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Trailer
Assistive Technologies

Try Harder!

Runtime
1hr 25mins
Directed by
Debbie Lum
Featuring
Alvan Cai,
Shealand Fairchild,
Rachael Schmidt
Body

 

Join us for a panel discussion after the film, co-presented by the Brookline Parents Organization. Panelists TBA. 

New York Times Critics' Pick! At Lowell High School, the top-ranked public high school in San Francisco, the seniors are stressed out.

With humor and heart, director Debbie Lum takes us to the reality of the American college application process and the intersection of class, race, and educational opportunity as experienced by high school seniors living through it. Try Harder! is a portrait of young adults in the most diverse American generation ever as they navigate a quintessential rite of passage and make it their own.

As the students prepare for the emotionally draining college application process, they are keenly aware of the intense competition for the few open spots in their dream schools. They scrutinize how every element of their application, from their classes to their extracurricular activities to their racial identities, might be read by admission officers. At Lowell—where cool kids are nerds, nearly everyone has an amazing talent, and the majority of the student body is Asian American—the things that usually make a person stand out can feel not good enough, even commonplace.

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