SXSWedu is pleased to include the following films in the eduFILM program for 2015. These films represent the pivotal, leading-edge spirit of SXSWedu and its attendees. Check back for final updates to the eduFILM lineup in February.
Inspired by the events of New York City's recent historic winter, ANATOMY OF A SNOW DAY presents 12-year-old documentary filmmaker Zachary Maxwell's examination of the decision-making process for closing public schools. Researched, investigated, and filmed over a period of seven months, the first-person documentary reveals the inner workings of city government and chronicles Zachary's unrelenting pursuit for answers from the key decision makers. Using an abundance of facts, independent research, playful commentary, and objective analysis, the film offers a lighthearted and inspiring tale for young people about intellectual curiosity, questioning authority, and the value of civic awareness.
'The Backward Class' are the first class of Dalit ('untouchable') caste students, in India’s history, to undertake the national ISC high school exams as a means to a brighter future for themselves and an opportunity to break their families out of generations of destitution. After 13 years of preparation, this year it is up to the students - they must successfully write these exams. With their parents foreseeing their prospective accomplishments as a means of survival, and their school struggling with the recent economic crisis, the students have not only their own futures at stake, but those of their nearest & dearest as well. The pressure is on! A multiple award-winning documentary.
Ernesto Daranas Serrano
Chala is eleven years old and lives alone with his drug addict mother. He trains fighting dogs for a living, and this world of violence sometimes surfaces when he is at school. Carmela is his sixth grade teacher, for whom the boy feels affection and respect. One day she becomes ill and musts give up the school for several months. The new teacher, unable to understand Chala’s behavior, sends him off to a reeducation school. When Carmela returns, she rebels against this measure and other transformations her class has been subjected to. The relationship between the veteran teacher and the boy grows stronger, but this mutual commitment will jeopardize their continuance at the school.
Kelly Cox & Lucas Longacre
Big Dream follows the intimate stories of seven young women who are breaking barriers and overcoming personal challenges to follow their passion in science, math, computing & engineering. From small town Iowa to the bustling streets of the Middle East, Big Dream immerses viewers in a world designed by and for the inspiring next generation of girls.
Gael Garcia Bernal
Ten award-winning directors tell the story of the high school dropout crisis in Latin America in an anthology of narrative and documentary film as beautifully diverse and complex as the region. Travel to seven different countries and explore the underlying reasons why nearly one out of every two students never makes it to graduation day.
Anne de Mare & Kristen Kelly
The Homestretch follows three homeless teens as they fight to stay in school, graduate, and build a future. Each of these smart, ambitious teenagers - Roque, Kasey and Anthony - will surprise, inspire, and challenge audiences to rethink stereotypes of homelessness as they work to complete their education while facing the trauma of being alone and abandoned at an early age. As their stories unfold, the film connects us deeply with larger issues of poverty, race, juvenile justice, immigration, foster care, and LGBTQ rights. Against all odds, these kids defy stereotypes as they create new, surprising definitions of home. Through haunting images, intimate scenes, and first-person narratives, these teens take us on their journeys of struggle and triumph.
Everything we’ve been told about food and exercise for the past 30 years is dead wrong. Fed Up now available on DVD, Blu-ray™ & VOD, is the film the food industry doesn’t want you to see. From Katie Couric, Laurie David (Oscar winning producer of AN INCONVENIENT TRUTH) and director Stephanie Soechtig, Fed up will change the way you eat forever.
Daniel Anker (deceased in April, 2014)
Freedom Writers: Stories from an Undeclared War is the powerful story of 150 at-risk students from Long Beach, California, who were once considered unteachable. Inspired by their teacher, Erin Gruwell, and the writings of Anne Frank, the students discover a new way to express themselves. The documentary follows the students’ story from the first day of freshman year in 1994 to the present day. In a racially divided community were adolescents were exposed to drugs, gang warfare, and homicides, Gruwell makes it her goal to teach the students to put down their fists and guns and to pick up a pen.
Producers: Torry Holt and Jenny Hwa
The Hip-Hop Fellow follows Grammy Award winning producer, 9th Wonder's tenure at Harvard University, as he teaches ‘The Standards of Hip-Hop’ course, conducts research for his thesis, lectures at Duke University and explores hip-hop's history, culture and role in an academic setting. The film centers on the emerging significance of incorporating hip-hop music studies into academia and highlights the scholars at the forefront of preserving 40 years of hip-hop culture.
Dave Lamattina and Chad N. Walker
I AM BIG BIRD profiles Caroll Spinney, the 80-year-old puppeteer who has been behind Sesame Street's Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch since the show's first season. Relying heavily on Caroll's incredible archive of home videos dating back to the 1950s, I AM BIG BIRD captures how the love radiating from Caroll has created a worldwide cultural icon and answers why he can't say goodbye to the characters he cherishes.
Christine O'Malley and Neal Baer
IF YOU BUILD IT follows designer-activists Emily Pilloton and Matthew Miller to rural Bertie County, the poorest in North Carolina, where they work with local high school students to help transform both their community and their lives. Living on credit and grant money and fighting a change-resistant school board, Pilloton and Miller lead their students through a year-long, full-scale design and build project that does much more than just teach basic construction skills: it shows ten teenagers the power of design-thinking to re-invent not just their town but their own sense of what's possible. IF YOU BUILD IT offers a compelling and hopeful vision for a new kind of classroom in which students learn the tools to design their own futures.
Trailer Coming Soon
Director & Producer:
Oscar-winning documentary filmmaker Ruby Yang’s newest film, “My Voice, My Life” follows an unlikely group of misfit students from four Hong Kong middle and high schools cast in a musical theater performance. From low self-esteem to blindness, each student confronts unique personal challenges in the process of developing his or her character. Many of the musical theater troupe’s students come from Hong Kong’s underprivileged schools, which admit the territory’s academically underperforming students. Others come from a school for the blind that seeks to teach its students how to perform basic tasks and function in the sighted world. The film is presented by the L plus H Creations Foundation, in association with the Lee Hysan Foundation.
Greg Whiteley and Adam Leibowitz
For most of the last century, entry-level jobs were plentiful, and college was an affordable path to a fulfilling career. That world no longer exists. The feature-length documentary MOST LIKELY TO SUCCEED examines the history of education, revealing the growing shortcomings of our school model in todayʼs innovative world. The film follows students in a school created to prepare graduates for the innovation era. There, over the course of a school year, ninth graders take on ambitious, project-based challenges that promote critical skills rather than rote memorization and, indirectly, bring to life new approaches that revolutionize school as we know it, and give our students a fighting chance in a dynamic, ruthlessly-competitive economy.
Trailer Coming Soon
Do you have what it takes to be a teacher? Three college students, all aspiring teachers, embark on a cross-country road trip of self-discovery and adventure and find real-life inspiration from educators, policy makers, social entrepreneurs, and activists who share their own roads to the classroom. We follow Nadia, Rafael, and Grace's personal journeys as they contemplate their futures and begin to understand the vast opportunities, personal rewards, and vital need for passionate young people to teach. Join the Q&A after the film and discuss how to inspire the next generation to teach.
From SXSW Film comes this 90-minute compilation of the best short films directed and produced by Texas High School students in 2014.
Tatiana Couchain and Oury Milshstein
How do the Palestinian and Israeli (Arab and Jewish) education systems teach the history of their nations? This Is My Land follows several Israeli and Palestinian teachers over one academic year. Through observing their exchanges and confrontations with students, debates with the ministries curriculum, and its restrictions, the viewers obtain an intimate glimpse into the profound and long lasting effect that the Israeli/Palestinian conflict transmits onto the next generation.
David Barrow and Mike Erickson
Follow us throughout Texas, as the John B. Connally High School Culinary Arts and PISD AG team visits each phase of the Texas Beef Industry, culminating in historical and prescient cooking methods for this valued protein. Starting with Texas ranches and stockyards, continuing with livestock shows and feed lots, the students will start to form an idea of where their beef originates. We will learn the art of butchery along with current cooking trends in leading restaurants across Texas. Finally, the aspiring chefs will delve deep into technique in the Connally High School kitchen classroom.