll leave the roughhousing and yelling outside, while boosting concentration and control in the classroom.


Book Your Program Today!