The Bad Kids Sundance 2016
Courtesy of Sundance Film Festival

FilmRise has acquired worldwide distribution rights for the Sundance Film Festival documentary “The Bad Kids.”

The movie will receive a theatrical release in September and make its television debut on the upcoming season of the PBS series “Independent Lens.”

Filmmakers Keith Fulton and Lou Pepe (“Lost in La Mancha”) chronicle one principal’s mission to realize the potential of students whom the system has deemed lost causes in an impoverished Mojave Desert community. The film is set at Black Rock Continuation High School, an alternative school for students at risk of dropping out.

The doc chronicles one year at the school as Principal Vonda Viland coaches three at-risk teens — a new father who can’t support his family, a young woman grappling with sexual abuse and an angry young man from an unstable home.

“Fulton and Pepe locate both heartbreak and hope in their intertwined tales of people fighting to gain control of their (and others’) lives,” Variety‘s Nick Schager wrote in his review.

“Tackling one of the most pressing issues in the American educational system, ‘The Bad Kids’ sheds light on the exceptional work of public school teachers helping students rise above generational poverty,” said FilmRise CEO Danny Fisher. “An inspirational story, the film proves there is hope in even the most difficult circumstances, and we are honored to be bringing the film to theaters this fall.”

The deal was negotiated by Fisher and FilmRise’s Max Einhorn with Zac Bright and Abby Davis of Preferred Content.

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