NYC premiere of The Lottery
The NYC premiere of The Lottery was last night, and it was incredible – a brilliant, powerful film (which I've written about previously: http://edreform.blogspot.com/2010/04/lottery.html), followed by an enlightening and, at times, very emotional Q&A with a panel that included Chancellor Joel Klein, Eva Moskowitz, Madeleine Sackler (Director of The Lottery), Carl Willingham (parent featured in the film), and moderator Errol Lewis (NY Daily News columnist). My pictures from the evening are below and posted at: http://picasaweb.google.com/WTilson/TheLottery
I also videoed the Q&A and posted two VERY powerful excerpts. The first is by Carl Willingham, one of the parents featured in The Lottery (www.youtube.com/watch?v=tpokiZVMwRo):
"It's a horrible thing to see educating kids politicized and used for personal, political ideology, financial gain, power grabbing… At these space hearings, when I hear the opposition, it's almost never…the arguments are never about whether or not the kids are learning. It's always, 'they're grabbing space', it's our building…' The building belongs to the people, not the people who happen to be in the building [applause]. How much money Eva Moskowitz makes – I don't care. I just care about what my son is learning, and I think that every parent, that's what they care about. And I think there are a lot of people who have a mic all the time who irresponsibly play on people's fears and distrust to further their personal agenda. So it's nice that Madeleine was able to give people who don't always have a mic in from of them a microphone and a camera to say [drowned out by applause]"
The second is from a parent whose daughter is at an Achievement First school (www.youtube.com/watch?v=m62ZloTvKkE):
"I have an Achievement First scholar, she's in the kindergarten, so I went through the entire process, just as you… Sorry, I cried like the entire film…I'm sorry, I'm just so emotional. You know, we look, we search, we search for schools in our zone, tirelessly, and when I found Achievement First, it was like we'd won the lottery. It really was, because my child has a chance. You know, her zip code should NOT determine her future [applause]. What you all are doing is so phenomenal. Every since I've been at Achievement First, they have me for everything. I've been to Albany with them and I even spoke at this past lottery. So I totally believe in what you all are doing and this film is so important. Two of the parents [in the film] actually go to my church, and I am so touched about what you did. I run a nonprofit organization in East New York…I think we're at a 27% graduation rate in the entire zip code, so it's something that was truly needed in this community. My question is, when you are truly ready to release this, with my nonprofit organization, please let me show this film for my community. I'm going to be running a film festival in the fall and I would love to be spreading this message because they need to hear this, they really need to hear this because they need to know that they do not have to settle for what's given. They really don't. So thank you so much. [applause]
Madeleine Sackler's answer: "This goes for everyone: I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. It's on our web site, www.thelotteryfilm.com, and I welcome any questions, comments, screening requests. We would love to do that, thank you!"