Loving, true-believer, parents trapped in a financial-noir of tax-profiteers, political deception and corporate retaliation. “corruption”, “power corrupts”, pervasive corruption at the top”. A Michael Moore-type exposé by twice Emmy-nominate, “brilliant artist*”, Wayne Coe.
The first parents in the nation to stop a school closing, justice fights injustice. Coe, an education true believer’s film, star’s a monster: the quasi-private trillion-dollar education industry. The industry strip kids of their unalienable rights, manipulates the public and militarily enforces tax extraction. Grassroots journalism exposes protected economic systems and abridged human rights (the students).
“Gives voice to the voiceless”, A 100 student poll articulates their rage and anxiety against this dangerous school closing. “A train track (carrying various deadly fuels and chemicals) circles the three schools with a single two-lane road that provides access to school for the parents and students every morning and afternoon. A potentially deadly nightmarish situation, but that’s not the problem. “The problem? Money and power with virtually no checks or balances.”
Citizens are blinded to what school management wants, who they represent, and how they obtain the loot. The film embeds audiences in a roiling battle to stop NY’s teacher’s union “special interests” from coercing the closure of the National School of Character.
Have American schools gone the way of Congress, the Executive branch and courts, where money runs the elections, and representatives can’t even pretend to represent the public? Parents won’t back down. Dive into the downy billion-dollar undeclared profits from schools no longer schooling and employees no longer employed.
WE HAVE YOUR KIDS is financial Noir procedural. The plot is vigilante justice, Lang’s THE BIG HEAT, enraged parents go after the thugs that endanger their kids. Into their lair, where plans a brewing to close the school. Noir themes of manipulation, lies, sadism, power, greed, corruption and violence; the lubricants of despair, demonstrative of social decay.
The film features detective work, political science investigations, uncovering how the robbery occurs and who gets the loot. I avoid dow-eyed kids & dewey-eyed parents, pulpit preaching pedagogues and valiant politicians, for gangster capitalism in education.
Empty schools are the landscape of despair. THEY LIVE BY NIGHT and THE THIRD MAN, bleak, emotionally vacant, social wastelands, Chatham’s exposed, tawdry HS library/school board room is dehumanizing by intent; it’s an environment where cats devour mice and no one can hear your scream. Like Wells’s THE TRIAL, the Board of Education is a mockery of justice, deception of democracy. Their implacable silence breaks in PR bursts. If questioned the facade quickly falls and they deny, heckle, insult, defame and threaten parents.
Animation reveals the crime underworld, like taverns in Lang’s M and the sewers of THE THIRD MAN, the back alley’s of THE INFORMANT. The explosive trains motif, reflects the locomotives of industry and monstrous capital grinding inexorably, remorselessly, over children's tears. Noir was usually a low budget affair, under lit, shot at night on the cheap. My feature was never to have been, for years the board recorded nothing, taped nothing, offered nothing up from FOIL. I had to bring the historical apparatus inside to show the unshowable. Animation helped upgrade the scale, light the apparatus of oppression.
I set out to record, “the public narrative” of school closings: an experience written out of our of history by the school's $100,000 Communication Director. Newspapers ceased printing my articles the second “consolidation” was approved by the board. 50 two hour meetings would have gone — without record. Instead, 30 column inches of free front page propaganda bi-weekly obliterates any community truth experienced at school.
Noir is social critique reflecting how civics became crime and promised upward mobility a desperate downward spiral. Consolidation is legal, militarily enforced, school execution. WE HAVE YOUR KIDS central story, school closings, is a spiritual crime: the killing of poor kids education made profitable.