Oscar-winning filmmaker tackles America’s public school system


  Oscar-winning documentarian Davis Guggenheim (An Inconvenient Truth) tackles the subject of the public school system in America in his latest film Waiting for ‘Superman’.

  In the documentary, Guggenheim meticulously examines the problems with the education system in the United States. He also follows five children from different states as they progressed through the school system and their lives at home. The film ultimately culminates with the children’s future education on the line in a lottery. With hundreds of kids and parents showing up for the lottery, only a few children would get pick to go to a certain school that would guarantee them a chance to go to college.

  When he was in Miami promoting his film, Guggenheim said he has never put himself in his own movie and he will never do it again. In the film, he asks his questions on camera and provides narration for Waiting for ‘Superman’. He said he thought it was a necessity to talk about his own problems and how he betrayed his own ideals he thought he lived by.

  For Guggenheim, the hardest thing to capture on film is the sequence where the five kids he follows in the documentary have participate in a lottery in order to get a higher education

  “Most people don’t know that by law, you have to participate in a lottery in order to get accepted to an exceptional school,” he says. “It is excruciating and heartbreaking when you see families jumping for joy with one father holding his daughter up in the air because she has a future. On the other hand, you see other families that are heartbroken because the parents feel like they let their kid down when it really isn’t their fault.”

  When Guggenheim first heard about the lottery, which he calls a bingo game to get a great education, he felt that it will going to be a powerful way to end his movie. In order to film the lottery segment, he found five different children different parts of the nation that were participating in the lottery: Daisy from Boyle Heights in East L.A., Anthony from Washington D.C., Francisco from the Bronx, Bianca from Harlem and Emily from Silicon Valley.

  “It is heartbreaking because you know if they don’t win this lottery, their screwed,” Guggenheim says.

  Guggenheim feels that the biggest challenge in making this movie is to get enough people to see his movie in order to change things.

  “The big thing we have going on now is the film’s website that has information on what you can do to make a change,” Guggenheim says. “In every major city, we have campaign managers for the website. The website has the name and contact information of the campaign manager where you they will give you information on what is happening locally, which local schools are the best and who are the politician that rallying for improvement in the education system. It all starts with people going to see this movie.”

  Waiting for ‘Superman’ opens today at Regal South Beach Cinema and Sunrise Cinemas Gateway.


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