Generation Impact: The Coder

Jay Jay Patton was only 13 when she designed and built Photo Patch, a mobile app to help kids send photos and letters to parents who are incarcerated. The app was inspired by Jay Jay’s own experience; her dad was in prison for five years and it was difficult to communicate with him as much as she wanted. Jay Jay and her dad then founded Unlock Academy, a school that teaches coding and provides mentoring to enable young people of color to have careers in STEM fields. This is a true story of drive, hope and ingenuity.

Generation Impact is a new docu series that features teenage entrepreneurs using technology to break barriers and better their communities. THE CODER is the first film in the series.

  • Samantha Knowles
    Tangled Roots, The Blue Line, Why Do You Have Black Dolls?
  • Steve Cantor
  • Jamie Schutz
  • Johnny Saint Ours
  • Angela Matusik
    Executive Producer
  • Geeta Gandbhir
    Executive Producer
  • Project Type:
    Documentary, Short
  • Genres:
    documentary, science, STEM, Family friendly
  • Runtime:
    6 minutes 45 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    June 9, 2021
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Language:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
Director Biography - Samantha Knowles

Samantha Knowles is a Brooklyn-based filmmaker. Her most recent film, Tangled Roots, follows Attica Scott, the only black woman in the Kentucky state legislature, as she fights to dismantle a system of discrimination against black people penalized for something seemingly innocuous – their hair. The short documentary premiered on BET in June 2020, was broadcast on Showtime, and was an official selection in the 2020 Tribeca Film Festival. Before Tangled Roots Samantha directed The Blue Line, which examined the controversy that erupted when her hometown painted a blue line on the street in support of police. It premiered at the 2018 Tribeca Film Festival and is now part of the prestigious New York Times Op-Doc series. The film was also featured in NBC’s Meet the Press Film Festival. Samantha also directed the award-winning short documentary Why Do You Have Black Dolls?, which focused on a small community of black doll creators, curators, and collectors and examined the history and significance of the black doll. The Huffington Post said of the film: “Knowles’ film is more than just a look at black dolls and doll collectors–it begs deeper questions of identity and invites a really important conversation”. The film has been an official selection in numerous film festivals and was featured in the NY Daily News, USA Today, Jet Magazine, the Huffington Post, TheGrio,, and more. Samantha graduated from Dartmouth College and is a documentary film director in NYC.

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