Review: ‘We Are Here Together’

An experimental high school where students determine how the institution should be run is the subject in "We Are Here Together." Docu is involving and sometimes moving as it charts program's first academic year, even if material's assembly leaves much to be desired. Public tube slotting is possible; longterm value will be in educational circles.

An experimental high school where students determine how the institution should be run is the subject in “We Are Here Together.” Docu is involving and sometimes moving as it charts program’s turbulent first academic year, even if material’s assembly leaves much to be desired. Public tube slotting is possible; longterm value will be as a discussion tool in educational circles.

The chartered Home/Base school, located on a former Naval Air Station in Alameda, Calif.,commences its maiden term with 45 students of differing racial/economic backgrounds. All were dissatisfied with conventional schooling options. Adult staff provide standard classroom approaches for certain brass-tack subjects (math, chemistry etc.), but elsewhere kids are encouraged to set their own goals and strictures. This leads to a meltdown halfway through fall term, as responsibility weighs heavily on the students. But having to make (and live with) their own decisions ultimately proves rewarding. Much of the content is emotional and inspirational, but helmers’ near-exclusive focus on crisis leaves too many logistical questions unaddressed: Who founded school? How were the kids recruited? What is the overall curriculum? Tech aspects are rough but adequate.

We Are Here Together

Docu

Production

A Transit 2000 production. Produced by John Knoop, Karina Epperlein. Directed by Karen Epperlein.

Crew

Camera (color, DV), Epperlein, John Knoop; editor, Nila Bogue; music, Kamikaze Ground Crew. Reviewed at Mill Valley Film Festival, Oct. 9, 2003. Running time: 65 MIN.
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