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American Graduate Shorts: Skipping Up

Last, but certainly not least, in our mini-festival of American Graduate short films, is Skipping Up, directed by Jim Mendiola and Faith Radle. Set primarily in Mark Twain Middle School in San Antonio, Texas, Skipping Up follows a group of eighth graders as they finish their year in the Middle School Partners Program, a new and … READ MORE

American Graduate Shorts: Immigrant High

Our American Graduate short film festival continues with Immigrant High, a film by Xochitl Dorsey. [Go here for more on the American Graduate films.] Immigrant teens find face discrimination, language barriers, unfamiliar cultural traditions — while dealing with the changes all teens struggle with. Many give up on school. Immigrant High takes us into the halls … READ MORE

American Graduate Shorts: I Really Want to Make It

We continue our look at the American Graduate shorts with I Really Want to Make It, a film by Ray Telles and Angela Reginato. Sharon Montano of Oakland decides to go back to school at age 20 after several years of substance abuse and other struggles. When she discovers Civicorps Academy, where she meets other young people who have … READ MORE

American Graduate Shorts: Can’t Hold Me Back

Our “mini-festival” of American Graduate shorts continues with Can’t Hold Me Back, directed by Betty Bastidas and Madeleine Bair. Detroit teen Fernando Parraz, an accomplished rapper and budding filmmaker, aims to become the first in his family to earn a high school diploma — his ticket out of the struggles of inner-city poverty and violence. He … READ MORE

American Graduate Short Films: Baby Mama High

It’s a startling statistic: 52% of American Latina girls get pregnant in their teens; more than half of those in high school never graduate. Heather Ross’s short documentary Baby Mama High looks at this issue from the perspective of an Escondido, CA, teenager. It’s the last few weeks of high school for Yessenia, a soft-spoken senior with … READ MORE