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On My Watchlist: If You Build It

– Posted in: Film Review

I was lucky enough to get a free ticket to an advance screening of the documentary, If You Build It (thanks NY WIFT!). If You Build It is directed by Patrick Creadon and tells the story of Studio H, an alternative education program launched by two designers, Emily Pilloton and Matthew Miller, in a woefully under-resourced area of North Carolina. As a business person and a creative, I was swept up in the elegant brilliance of the idea: high school students design and build a structure that is actually erected in the community. The back stories of the students are engaging, without being syrupy. The frustrating bureaucracy is palpable, but the film doesn’t stay there too long. This is an enjoyable film that is also important and inspiring.

It’s not the typical science fiction or horror fare covered at FBC Films, BUT it still fits:

  • Diversity in film is not just about race (though Pilloton is half-Asian) but also diversity of thought, ideas, and socio-economic status which If You Build It has in spades;
  • This isn’t a horror film but the treatment of these brilliant educators is horrible, horrifying and horror-inducing;
  • This isn’t science fiction but there’s a good dollop of science in the lessons they learn around building sound structures.

If You Build It finished its limited run in NYC and is now heading for LA. Please support this excellent movie. Facebook link is https://www.facebook.com/IfYouBuildItFilm and Studio H, which had to leave NC for lack of funding and is now in Berkeley, takes donations: http://www.projecthdesign.org/donate/

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