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We decided to make this film first and foremost because the subject matter seemed urgent, yet rarely discussed. Whether we want or accept it or not, we live in a constantly changing world where borders are disappearing and everyone on the planet is becoming more and more interconnected. Ideologies, religions, and cultures clash. We see it everyday - violence and hate all over the world because people are afraid of other people who are not like them.
When we heard about "The International Community School" (ICS) - a school that has children from over 40 different countries learning together with American children from diverse social backgrounds - we thought it would be valuable to see how children deal with people who are different from them or if they even see a difference. We wanted to see if prejudice and ignorance are entirely learned or if there is some intrinsic nature inside of human beings that has evolved to make us wary of people who look and speak differently than we do. In our ever-globalizing world these are important questions we cannot afford to leave unasked.
Since this film began production in 2008, there have been a number of films about education in this country that all highlight what is wrong with education and proposing solutions to the enormous and complex problems they address. Our film is less about the state of education, as it is about education itself, focusing on how we learn and form our identities. These are aspects of the human experience we all share and that affect how we see ourselves and our place in the world. In the film we focus on children learning and growing over time, while examining the social and familial dynamics that make up a school and a community.
We believe these recent films about schools and education point to a growing trend amongst American audiences looking for an outlet to discuss and deliberate the state of education in this country. In some aspects our film is about education in this country, but more than that it is about the value of education. Many of the film's themes are themes people all over the world can appreciate and discuss.
From the start of making this film we strongly believed that audiences wanted and deserved to see a film that didn't focus solely on the negative aspects of education in this country and that didn't propose magic bullet answers to such complex questions. We wanted to make a film that asked questions that didn't have any easy answers, because important questions rarely do. Throughout making this film we have stuck to the principle that inspiration and hope are more powerful catalysts than anger and fear.
- Adam Maurer & William Silva Reddington 11/04/11