Monday, Oct. 10, 2022 at 11 p.m. on KPBS TV / PBS Video App
POV offers an intriguing look at the high stakes quest for college admissions at a prep school in Louisiana, known for its viral videos of seniors being accepted to Ivy League schools in "Accepted." The film examines the double standards between the haves and the have-nots in the quest for the elusive college acceptance letter. Director Dan Chen chronicles the stories of four ambitious students attending the singular TM Landry Prep School in rural Louisiana.
The remarkable 100 percent college acceptance rate for its underprivileged, high school graduates, is attributed to the school’s dynamic founder, Mike Landry. His adherence to an unconventional teaching program and strict discipline guaranteed admission into the country’s most elite colleges. TM Landry was an example of the transformative benefits that come from prioritizing education above all other concerns.
When The New York Times publishes an explosive article about Landry’s controversial methods, the scandal leaves the students' fates hanging in the balance. Through intimate, first-person accounts, Chen provides well-rounded portraits of the students’ home lives, their confusion and anxieties, while also seeking to understand Landry's rationale.
Director/Producer Dan Chen said: ”As someone who grew up in a small town with big dreams, I wanted to center what it felt like to be a student at this school. We filmed as if the camera belonged to one of the students in the Class of 2019. We show you the inspirational speeches, the long hours, the fireworks in the park, the tears in the classroom, and the joy and terror of clicking on a webpage that will change your life forever. I hope this film helps viewers question the comfortable lies we tell ourselves about our society. And I hope that audiences will find inspiration in a new generation of students that see the world with clear and unsparing eyes.”
“Despite the inherent inequity of our higher education systems and structures, what shines through in this film is the vibrancy, creativity, and immeasurable potential of these wonderful students trying to make their way in the world,” said POV executive producer Chris White. “Their experience at TM Landry punctuates our failure to provide equal opportunity to those who need it most.”
An official selection of the 2021 Tribeca Film Festival
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In addition to standard closed captioning for the film, POV, in partnership with audio description service DiCapta, provides real time audio interpretations for audiences with sensory disabilities.
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A Concordia Studio, Jubilee Media, and American Documentary | POV co-production in association with Boardwalk Pictures and Diamond Docs. Dan Chen is the director. The producers are Jason Y. Lee, Chen, Jesse Einstein and Mark Monroe. Executive Producers are Laurene Powell Jobs, Davis Guggenheim, Jonathan Silberberg, Nicole Stott, Andrew Fried, Dane Lillegard, Jordan Wynn, Ryan Hashemi, Ien Chi and Erika Dildayand Chris White for American Documentary | POV.