“My father made documentaries and he taught me that films should always be stories about people and if you’re going to make movies they’ve got to say something. I think that every kid, no matter where they are born or what they have been given in life, deserves a great education and a piece of the American dream. That’s what drove me to tell this story and to make this movie.” – Davis Guggenheim
Waiting for Superman is a documentary that started out as a social action campaign that intended to raise awareness about the failing school systems in the United States, and encourage people to do something about it. Guggenheim had been through the public school system and his children now attend private school. Upon revisiting his school he realized how bad the system had gotten and knew that he had to do something.
Davis Guggenheim, the film’s creator, was the main source of funding for the film as its production was extremely personal. The film was made using a combination of found footage, recorded footage, and interviews. It revolves around the concept of the lottery system in public schools. The numbers not picked on lottery day would be those children who will not be able to get the education that they deserve.
This film was extremely well received and was seen in movie theaters all over America. It had a large budget in comparison to most documentaries of its kind. It sparked a conversation all over America and forced people to take a serious look at the education that their children were receiving. The film has a website as well as a large following. The website continues to promote the original campaign as well as information about the film and how the general public can get involved.
I think that the film is extremely effective in sparking conversation among parents, students and teachers alike. It is a film, that for me personally, showed me a world that I had no idea existed. I grew up going to private schools, so to get such a poignant glimpse of what school is like for some children in America was truly eye-opening.