School District


TYPE
: Documentary Feature
GENRE: Documentary
STATUS: Development

LOGLINE

As a majority minority population becomes the norm throughout the United States, schools remain largely segregated by race and economic status. School District observes the day-to-day operations and experiences of Stamford Public Schools, a district committed to preparing its students for our diverse future.

SYNOPSIS

Over the past several decades, a nation-wide conversation about the effectiveness of public education has become increasingly heated and polarized. As a result, many of the assertions characterizing this discussion, particularly those concerning the shortcomings of our public schools, as well as the performance of charter schools, rely upon cherry-picked data and contested definitions of success and failure. SCHOOL DISTRICT is a feature-length, documentary film that attempts to provide a deliberate, yet visceral, perspective on what a diverse, city public education system actually looks, sounds, and feels like.

ARTISTIC STATEMENT

In joining the conversation about public education, our instinct is to find the form that best allows this school district to speak clearly and concisely for itself. Sometimes the inclination to instruct or enlighten drives the formal design of a film. Our objective is to reach beyond the choir by presenting the district with unadorned candor, its flaws and triumphs. The role of public education in the United States is vast, complicated and essential to the maintenance of our civil society. Nine out of ten children today are educated in public schools. The audience experience we are after is to see this institution that we all know, and sometimes consider with a dash of cynicism and disdain, for what it is: a cornerstone of our way of life.

School District will be a strictly observational documentary, meaning there will be no narration, no interviews, no music or sound effects other than the sounds recorded in situ while filming—from the quiet of a corridor being mopped clean in the evening to the uproar of the cafeteria at lunchtime and everything in-between. Over the course of a twelve-week shooting schedule, our aim will be to capture as many of the activities that take place within the school system as possible. We will be a two-person film crew, Leigh recording audio, Jason filming.

KEY CREW

Leigh Morfoot - Director and Producer

Leigh directs and produces films for Kinobserver. She started out at Maysles Films and then spent nearly a decade at the American Museum of Natural History production managing its documentary division. Leigh earned a B.A. in African-American Studies and English Literature at the University of Virginia and an M.A. in Media Studies at the New School University.

Leigh & Jason co-founded Kinobserver. Their narrative short, In-between Worlds, premiered at the San Francisco International Film Festival and their feature documentary. Citizen 3.0, iS distributed by Filmakers Library.

Jason Mofoot - Director and Producer

For the past eleven years, Jason has been on staff at the American Museum of Natural History where he is a senior producer and editor making documentaries about scientific research and field work. Prior, Jason was a freelance DP and editor in New York City. He spent two years, 2001-02, filming with a preeminent ethnographer for a documentary chronicling the relocation of tenants during the months leading up to the demolition of one of the buildings in the Robert Taylor Homes in Chicago. He holds a B.A. in History from Trinity College and a J.D. from Emory University School of Law.

 

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