Castleton International Film Festival: The Empty Classroom

March 15, 2018


Nearly half of all young people in Latin America never finish high school. To explore this dropout crisis, creative director Gael García Bernal gathered 11 award-winning filmmakers who have created a captivating anthology of short films, both narrative and documentary. There is no easy solution to this complex issue, and each short delves into the underlying reasons, from poverty to societal traditions, that students aren’t graduating.

Among many issues, the short films explore the links between the dropout crisis and
violence; how to identify students at risk of dropping out of school in Latin America; the lack of interest in school that is preventing students from graduating; school exclusion in indigenous communities; the not-so-typical challenges to finishing high school faced by a deaf student; the relationship between the financial cost to staying in school and its benefits; and what happens when drop out students want to go back.

This omnibus features films by multi awarded filmmakers Argentina’s Lucrecia Martel (The Headless Woman) and Pablo Fendrik (Ardor), El Salvador’s Tatiana Huezo (The Tiniest Place), Mexico’s Mariana Chenillo (Pragda’s own PARADISE) and Nicolas Pereda (Greatest Hits), Peru’s Daniel and Diego Vega (The Mute), Uruguay’s Pablo Stoll (Whiskey), Brazil’s Eryk Rocha (Cinema Novo) and Flavia Castro (Diaries, Letters, Revolutions), Colombia’s Carlos Gaviria (Potraits in a Sea of Lies).