“Brave” Coe & Gilger expose a highly complicated merger of crime & policy, of stealing and government at the nexus of politics and economics: the closing 1600 schools a year.  In a Michael Moore performative exposé, Emmy-winning artist, Wayne Coe, investigates knowledge industry power; a true crime, a class crime. Loving parents get trapped in a financial-noir of tax-profiteers, political deception and corporate retaliation when a million dollar corruption threatens their kids.

8/10, Alan Ng, describes the school admin as “corrupt” six times! We Have Your Kids is twice compared to THE IRISHMAN.  “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 no checks or balances, and pervasive corruption at the top”. 

The first parents in the U.S. to stop a school closing, Coe’s film stars a monster, the trillion-dollar education industry.  “The education industry is, among other things, a billion dollar industry and a billion dollar industry is more important, than the life of a child.” James Baldwin.  Critique, analysis, mockery and protest, the Left’s toolkit are dispensed to merry and miraculous effect. 

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.


Animation visualizes a financial underworld, dark as the taverns in Lang’s, M, the shadowy back alley’s of Ford’s, THE INFORMANT, and the ratty dives of FORCE OF EVIL.  The explosive train motif reflects the locomotives of industry, grinding inexorably, remorselessly, exploiting children.

Noir is traditionally a low budget affair, under lit, shot at night and on the cheap.  So are the school board pretenses.  For years school boards recorded nothing, kept no public records. Over three years I amassed the largest archive of public school meetings available.  Students published a fantastic student poll & critique of consolidation.  Time after time we recorded public surveys.  With the cinematic surveillance we exposed the invisible, administrative criminality. Years of meetings would have vanished — without the public narrative, giving voice to the voiceless.  We became school detectives.  

The public narrative, the cries of loss and damage are omitted from U.S. history each school's $100,000 Communication Director, and their $250,000 superintendents, district superintendents and unionized-school boards.  The school gets 30 column inches of free front page propaganda while the parents struggle to get a letter on the back opinions page.  Mostly we face a media a blacked out.

Noir is social critique, civic incivility, upward mobility for the few spiraling downward for kids.   School closings are legal, militarized school executions.  Consolidation is a spiritual crime: killing poor kids’ education to turn a quick fifty million.

WE HAVE YOUR KIDS is financial Noir.  The plot is vigilante justice, Lang’s THE BIG HEAT, enraged parents go after the thugs who endanger their kids.  Into their lair, the school, where plans are  brewing to shutter the sacred, acclaimed school.  Themes of manipulation, lies, sadism, power, greed, corruption and violence demonstrative of social decay.  

The film features political science investigations, original reporting on tax looting and financial coercion.  No dow-eyed kids, dewey-eyed parents, preaching pedagogues and upstanding board members among the education gangsters.

Empty schools are the landscape of despair.  THEY LIVE BY NIGHT, bleak, emotionally vacant, social wastelands. The board’s exposed, tawdry library/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, a deception not democracy.  

We Have Your Kids questions shatter the facade; they deny, heckle, insult, defame and threaten.  Animation helps light the “masters of mankind”, illuminate the apparatus of oppression.