A new documentary produced by Russell Long—titled Room to Breathe—about a middle school mindfulness program in San Francisco, premieres at the Mill Valley Film Festival this Sunday.
The film's creators hope Room to Breathe will convey the critical need to teach inward reflection/mindfulness in schools throughout the nation.
The film follows Megan Cowan, co-founder and executive director of programs at Mindful Schools, as she spends several months at San Francisco's Marina Middle School
teaching mindfulness to a group of seventh grade students—many who would be considered "at risk."
"By providing students with mindfulness skills, we're teaching them to bring awareness to their experience," says Cowan. "Our simple techniques teach children how to focus, manage their emotions and stress, and more skillfully resolve conflicts."
A survey following the mindfulness course at Marina Middle School found that 80 percent of the students calmed down more easily when upset, 58 percent focused better in class, 40 percent used it to avoid arguments or fights and 34 percent said it raised their grades.
Watch the film trailer here: