The Global Search for Education: Coffin Nachtmahr Challenges Us All to “Throw”
Finding one’s passion is not a new challenge, but the story of how Coffin Nachtmahr overcame his struggles and found his passion is a call to action for us all in the documentary Throw, now screening on the Planet Classroom Network YouTube Channel. Viewers will be inspired by Coffin, a Baltimore inner-city adolescent with a speech disorder, who finds purpose and confidence in throwing Yo-Yos as well as building his own company to inspire others. His solution may be a simple toy on a string, but it also keeps inner-city kids safe mentally and physically from the difficult environment around them.
David Larson, the co-director of Throw, originally found Coffin performing his extraordinary Yo-Yo tricks in Patterson Park in East Baltimore, a neighborhood challenged by poverty. Coffin’s unique dress style, not-to-mention his talent with the retractable toy, led Larsen and his Co-Director Darren Durlach to turn Coffin’s story into a film.
The Global Search for Education is pleased to welcome Throw’s Co-Director, Darren Durlach.
Darren, tell us one thing you discovered about Coffin’s story during the process of making your film that you had not been inspired by before?
Honestly, it was his complete and utter lack of caring about what anyone thinks about him. He’s totally happy doing his own thing. If people want to hang out with him, he’s totally happy to do that. If they don’t, he couldn’t care less. He seems perfectly happy tinkering with art of all kinds and spending time with his friends. He doesn’t judge anyone. He may be the most buddhist person we know, in that regard. We find that liberating and inspiring.
The film slowly transitions from speaking about Coffin’s personal struggles to his many accomplishments. Was this done on purpose, and if so, what messages do you hope this illustrates to its audience?
We hope that anyone who is struggling in their lives can find inspiration from Coffin’s story of overcoming great difficulties.
A pandemic changed the world since you made this movie — do you think it has a special relevance now — an “additional” message for youth around the world who are struggling at this time?
That’s a good question. Coffin is never bored. He’s always creating. He draws, he makes music, he skateboards, he engineers yoyos, he yoyos, he works on his yoyo business. Somewhere, someone once said, “there’s no such thing as boredom, only boring people.” Maybe the pandemic and post-pandemic world is a good time to find new ways of creating your own worlds with what you have around you.
Hearing of both Coffin and Satarian’s life struggles as black youngsters living in Baltimore, do you believe communities should put more effort in creating community groups such as OhYesYo? We believe that there should be more opportunities for youth to express themselves.
We recently almost directed a film about the underappreciation of arts in education. There should be lots of places for youth to get together, play and explore. Not all will go on to be commercially successful artists, but the act of exploring freely in itself is empowering, educational, and beneficial no matter the eventual path of the individual.
What you believe is the most important thing art contributes to learning?
It teaches kids to trust their intuitions. It teaches conscious rule breaking. It teaches awareness.
What do you hope are the most important takeaways from your work?
We’re very selfish in that we do this to meet incredible people and be inspired ourselves. We hope that our craft entertains, enlightens, and inspires others as well.
C.M. Rubin and Darren Durlach
Don’t Miss the documentary Throw, now screening on the Planet Classroom Network YouTube Channel.