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Cuesta College hosts screening of Redford’s documentary Paper Tigers 

Paper Tigers

James Redford’s Paper Tigers

Film airs Aug. 30, Sept. 6

–Court Appointed Special Advocates, or CASA, Center for Family Strengthening and Cuesta College are hosting a screening of Paper Tigers, a film that follows a year in the life of a student at an alternative high school in Walla Walla, Wash. The school radically changed its approach to disciplining its students, and in the process became a promising model for how to break the cycles of poverty, violence and disease that affects families.

The film, by director James Redford and executive producer Karen Pritzker, will be screened on Aug. 30 at Cuesta North County Campus Room N3102, 2 to 5 p.m. and Sept. 6 at Cuesta SLO Campus Room 5401, 1 to 4 p.m. The screening is open to all professionals working with children, teens and young adults throughout the county. Tickets must be reserved in advance through Center for Family Strengthening’s website

LMFT-Program Supervisor of Martha’s Place Cortney Wagner will give a post-screening talk on helping to heal trauma in children. Wagner received her M.A. at Antioch University in Santa Barbara and became a Licensed Marriage Family Therapist in 2006. She has 15-years of experience working with children and families who have experienced various types of trauma and various mental health issues. Wagner has worked with San Luis Obispo County Behavioral Health since 2007, and has been the program supervisor of Martha’s Place since 2010.

Executive Director of Center for Family Strengthening Lisa Fraser, will follow Wagner and address the process and methods to integrate trauma-informed care into an organization. She will identify some of the most difficult pitfalls to avoid, thereby helping to ensure success as one moves to embrace and implement trauma-informed care. Fraser, executive director of the Center for Family Strengthening, or CFS, since 2001, distinguishes herself through her vision to create and grow nine major programs, each designed to strengthen families and stop the cycle of child abuse. She also serves as board president of Alpha Pregnancy and Parenting Support and as the executive director of the LINK, which provides services to children, youth and families. Fraser was part of establishing Martha’s Place, an assessment center for at-risk children. Fraser earned a B.S. degree and a Single-Subject Teaching Credential at Cal Poly. She has also earned professional certifications including California Standards for Family Strengthening and Support certification, California Mandated Reporter of Suspected Child Abuse certification, non-Profit Development Officer Program certification and a certificate in Facilitative Leadership-Interaction Institute for Social Change.

“We are very excited to screen Paper Tigers to the community professionals who work with the traumatized youth in our county,” says North County Program Manager of CASA San Luis Obispo Count Melanie Barket. “Adverse childhood experiences impact the lives of countless youth in every sector of this county, from those in our preschools to our juvenile justice system and beyond. These adverse childhood experiences are far reaching and have lasting impact in these youth school careers, transition to adulthood and future health as adults. Trauma informed care is a powerful approach, and I am hopeful that this film will spark a sea of change in the way we care for this most vulnerable population.”

Paper Tigers is an intimate look into the lives of selected students at Lincoln High School, an alternative school that specializes in educating traumatized youth. Set amidst the struggling rural community of Walla Walla, WA, the film intimately examines the inspiring promise of trauma-informed communities – a movement that is showing promise in healing youth struggling with the dark legacy of adverse childhood experiences. Following six students over the course of a school year, we see Lincoln’s staff try a new approach to discipline; one based on understanding and treatment rather than judgment and suspension. Using a combination of verity and revealing diary cam footage, Paper Tigers is a testament to what the latest developmental science is showing – that just one caring adult can help break the cycle of adversity in a young person’s life.

The film is directed and produced by Robert Redford’s son James Redford with executive producer Pritzker through KPJR Films, LLC. The film premiered on May 28, 2015, at the Seattle International Film Festival. Paper Tigers has an upcoming companion film titled Resilience, which delves into ACEs neuroscience research and includes portraits of other practitioners putting that science it into action.

Redford makes documentaries that transform important health and environmental issues into stories that educate and inspire. With nine films to date he has looked at issues such as water shortage in the west, dyslexia, the dangers of chemical flame retardants, as well as why and how chronic stress damages healthy childhood development. Paper Tigers, currently on the festival and screening circuit, will air on Pivot TV near the end of 2015.

Pritzker is a film producer, editor, and writer. She executive produced The Big Picture: Rethinking Dyslexia, a documentary that demystified dyslexia and generated widespread awareness of this misunderstood disability. Shown on HBO in 2013, and winner of the Parents’ Choice Award, the film continues to be screened all over the world acting as a starting point for conversation and change.


  • Aug. 30, 2 to 5 p.m. at Cuesta North County Campus Room N3102
  • Sept. 6, 1 to 4 p.m. at Cuesta College SLO Campus Room 5401


Tickets are available online at

For more information and to view the trailer visit

About Center for Family Strengthening

In 1988 the San Luis Obispo County board of supervisors designated Center for Family Strengthening, or CFS, as the self-governing entity responsible for local efforts to prevent and respond to child abuse and neglect. CFS is dedicated to strengthening families through education and advocacy. It partners with family support organizations in SLO County to provide resources to families in need, protect children from abuse and neglect and ensure that strong families are a community priority. To donate or learn more go to or call (805) 543-6216.

About CASA of Slo County

Court Appointed Special Advocates, CASA, of San Luis Obispo County advocates for the best interests of abused and neglected children within the court system. CASA recruits, trains and supervises volunteers who advocate for this vulnerable population with the goal of ensuring that each and every child grows up in a safe, nurturing  and permanent home. To donate or learn go to or call (805) 541-6542.



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