In the run up to the 2016 U.S. presidential election, a one-room school in Bushwick has got a tough year. Anti-Latino rhetoric and xenophobia is steaming, putting more pressure on an already strained Hispanic community threatened by gentrification and eviction.
The school, Still Waters In A Storm, is the creation of Yale grad Stephen Haff. An outspoken critic of mainstream education, Stephen believes in learning without tests and fostering the creativity of his students. He’s done so with the help of famed writers such as Zadie Smith who have made guest appearances at the school.
“No apathy, no cynicism, no boredom – just a perfectly engaged crowd of kids, thrilled to be writing and discussing writing,” Smith posted on the school’s website. “It’s a privilege to teach in that situation. No one in that room lacks a good story. All they need is the opportunity to tell it.”
Director Peter Gordon and producer Ann Lalic filmed “Still Waters” over a year. The documentary follows Stephen and the schoolchildren who attend the school, revealing the dreams and fears of the immigrant Hispanic community they belong to.
Trailer courtesy of Peter Gordon