Alyssa Morin

FILM SCREENING: “GO PUBLIC” shows the good, bad of public schools

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Ivie Sherman loves education movies. As a teacher at Redondo Union High School as well as a private tutor, she often seeks out films that throw public education into the public eye.

When Sherman saw an ad for “GO PUBLIC,” a 90-minute documentary portraying a day  in the life of public schools in Pasadena, California, she was instantly struck.

“I heard about it in the California Educator Magazine,” said Sherman. “It sparked my interest. Then I learned that the only way to see it is to sponsor a screening. You have to sell the tickets, promote the screening and be at the event.”

Sherman immediately submitted a proposal to host a screening in Redondo Beach and was approved in early January. Her screening is scheduled for Tuesday, March 4 at 7:30 p.m. at the AMC South Bay Galleria theater.

“It’s interesting because I can’t see the film until the screening,” she said. “And I have to sell all of the 74 tickets by February 25 in order for the screening to happen.”

“GO PUBLIC” was made by Dawn and Jim O’Keefe, a couple who has been married 28 years and have four children who attended public school in Pasadena. The O’Keefes, both film and television veterans, sought to portray the successes and failures facing California publics schools.

On May 8, 2012, 50 directors and their small camera crews followed 50 individuals who attend, support and work in the Pasadena Unified School District, a racially and economically diverse district with 28 public school campuses. Administrators, teachers, students, support staff and volunteers reveal their unique contributions in making a public school district function. The film contains no voice-over narratives or expert commentaries. It allows the subjects to speak for themselves.

“There is a great deal to celebrate about our public schools, but people need to be educated about the challenges they face,” Dawn O’Keefe said. “In our district, $30 million has been cut from the schools in the past five years.”

The Pasadena school district was fully supportive of the project.

“I’m glad they made the film,” said Pasadena Board of Education President Renatta Cooper. “Charter schools get so much PR like ‘Waiting for Superman,’ which was so biased against public education. I hope something like this that takes a slice of life view of one day in public education can go all the way.”

In order to go all the way, “GO PUBLIC” needs an audience. The film has already been screened over 15 times all over the country, from Burbank to Harlem, and has appeared in several film festivals. March 4 is the first time “GO PUBLIC” will be made available to the South Bay. At press time, Sherman had sold only ten of the required 74 tickets for the March 4 screening.

“I truly hope people in our community come out to the screening,” Sherman said. “The film shows public education is working but also facing many challenges. They want people to see the movie to become advocates for public education. All the decisions made about public schools are made by people who are not living the public school experience.”

“GO PUBLIC” screens on Tuesday, March 4 at 7:30 p.m. at the AMC South Bay Galleria Theater, 1815 Hawthorne Blvd in Redondo Beach. Tickets are $10 and can be reserved at www.tugg.com/events/7483. The ticket price will not be charged if the screening is cancelled.