PIEDMONT -- A picture may be worth a thousand words, as the old saying goes, but sometimes a thousand words can be pretty great, too.

The Piedmont Appreciating Diversity Film Series committee will host two free showings this month of "Louder Than a Bomb," a 2011 documentary by filmmakers Greg Jacobs and Jon Siskel about an annual youth poetry slam competition in Chicago.

The film chronicles how teenagers work together to present and critique each other's work in what is the largest event of its kind in the nation.

"Only those possessing hearts of stone will remain unmoved by the raw adolescent emotion, passion and verbal jousting that make Greg Jacobs and Jon Siskel's documentary so poignant and enjoyable," wrote Stan Hall in The Oregonian newspaper based in Portland. "The film smartly focuses on the kids, who continually stimulate brains, break hearts and make us care what happens to them."

The film will be shown at 7 p.m. Thursday at the Ellen Driscoll Playhouse, 325 Highland Ave., Piedmont, with a reception at 6:30 p.m. and discussion at 8:40 p.m. Oakland's New Parkway Theater, 474 24th St., will show the film at 3 p.m. July 26. Both are free.


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Olivia Adams, 13, of Piedmont, will present a five-minute, spoken-word poem before the Thursday showing. Sally Arney, committee member, said the organization chose "Louder Than a Bomb" as its summer film in hopes that it would draw teens like Adams to attend.

"It is an inspiring, fun film for teens that shows their mutual support for one another," she said. "It offers them another method for self-expression and a way to connect through teamwork. It is uplifting, heartwarming and promotes an appreciation of their diversity, which is our mission."

The film follows four competitors as they prepare for and participate in 2008 for the poetry slam, which draws more than 600 teenagers from Chicago-area schools each year.

"By turns hopeful and heartbreaking, the film captures the tempestuous lives of these unforgettable kids, exploring the ways writing shapes their world and vice versa," the film's website says. "This is not 'high school poetry' as we often think of it. This is language as a joyful release, irrepressibly talented teenagers obsessed with making words dance."

Arney added, "You don't need to love poetry to love this film. The heartfelt expressions of what it is like to be a teen, and to see them telling their own stories, challenges many assumptions about teens."

The film series also is sponsored by Piedmont League of Women Voters and DiversityWorks.

IF YOU GO
What: Piedmont Appreciating Diversity Film Series showing of "Louder Than a Bomb"
First showing: Thursday -- 6:30 p.m. reception, 7 p.m. film, 8:40 p.m. discussion, Ellen Driscoll Playhouse, 325 Highland Ave., Piedmont
Second showing: 3 p.m. July 26, New
Parkway Theater, 474 24th St., Oakland
Cost: Free for both showings
Information: www.diversityfilmseries.com or www.louderthanabombfilm.com