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Try Harder!

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When:

  • Sat 5 Jun, 11:00am

Where:

SkyCity Theatre, Cnr Hobson and Wellesley Sts, Auckland CBD

Restrictions:

All Ages

Website:

Documentary Edge

Director: Debbie Lum 
Year: 2021 
Country: USA 
Duration: 85’ 
Language: English 
Category: Family / Whānau 
Category Sponsor: Rei Foundation
Topics: Family, Society, Youth

The agonies and ecstasies of a high-achieving majority Asian-American senior class during a cutthroat college application season.

At Lowell High School, the top public high school in San Francisco, the seniors are stressed out as they prepare for the emotionally draining college application process. There is intense competition for the few open spots in their dream colleges. Each student scrutinises every element of their application, from their classes to their extracurricular activities, to their racial identities. How will the sum-total of who they are, and what they are capable of becoming, be read by admission officers?  
 
At Lowell, the cool kids are nerds, the orchestra is world class, nearly everyone has an amazing talent and being Asian American is the norm. How do you stand out? And even if you do, will racial “quotas” prevent you from gaining a place in your dream college? And why do non-Asian-Americans choose to attend Lowell?  
 
Told with humour and heart, director Debbie Lum takes us to the intersection of class, race, and educational opportunity. 

Underneath the goofiness and gallows humor, there is a darker point being made about the impossible cycle of heightened expectations, cultural stereotyping and ever-shrinking admissions quotas for top-flight colleges. 
Jessica Kiang, Variety

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