Next up in Documentary Premieres is Sundance alumnus Greg Whiteley’s MOST LIKELY TO SUCCEED, a re-evaluation of America’s approach to education.
Sundance Program Description:
Where a college diploma once meant a guaranteed job, now more than half of America’s new college graduates are unable to find employment. Director Greg Whiteley (MITT, 2014 Sundance Film Festival) locates the source of the problem not in the economy but in our educational system, which was developed at the dawn of the Industrial Age to train obedient workers and has changed little since, despite radical changes in the marketplace wrought by technology and the outsourcing of labor. With a world of information available a click away, and the modern workplace valuing skills like collaboration and critical thinking, our rote-based system of learning has become outdated and ineffective.
Charter schools like San Diego’s High Tech High, which replaces standardized tests and compartmentalized subjects with project-based learning and a student-focused curriculum, offer an alternative. Whiteley follows students, teachers, and parents to see if this different model can reawaken the love of learning and offer the potential for a paradigmatic shift in education.
Director/producer Whiteley has brought two of his past films to Sundance: Last year’s MITT and his directorial debut NEW YORK DOLL (2005). Also serving as producer is Adam Leibowitz from Whiteley’s One Potato Productions shingle, whose previous credits include MITT; while Charles River Ventures’ Ted Dintersmith is the executive producer. Also rejoining Whiteley from MITT is the project’s editor, Adam Ridley.
Why You Should Watch:
As noted in my program description above, Whiteley’s latest film offers a thought-provoking exploration of our education crisis, both in identifying fundamental problems with our historical approach to teaching and student learning, and by considering compelling potential alternatives which might very well offer practical solutions for the future.
For more information, check out Whiteley’s website and Facebook page. Check out his Indiewire filmmaker interview. For screening dates and times at Sundance, click the link in the first paragraph.
To experience the festival through the eyes of this year’s filmmakers, follow my Sundance filmmaker class of 2015 Twitter list.