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DocuClub LA: Leveling Lincoln


About the Screening

Please join the International Documentary Association and Film Independent on Tuesday, November 9 for the DocuClub LA virtual screening of the feature film Leveling Lincoln. Following the screening, we will be joined by Director/Producer Arden Teresa Lewis, Producer Kimberly Woods, and Editor Andrew Jordan for a discussion.

Live screening of the film begins at 7 pm PT on the Eventive platform, followed by a moderated feedback discussion with the filmmaking team in a Zoom meeting - 8:15 pm - 9:15 pm PT.

ASL and/or live captioning can be requested for the feedback discussion. Please email your request by November 5th to

DocuClub LA is a collaboration between IDA and Film Independent. DocuClub is a work-in-progress screening series offering the public and members of the documentary film community a first look of new projects. Filmmakers and creators have the opportunity to showcase their rough cut and consult feedback from their peers and audience.

The Work-in-progress Film

The documentary film Leveling Lincoln looks at the landmark 1961 desegregation case Taylor vs. Board of Education of New Rochelle, NY. The case, the first of its kind in the North, was praised on the floor of the United States Senate as an example of successful integration by peaceful protest, discourse, and jurisprudence. It's a story of historical importance that was featured on the cover of Life and attracted the attention of figures like Thurgood Marshall and CBS's Mike Wallace. In its wake New Rochelle emerged as a flourishing multi-cultural community and serves as a model for how to achieve educational parity for all our children.

Along with period photos and national newsreel footage, the film features powerful interviews of the students (now adults) who lived the history; we hear their stories about this controversial 1960s racial social experiment that began with the destruction of a segregated black school. They speak on camera about how this affected them as children, where they are now, and discuss what lessons can be applied to today. We flash back through photos and documents as they speak about their parents, teachers and classmates, and reflect on being part of a social experiment that began on their first days of kindergarten, after the implementation of state sponsored busing. They reflect upon their own children and grandchildren as they worry for their future. 

Leveling Lincoln is also a story of how a community came together at the grassroots level to reject the accepted de facto segregation of their city and recognize how its history of privilege made them blind to systemic inequality. Ultimately, we analyze the problems and solutions that the New Rochelle School District dealt with and glean what lessons can be learned and applied to today's equally challenging educational issues.

Feedback Session Participants

Headshot of a mature woman with pale skin and purple shoulder length hair. She has brown eyes and wears large purple glasses and a black turtleneck sweater.Arden Teresa Lewis, Director/Producer

Arden Teresa Lewis has just recently crossed over into filmmaking after decades of directing, writing, and acting in theatre in Los Angeles and New York. Leveling Lincoln is about her hometown and marks her first feature documentary. Her narrative feature script, Gravel Road, has been selected for ten film festivals and has won or been a finalist in seven of those fests. It is now in development with production planned in 2022. She teaches full time for LAUSD and holds a BA in theatre from UCLA.

Headshot of a brown-skinned female with dark curly hair wearing green turtleneck Kimberly Woods, Producer

Kimberly Woods is an American actress, award-winning voice over artist and film producer. After graduating from Princeton with a degree in neuroscience and theatre she moved to Los Angeles to start her career. She has since produced short films, web-series and a narrative feature. The two documentaries, Leveling Lincoln and Tender Points, mark her first entry into the non-fictional realm.

Panelist Bios


Headshot of an adult male with light skin tone, short brown hair, in a black tee shirt, in front of a weathered, corrugated metal wall.Andrew Jordan, Editor

Andrew Jordan is a writer, filmmaker, and editor working in Los Angeles. He grew up in Indiana and Vermont, and received his undergraduate degree from Princeton's Visual Arts Program, focused on film & video.

Space is very limited, so please RSVP only if you can commit to attending the entire event and actively participate in the feedback discussion.

Director(s): Arden Teresa Lewis
Producer(s): Kimberly Woods, Arden Teresa Lewis