Notes from the Field

September 9, 2016

The producers from Time for School share their experiences from over twelve years of following the students.


Alexandre Lima

Being a field producer for PBS on Time for School since 2003 has been a great experience as a filmmaker and as a human being. The film gave me the chance to get together with Jefferson and his wonderful family for all these years, and it was a great pleasure to collaborate on telling their story. My time in the field with Jeff and his family has also given me the chance to grow as a storyteller. I am thankful to have had the opportunity to collaborate on a project that has addressed the challenges and achievements of education around the world. Read More…


Frederick Rendina

When I arrived in Nairobi, Kenya in 2003, Kenya had made primary education free for the first time in decades and thousands poured into an overwhelmed system. My first task, imparted by producer Judy Katz, was to help determine which child we would follow for the next then 12 years to tell the story of this revolution in education. My job was made incalculably easier by hundreds of hours of advance work done by Judy, her colleagues at PBS, and Kenyan production manager Ruby Kang’ethe. The choice was soon narrowed to three possible families. Read More…


Hervé Cohen

When I met Nanavi in 2003 in this tiny traditional remote village, with adobe houses and thatched roofs in the countryside of Benin, West Africa, I couldn’t imagine that we would become part of each other’s lives, probably forever. That’s what I love about being a documentary filmmaker: the ties you can build with your “character” can be stronger than you can imagine. Nanavi was a shy little girl with sparkling eyes and a big smile. Read More…


Oren Rudavsky

My experience as a producer on Time For School, boils down in essence to feeling like I have adopted or should have adopted all the children in the film, most of all the young girl, now married woman and mother, that Neeraj from Rajasthan in India has become. The vibrancy and beauty of children shines through every frame of Time for School. The kids are so full of life, optimism and intelligence and yet from the very first day it is so very clear how accidents of birth – where you are born, to whom, and when, as well as whether you are a boy or girl, determine virtually everything. Read More…


Ruhi Hamid

Back home safely from Afghanistan after filming with Shugufa for Time For School. A trip I must admit began with ambivalence about going. It was almost seven years since my last trip there and much had changed. The Americans and the coalition forces have all but pulled out, and I wondered if it was just too dangerous to risk my life. There had been several bomb explosions recently, and all my family and friends thought I was crazy to even contemplate going to such an unstable country. After some thought I decided I needed to go and finish the project I had started. Read More…