2013 AERA Film Festival
2013 AERA Film Festival
Film Descriptions and Links to Trailers

In addition to the Films that will be screened at the meeting, checkout these Virtual Amateur Film Festival Competition submissions.  

Saturday, April 27

12:00 pm – 2:00 pm: Two films about Native Americans

Co-Sponsors: Division J, Indigenous Education of the Americas SIG

Finding D-QU: The Lonely Struggle of California's Only Tribal College

This film examines the history of California’s only tribal college, D-Q University, that was shut down after a 35-year struggle. The documentary follows a group of occupants illegally living at the closed campus in the hopes of reopening the school.

Trailer: http://www.twn.org/catalog/previewwin/gvwin.aspx?pid=248 

Up Heartbreak Hill

Three Native American teenagers in New Mexico navigate their senior year as they decide whether to stay in their community or to leave in pursuit of opportunities elsewhere.

Trailer: http://www.upheartbreakhill.com/trailer/

2:15 pm – 3:45 pm: Forty Years Later: Now Can We Talk?

Co-Sponsor: Division F, Research Focus on Black Education SIG

Panelist: Executive Producer Lee Anne Bell, Barnard College; Filmmaker Markie Hancock, Hancock Productions

Explore the compelling story of the first African Americans to integrate with an all-white school in Batesville, MS from 1967-1969. In 2005, the Black alumni joined the previously all-white class reunion for the first time in 40 years to discuss the impact of desegregation, then and now. Markie Hancock is the filmmaker.

Sunday, April 28

8:15 am – 10:15 am: Waiting for Superman

Co-Sponsor: Division L

 Waiting for Superman follows a handful of promising kids through a system that the film suggests inhibits, rather than encourages, academic growth while embracing the belief that good teachers make good schools. This film explores innovative approaches taken by education reformers and charter schools.


Trailer: http://www.takepart.com/waiting-for-superman/film

10:35 am – 12:05 pm: The Inconvenient Truth Behind Waiting for Superman

Co-Sponsor: Division L

In response to Waiting for Superman, grassroots activists highlight the real-life experiences of public school parents, students and educators to show how so-called reforms are actually hurting public education.

Trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BUgrpjMjsyY

12:25 pm – 1:55 pm: The Lottery

Co-Sponsor: Division L

Follow the story of four African American families from Harlem and the Bronx who have entered their children in a charter school lottery. Out of thousands of hopefuls, only a small minority will win the chance of a better future.

Trailer: http://thelotteryfilm.com/

2:15 pm – 3:45 pm: Panel: How Media and Film Portray Teachers and School Reform

Co-Sponsor: Division L

Chair: Jessica Lester, Washington State University

Panelists: Audrey Amrein-Beardsley, University of Arizona; Mary Dalton, Wake Forest University;  Rachel Gabriel, University of Connecticut; Claudio Sanchez, NPR

4:05 pm – 6:05 pm: Bully

This documentary provides intense, uncensored examples of bullying of children in public education.  Bully follows five students over the course of a year as they deal with bullying issues in the home, school buses, classrooms, cafeterias and administrative offices.

Trailer: http://www.thebullyproject.com/

Monday, April 29

8:15 am – 10:15 am: Panel: Rockefeller Foundation’s One Tenth of Our Nation (1940): America’s First Feature Documentary Film on Black Education

Co-Sponsors: Division B; Division F; Research Focus on Black Education SIG

Chair: Lemuel Watson, University of South Carolina

Panelists: James Anderson, University of Illinois-Urbana, Champaign; Craig Kridel, University of South Carolina; Carol D. Lee, Northwestern University; Vanessa Siddle Walker, Emory University; Bill Ayers, University of Illinois, Chicago

The Rockefeller Foundation’s One Tenth of Our Nation, considered the first documentary of black education in America, was produced by the country’s leading documentary filmmakers for premiere in Chicago at the 1940 American Negro Exposition. Mislabeled and forgotten for over 60 years until its recent rediscovery, the film represents a troubling 26 minute portrayal of black education and poverty—displaying progress and problems of education in the United States. With beautiful filming and a music score written by one the country's leading composers, the film displays the difficulties of portraying to a general, “movie-going” audience the pride of accomplishment alongside the reprehensible poverty and inequities of black education.  

10:35 am – 12:05 pm: Who Cares About Kelsey?

Co-Sponsor: Disability Studies in Edcuation SIG

Kelsey Carrol is a “problem student” whose school has recently started Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports, a youth-directed planning process called RENEW, and other reforms to improve the school's culture and reduce the dropout rate. Will this help Kelsey and other students like her?

Trailer: http://www.whocaresaboutkelsey.com/

2:45 pm – 4:15 pm: Amateur Film Festival Winner: Admissions: Student Stories from Undocumented America

Co-Sponsor: Division J, Hispanic Research Issues SIG

Chair: Margaret Sallee, University at Buffalo

Panelists: Tasha Darbes, New York University; Chloe Smolarski and one other, to be confirmed


The winner of the 2013 Amateur Film Festival, this film delves into the psychological implications of undocumented students trapped at the intersection of education policy and a broken immigration system. The stories of four students demonstrate both the dehumanizing effects of marginalization and their determination to receive a higher education.

Trailer: http://www.admissionsdocumentary.com/

Tuesday, April 30

8:00 am – 10:00 am: Brooklyn Castle

Co-Sponsor: Out of School Time SIG

Brooklyn Castle provides a heartwarming story of a New York City inner city school with an exceptional, winning junior high chess team. The film shows how the focus on chess has transformed the school in an unexpected way.

Trailer: http://www.brooklyncastle.com/

10:20 am – 11:50 am: Pariah

Co-Sponsors: Queer Studies SIG and Research Focus on Black Education SIG

A 17-year-old African American woman, Adepero Oduya, deals with the pressures of finishing high school, coming to terms with her sexuality, and the difficulties of a tense home life in Brooklyn, New York.

Trailer: http://focusfeatures.com/pariah

12:10 pm – 1:40 pm: Panel: Supporting Black/Queer Youth Amidst the Black/Queer Divide

Co-Sponsors: Queer Studies SIG and Research Focus on Black Education SIG

Chair: Ed Brockenbrough, University of Rochester

Panelists: Judy Alston, Ashland University; Mollie Blackburn, The Ohio State University; Cynthia Dillard, University of Georgia; Lance McCready, University of Toronto

2:00 pm – 3:30 pm: Amateur Film Festival: Growing Up is Activism and Adelante

Co-Sponsors: Hispanic Research Issues SIG, Research on the Education of Asian and Pacific Americans SIG

Chair: Margaret Sallee, University at Buffalo

Panelists: Debora Lui, University of Pennsylvania and Stanton Wortham, University of Pennsylvania

Growing Up is Activism

This film explores the pedagogical and activist activities of the Folk Arts Cultural Treasures Charter School (FACTS), located in Philadelphia’s Chinatown.  Originating out of a need to assert local community in the midst of neoliberal restructuring of the city, this school uses the folk practices, languages and backgrounds of its students as the basis of its pedagogical practice.  By interweaving interviews with artists, teachers, and students along with footage of the folk arts ensembles of the schools, the film aims to arrive at a better understanding of how every day artistic expression and the teaching of such a practice may be considered political acts. 


This film portrays recent changes at an Irish Catholic church that is being revived by Mexican immigrants.  Working from an anthropological perspective, Adelante describes the complex learning processes involved in migration, documenting how immigrants adjust to their new community, how American parishioners learn to appreciate the new immigrant community, and the church adjusts to serving a majority Latino pastoral community.  Chronicling events from 2010 and 2011, the film shows how the church is a central mediating institution in the lives of parishioners.

5:05 pm – 6:35 pm: Panel: Legislating Multiculturalism (featuring the film Precious Knowledge)

Co-Sponsor: Hispanic Research Issues SIG

Chair: Trace Camacho, Michigan State University

Panelists: Nolan Cabrera, University of Arizona; Jeff Duncan-Andrade, San Francisco State University; Michelle Knight-Teacher’s College, Columbia; Christine Sleeter, CSU Monterey Bay

Disenfranchised high school seniors become academic warriors and community leaders in Tucson, Arizona's embattled Ethnic Studies classes while state lawmakers attempt to eliminate the much loved program.

Trailer: http://www.preciousknowledgefilm.com/

Wednesday, May 1

8:15 am – 10:15 am: Louder than a Bomb

Co-Sponsor: Out of School Time SIG

Louder than a Bomb follows the fortunes of four Chicago-area high school poetry teams as they prepare for and compete in the world's largest youth poetry slam.

Trailer: http://www.louderthanabombfilm.com/

10:35 am – 12:05 pm: Race to Nowhere

Co-Sponsor: The Lives of Teachers SIG

This film features the stories of students across the country who have been pushed to the brink by over-scheduling, over-testing and the relentless pressure to achieve. Through the testimony of educators, parents and education experts, the film reveals a system that encourages cheating, disengagement, stress and burnout all resulting in unprepared students.

Trailer: https://gradesfixer.com/blog/racetonowhere/

12:25 pm– 1:55 pm: First Generation

Co-Sponsor: Division J

First Generation examines the lives of four first generation college students from varied backgrounds as they try to change the cycle of poverty their families have experienced over several generations.

Trailer: http://www.firstgenerationfilm.com/

2:15 pm – 3:45 pm: Panel: Getting First Generation Students into College: What Matters Most?

Co-Sponsor: Division J

Chair: Jason Perkins, University of Southern California

Panelists: Regina Deil-Amen, University of Arizona; Victor Garcia, College Access Foundation; Tom Halverson-University of Washington; William G. Tierney-University of Southern California