Davis Guggenheim, the Oscar winning director of “An Inconvenient Truth,” unveiled his latest documentary at Sundance, “Waiting for Superman.” Variety critic John Anderson reports that the movie — about the sorry state of the education system in the U.S. — is an indictment of the American Federation of Teachers and its president, Randi Weingarten, who comes across as knee jerk in her criticism of any kind of change.
Anderson writes, “The AFT is viewed a lot like the National Rifle Assn. — a group that takes a knee-jerk, hard-line approach to any proposed rule change and fights the common good to the point of absurdity. Weingarten does have an argument to be made regarding teacher tenure, which, despite all its abuses, protects teachers from being victimized politically (by creationists, for instance). The treatment of Weingarten is harsh, although in the context of the pic’s arguments, she makes an aptly shrill opponent of change.”
Guggenheim’s movie was one of the first Sundance pics to get a major buy, from Paramount’s Vantage label. The studio’s parent company, Viacom, has been engaged in a big public affairs campaign called Get Schooled, along with Bill Gates, to lift education reform to the top of the agenda.