Fly By Light
Fly By Light
Fly By Light
Item#: FBL-1106
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Running Time: 59 minutes
and 83 Minutes
With Special Features
Grades 9 - Adult
Scene Selection • Closed Captioned
A Film by Ellie Walton and HawaH


"Beautifully put together... Using intensive experiences with nature, meditation, mindfulness, and vulnerability, the educators hope to give the teens the tools to break the cycle of poverty and violence. With the right framing and mind-set, this film could be an empathetic look into lives very different from other students’, or a reflection for similar communities that are trying to build anti-violence programming."
– School Library Journal

"A film about an innovative program to get African American youths from Washington DC out of the city to explore music, the challenges that they face, 'and the best ways to have healthy relationships with other people.' Is Fly by Light the cure for America's urban and racial woes? Not all by itself. But if this handful of city kids is any indication, it can make a huge difference in lives.”
– Anthropology Review

Fly By Light is a beautiful movie that shows the trauma that young people of color face in America, while also the strength of coming together, facing your demons and an unkind society, and achieving your dreams. I highly recommend the film for anyone curious about what so many urban youth are struggling with, and how to help people move forward in their lives.”
-State Senator Jamie Eldridge, Massachusetts

“The filmmakers provide a window into the lives and souls of some of our most vulnerable - yet truly triumphant, beautiful and determined - youth. It is a privilege and an inspiration to partake in the experience of this movie.”
- Marilee Aronson, Clinical Psychologist, Washington, DC

“A powerful testament to the commitment that we must have to the next generation, to give them space to grow, guidance on their path, and motivation to keep pushing forward.“
- Mikal Amin Lee, Program Director, Urban Word, New York City

“Amazing…inspiring and uplifting. Most importantly, it shares the stories of some amazing DC youth who were given the opportunity to learn about making peace, using art to overcome adversity and about using love to build community."
- Rebekah Mason, Poverty Attorney

"A rare film, one that yanks viewers out of the comfort of their chairs and into the challenges confronting low-income youth of color around the country. Yet beyond merely documenting the depressing realities facing young people today, Fly by Light reveals hope, and the opportunity for nature, community and art to transcend the seemingly concrete limits of the urban jungle."
– Shahid Buttar, Executive Director, Bill of Rights Defense Committee

"I showed Fly By Light to the students in my African American History through Film class. And almost to a person, they ranked Fly By Light as one of their favorites. Their collective reasoning was clear: Fly By Light struck that rare balance in documentary film between not only illuminating a problem clearly today, (but) also providing a blueprint for moving forward…and in that way, gave them some hope (which they were desperately searching for) that change - creating better life opportunities for marginalized young people of color at least – was possible."
–Assoc. Prof. Hasan Jeffries, Ohio State University

Boulder Life Film Festival


Alexandria Film Festival
Albuquerque Film & Media Experience
Bahamas International Film Festival
Capitol City Black Film Festival
Urban Media Makers Film Festival
Legacy Media Institute International Film Festival
Culture Unplugged Film Festival
Maryland International Film Festival
Brooklyn Girl Film Festival
The Northern Virginia International Film Festival




All prices include DVD and limited Public Performance Rights
• K-12 Schools, Public Libraries & Community Groups: $89
• Colleges, Government, Business: $295
• Colleges, Government (with DSL): $395

Fly By Light is an intimate exploration of young people seeking to overcome the violence in their lives and create a new path for their future by connecting to a world outside their neighborhoods.

In Washington, DC, where high school dropout rates average 40%, a group of teenagers participates in an ambitious peace education youth program that takes them out of their tough neighborhoods and into the beautiful mountains of West Virginia. For the first time in their lives, Mark, Asha, Martha, and Corey play in mountain streams, sing under the stars, and confront the entrenched abuse, violence and neglect of their past.

The week-long outing is part of the 9 month Fly By Light program that uses nature immersion, music, art, conflict resolution, and social-emotional learning techniques to help young people overcome the trauma, grief and anger they often hold inside – and that holds them back.

Taken outside their comfort zone, and showered with support from caring mentors, we witness the city walls come down and their full selves emerge, armed with a greater sense of life’s possibilities. The film follows the four as they return home, where each continues over the next year to face different hurdles and roadblocks they must confront to build a better life.

The film provides a window into the immense pain and challenges that many young people carry today, while also showing their incredible capacity for transformation when given the support and tools to better understand themselves and their potential, and to connect with others in a positive way.


I am Somebody
The "I Am Somebody" exercise presented in the film.

Make it Rain
A positive words exercise from the retreat.

What do I Need?
The participants learning how to develop compassion.

I Never Wake Up Angry Now
A sample of participant conversations from the retreat.

Let it All Go
Mark expressing his story through rap.

For Everyone
A music video for the song "Fly By Light" that incorporates footage from the film.