Wednesday, May 17, 2017

SIIF; Good Things for Kids and Families

The Seattle International Film Festival is just getting underway this week.

One film I want to emphasize is Backpack Full of Cash, a documentary about public schools. It's having its West Coast premiere here after being the runner-up for Audience Award, Best Documentary at FilmfestDC.  The SIIF link has a trailer for the film.

Backpack Full of Cash, narrated by Matt Damon, explores the real cost of privatizing America’s public schools.  The producers also created the award-winning PBS series, SCHOOL: The Story of American Public Education (narrated by Meryl Streep.) 


 For Backpack, they follow the tumultuous 2013-14 school year in some of the nation’s big cities, looking at the impact of charter schools, vouchers, test-based accountability and other market-based “reforms” on public schools and the most vulnerable students who rely on them.  The heroes of the film are parents, teachers, activists and most hearteningly, students who are fighting for their own education. 

Producer Vera Aronow and Director Sarah Mondale are coming to Seattle to do Q&A’s after the June 6 and 7th screenings.

Backpack screenings:
Friday, May 19th at SIFF Cinema Uptown at 3:30 pm
Tuesday, June 6th at Pacific Place at 7:00 pm
Wednesday, June 7th at Pacific Place at 4:30 pm.

There are also several good documentaries of interest to teens:


- Take Every Wave: The Life of Laird Hamilton  - about the best surfer in the world (he's 52)
- Winnie - profiles Winnie Mandala's life
- Whose Streets - about the uprising in Ferguson, Missouri after the police killing of Michael Brown
- Step - about a team of girls getting ready for college and a step-dancing competition
- Rumble: The Indians Who Rocked The World - The contributions of Native Americans in modern American music; from Link Wray to Robbie Robertson, Charley Patton to Buffy Sainte-Marie; get a much-deserved showcase in this celebratory expose of the Indigenous influence on the soundtrack of popular culture.


Films for Families include (but this is a partial list):

- Animal Crackers - the hilarious 1930 Marx brothers movie
- Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie - If you have a 8,9,10-year old, you know these books.
- The Family Picture Show - Bring the whole family to SIFF for a playful set of international animated and live action short films curated for the young and the young at heart.

For teens:
- Future Wave Shorts/Best of NFFTY (National Film Festival for Talented Youth) 
- The Girl Without Hands - an animated film adapted from a Grimm fairy tale 
- Napping Princess - an anime film from Japan
- Two Irenes, a coming-of-age film from Brazil
- Weirdos, a Canadian film about a teen who goes off with his girlfriend to find a long-lost father (I'm seeing this one)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

OMG, there is NO WAY Matt Damon's kids go to public school.

I hate it when people advocate for something they would not do themselves.

The reason there are so many ideas about how to fix public schools is because the public thinks the public schools are bad. If they were great none of these ideas get traction.

SPS is pretty much bad. The teachers are awesome, but it feels like their hands are tied by the bad policies of JSCEE. If a great charter school opened up in my neighborhood I would transfer my kiddos in a heartbeat. I would also welcome a voucher to use to get my kids into a private school.

SPS needs to be better. Quickly.

Just my 2 cents