This time last year I was in the middle of filming a documentary called LISTEN about education from the student’s perspective. It’s now 2014 and the film has been done for about six months. What has it been doing since then? Not much. Its had a handful of screenings at a few places, but mostly its been sitting around doing nothing. Given our (“our” meaning my friend Kelsey and I) limited resources, time, energy, and honestly a bit of incompetence maybe it’s time for this little experience to try a different approach. We’re releasing the full film online for free so that it could reach a wider audience just as testing season is about to start in schools all over the nation. We’ll still continue organizing screenings and so if you’re interested please send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org, but we’re also opening up access to the film to those who can’t host screenings.
In school I can’t describe the immense loneliness that came from seeing everyone around me going to class, doing their homework and taking their tests with relative ease while I for some reason just couldn’t. I figured that I wasn’t the only person who felt stifled by school and decided to make a film about it. After I started sharing how the education system was affecting me I got in contact with people from all over the world, including some of my friends. One of the best students in my high school, somebody who I always assumed had it together, told me how damaging school was to her. Another shared how the stereotypes of being a racial minority affected her. Even my college roommate mentioned his struggle, and said he would be transferring to a university closer to his home. I no longer felt alone. That’s what a story can do.
Yes I’m aware of the flaws of this film. I realize that the title LISTEN is counter-intuitive to the argument made in the film because it’s speaking to adults to take action rather than students. I realize that the first ten minutes feels like a boring PowerPoint presentation, that the font used is ugly as hell, that there is too much Sigur Ros in the soundtrack, that my narration very inarticulate, that it’s a bit lengthy, that throughout this process social media has not been utilized as effectively as it could have, and that it lacks effective transitions from scene to scene. But, despite its shortcomings I set out to make the kind of film I would have enjoyed watching while I was in school and if LISTEN can make its way to just one student who can relate to some of the characters in the film and feel just a little bit less alone while traversing the mess that is our education system then….
Is anyone even reading this?
If you’re still reading this I hope that means you’re interested. And if you’re interested then please, help me out. Help not just myself, but the countless other students who can’t keep living under this oppressive system anymore. Watch the film. Write about it. Recommend it to your friends. Share it. Tweet it. HBO if you’re reading this feel free to play it on TV. And then once you watch the film do the world another favor. Opt out. Boycott. Walkout. You can even skip the step where you watch a talky documentary, because really it’s just about the action. So stop reading this and go do something. We need you. Please please please…..
Watch the full film at the link below
And lastly thank you to everyone who has supported the film. It truly means a lot.