We’re in Oakland, California. It is 2019, the beginning of the school year. Director Peter Nicks and crew are on site covering the lives of this years’ Seniors through the school year. There is no narration. These students are participating in a cinema vérité documentary film.
The film focusses on students who have volunteered to participate on the All-City Student Union Governing Board. Beyond that focus, Nicks’ Homeroom takes us on campus, viewing daily life, and hearing students talking about and participating in their charge to provide leadership to the schools’ student body as well as to the adult leadership. That is to say, students have some say in school and district-wide policies.
In addition to simply being high school seniors, this student body and the student volunteers on the Student Union Governing Board grapple with a multitude of policy and social issues: school closings, budget cuttings, student deaths, teacher strikes, the school district’s 6-million-dollar annual budgeted police and security force which students deeply resent, the seemingly non-stop killings of people of color, the existential threat of global warming, and to top this list: the multiple impacts of Covid 19. (My one and only concern as a Senior was how to get out of PE.)
In a story that could have easily degenerated into sensationalism, and despite the above overwhelming challenges these students face, Homeroom is ultimately a joyful celebration of a hopeful and caring youth, and a reminder to adults that these young ones are our future. Let’s put ourselves in their shoes
The film’s music is by Mike Tuccillo.
Homeroom is distributed by Hulu.
(Photos courtesy of Hulu, LLC)