Subjects: African American Studies, Race Power and Privilege, Children Youth and Family
WHEN A THRIVING, TOP-RANKED AFRICAN AMERICAN ELEMENTARY SCHOOL IS THREATENED TO BE REPLACED BY A NEW HIGH SCHOOL FAVORING THE COMMUNITY’S WEALTHIER RESIDENTS, PARENTS, STUDENTS AND EDUCATORS FIGHT FOR THE ELEMENTARY SCHOOL’S SURVIVAL.
National Teachers Academy (NTA) is a top-ranked, high-achieving elementary school just south of downtown Chicago, with a thriving population of mostly low-income and Black students. But, as the neighborhood grows and gentrifies, a parents’ group eager for a high school in the community seeks to close NTA and replace it with a high school campus. As the Chicago Public Schools administrators, Mayor Rahm Emanuel, and the city's politicians debate the future of the school, the film brings you inside NTA to meet the students, parents, and educators fighting to save their beloved institution.
Official Selection of the 2022 True/False Film Fest, 2022 Full Frame Documentary Film Festival
"Each aspect of the narrative adds context and layers. Whether he agreed with their opinions or not, Shaw conveys an opposition of perspectives between NTA and CPS. These different viewpoints further strengthened Shaw’s theme of disruption as members of NTA stayed resilient when faced with backlash. " - The Maneater
" Beyond the revealing interviews Shaw and crew get, the film is arranged in such a way that it really feels as if everyone gets their say, which is more than can be said for the Chicago Public School board, whose meetings NTA students have to force their way into." - The Moveable Fest
"The film is simultaneously uplifting, funny, heartwarming, powerful, inspiring and insightful as it documents the personal experiences of this specific Chicago community. The various interviews of NTA’s students, parents, and staff showcases each of their personalities, character, love for education and hope for a brighter future." -Vox Magazine
“Shaw’s film provides an indelible reminder of cinema’s enduring power as a communal experience.” Rogert Ebert.com - Matt Fagerhold
“A fiercely concentrated call to action.” -Chicago Tribune - Michael Phillips
“The film’s final scene is one of the most genuinely suspenseful and moving that I’ve seen in a while.” The Guardian - Adrian Horton
“That so many people from different socio-economic backgrounds, races, ages, occupations, and more come together to do what’s right is just as inspiring as any victory they might accomplish.” The Wrap - Ronda Racha Penrice
About the filmmaker
Born and raised in Chicago, Kevin has served as a director, producer, cinematographer on award-winning documentaries for ESPN, PBS, the NFL Network, and The Big Ten Network. In 2010, Shaw’s short documentary on a quadriplegic trying to regain the ability to walk won the Edward R. Murrow Award for Sports Reporting Excellence. Shaw won a National Sports Emmy for Cinematography for ESPN’s FIFA World Cup Show Opens and Teases. His most recent documentary for ESPN, Shaq and Dale, examined the poignant relationship between megastar Shaquille O’Neal and his collegiate coach at LSU, Dale Brown. Other critically acclaimed films include Goose and The Street Stops Here, which earned rave reviews when it aired nationally on PBS. Most recently, he served as a Segment Director and Cinematographer on the critically acclaimed docu-series America to Me. Shaw graduated from Kartemquin Films Diverse Voices in Documentary (DVID) program in 2018 and was awarded a grant sponsored by the Sage Foundation to develop a new project focused on a community divided over a controversial school-closing proposal.