2021 Sundance Docs in Focus: HOMEROOM

Courtesy of Sundance Institute | photo by Sean Havey


HOMEROOM
Peter Nicks profiles an Oakland high school class in the tumultuous year of COVID and a widespread reckoning of racial injustice.

Festival Section:
US Documentary Competition

Sundance Program Description:

Oakland High School’s class of 2020 confronts an unprecedented year. Anxiety over test scores and college applications gives way to uncertainty springing from a rapidly developing pandemic. Efforts to eliminate the school district’s police force unfold against the backdrop of growing nationwide demands for systemic change. Emmy Award-winning director/cinematographer Peter Nicks (winner of the Directing Award: US Documentary at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival) captures the resilient and defiant energy of this senior class in his final chapter in a trilogy of films examining the relationship between health care, criminal justice, and education in Oakland.

HOMEROOM immerses us in the lives of students trying to make the most of their final year in high school amidst a procession of blows. Nicks’ trusted, attentive camera and overall vérité approach trace these emotional journeys in real time, while self-recorded social media videos root us in the students’ authentic perspectives. The result is a revealing, outspoken coming-of-age story that taps into the collective experience of a nation in transition calling out for change.

Some Background:

Director/Producer:
Peter Nicks
Past Sundance docs:
THE FORCE (2017)

This is the third film in Nicks’ Oakland trilogy, following the Oscar shortlisted THE WAITING ROOM and the Sundance award-winning THE FORCE. He is the executive director of Open’hood, a non-profit organization which uses storytelling to create stronger, more active and more connected communities. Nicks’ earlier work for PBS won him a News & Documentary Emmy.

Producer:
Sean Havey
Past Sundance docs:
THE FORCE

Havey has a background as a photojournalist and documentary cinematographer, working for AJ+ and the Associated Press, among other outlets.

Executive Producers:
Jen Rainin
Rainin is a philanthropist and filmmaker. She is the founder/CEO of the Kenneth Rainin Foundation, a champion of arts, education, and health, known within the film industry for the SFFILM Rainin Filmmaking Grants. She recently made her directorial debut with the documentary AHEAD OF THE CURVE.

Laurene Powell Jobs
Past Sundance docs:
BOYS STATE (2020)
A THOUSAND CUTS (2020)
TIME (2020)
BISBEE ’17 (2018)
THE PRICE OF FREE (fka KAILASH) (2018)
BENDING THE ARC (2017)

Co-owner, Concordia Studio. Powell Jobs is also president and founder of the Emerson Collective, which supports social entrepreneurs who work to remove barriers to opportunities through social justice initiatives, including education and immigration reform. She is also an executive producer of fellow 2021 US Documentary Competition title Summer of Soul (…Or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised).

Davis Guggenheim
Recent past Sundance docs:
BLOODY NOSE, EMPTY POCKETS (2020)
BOYS STATE
A THOUSAND CUTS
TIME
WHERE’S MY ROY COHN? (2019)
BISBEE ’17
THE PRICE OF FREE

Chief creative officer, Concordia Studio. The Oscar-winning Guggenheim is also an executive producer of fellow 2021 US Documentary Competition titles AT THE READY and SUMMER OF SOUL.

Nicole Stott
Recent past Sundance docs:
BLOODY NOSE, EMPTY POCKETS
BOYS STATE
A THOUSAND CUTS
TIME
WHERE’S MY ROY COHN?
BISBEE ’17
WESTWOOD: PUNK, ICON, ACTIVIST (2018)

EVP, nonfiction films & series, Concordia Studio. Stott, previously the longtime head of documentary at Passion Pictures, also executive produced AT THE READY and co-executive produced SUMMER OF SOUL.

Jonathan Silberberg
Past Sundance docs:
BLOODY NOSE, EMPTY POCKETS
BOYS STATE
A THOUSAND CUTS
TIME
WHERE’S MY ROY COHN?
BISBEE ’17
THE PRICE OF FREE

President, Concordia Studio. The Emmy-nominated Silberberg was previously a longtime producer at RadicalMedia, and also executive produced AT THE READY and co-executive produced SUMMER OF SOUL.

Tony Hsieh
Co-founder, Zappos. Hsieh also has executive producer credits on fellow 2021 US Documentary Competition titles AILEY, AT THE READY, REBEL HEARTS, TRY HARDER!, and USERS, as well as Premieres title BRING YOUR OWN BRIGADE. The Internet entrepreneur and venture capitalist, who passed away in late November, was a backer of Bryn Mooser’s XTR.

Mimi Pham
Pham also executive produced AILEY, AT THE READY, REBEL HEARTS, TRY HARDER!, and USERS. She recently co-executive produced 76 DAYS (Toronto, DOC NYC).

Roberto Grande
Grande also executive produced AILEY, AT THE READY, REBEL HEARTS, TRY HARDER!, and USERS. The investor and entrepreneur managed Tony Hsieh’s partnership with XTR.

Co-Executive Producers:
Bryn Mooser
Past Sundance docs:
BLOODY NOSE, EMPTY POCKETS
FEELS GOOD MAN (2020)
THE FIGHT (2020)
MUCHO MUCHO AMOR (2020)
US KIDS (2020)
THE BRINK (2019)
THE DISAPPEARANCE OF MY MOTHER (2019)
ON HER SHOULDERS (2018)

Founder/CEO, XTR. Mooser also executive produced AILEY, AT THE READY, REBEL HEARTS, TRY HARDER!, USERS, BRING YOUR OWN BRIGADE, and the 2021 Next fiction title THE BLAZING WORLD. The Oscar nominee and Emmy winner previously co-founded RYOT.

Kathryn Everett
Past Sundance docs:
BLOODY NOSE, EMPTY POCKETS
FEELS GOOD MAN
THE FIGHT
MUCHO MUCHO AMOR

Head of film, XTR. Everett is also an executive producer of AILEY, AT THE READY, REBEL HEARTS, TRY HARDER!, USERS, and BRING YOUR OWN BRIGADE.

Associate Producer:
Gabriela Arvizu
First Sundance credit. Arvizu has a background as a journalist, with a specific focus on the Latinx experience in the US.

More Info:
Website
Instagram
Twitter

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Filed under Documentary, Film, Film Festivals, Recommendations, Sundance

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