Something Within Me

Director: Emma Joan Morris
Screenwriters: Jerret Engle

Institute History

  • 1993 Sundance Film Festival


Something Within Me is a heartwarming film which reminds us there is creative spirit in everyone. Shot in the South Bronx at St. Augustine's School of the Arts, the story recognizes the school's unique curriculum, where rigorous musical training is mandatory. The school neither admits on the basis of musical talent. nor intends to turn out professional musicians. Instead the remarkably dedicated teachers use musical theory and performance to initiate various responses from the students.

The film's optimism is a welcome relief from the onslaught of bad publicity detailing the current state of city schools. Without suggesting that the situation is any better than it is, Morris reminds us that there is still hope. The story is told by the grade-school students themselves, and it is truly inspiring to hear them describe the many ways music has freed their spirits and touched their souls. The film is wonderfully edited, climaxing with a holiday performance which involves all of the students. Having accompanied the kids as they struggled literally with their instruments and emotionally with discipline and the challenge of self-expression, we feel the magic of seeing everything come together.

There is also a subtle reminder in this story that the creative arts have virtually vanished from American courses of study Not only is this fact sad. but It will continue to have a damaging effect on the chances of Americans becoming artists or experiencing art. There is a touching moment in Something Within Me where a student is unable to participate in class because his instrument is broken. Even the teacher, an expert in rubber-band and Krazy Glue remedies, is unable to fix the institutionally issued horn. How many of us have unused instruments shoved in the back of our closets? If we don't send them to St. Augustine's, let's at least give them to our children.

Saturday Jan 23 7:00 pm
Holiday Village Cinema I

Monday Jan 25 1:00 pm
Holiday Village Cinema I

Thursday Jan 28 10:00 am
Egyptian Theatre

Saturday Jan 30 10:00 am
Holiday Village Cinema I


— Catherine Schulman

Screening Details

Sundance Film Festival Awards


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