Class of COVID 19: A Documentary Film 2022
Distributed by Collective Eye Films, 1315 SE 20th Ave. #3, Portland OR 97214; 971-236-2056
Produced by Donna M. Davis, Ph.D.
Directed by Jon Brick
Streaming, 75 mins
College - General Adult
Documentaries; Education; Health Sciences; Mental Health
Date Entered: 06/23/2023Reviewed by Christina R. Hilburger, Research and Information Literacy Services Librarian, SUNY Fredonia
Class of COVID 19: A Documentary Film offers an insightful exploration of courage and hope that emerged during the unprecedented times of the global pandemic. Directed by Jon Brick, this documentary delves beyond the confines of school walls to portray the fears, challenges, and triumphs of educators and students. The films captivating interviews help demonstrate the profound impact COVID-19 had on education.
One notable strength of this film is its ability to showcase the resilience and dedication of educators. The film serves as a powerful reminder of the lack of respect often afforded to teachers, especially in times of crisis. It also encapsulates the profound fear experienced by educators when asked to return to in-person teaching amidst the risks posed by the pandemic. By highlighting these concerns, the film prompts viewers to reflect on the vital role teachers play and the necessity of ensuring their safety and well-being. In its examination of educational inequities, a variety of disparities that pervade our educational system are brought to light.
The film also offers a glimpse into the experiences of students, including those at the collegiate level. It effectively captures the atmosphere of uncertainty and the myriad of unknowns that society faced during the pandemic. By focusing on mental health, the documentary illuminates the heavy toll the crisis took on students, with depression and anxiety increasing exponentially during this time.
Issues of social justice within the context of the pandemic are also addressed. The film introduces viewers to inspiring student activists who took on leadership roles in the Black Lives Matter movement, showcasing their determination to fight for social justice despite the health crisis. By interweaving the narratives of these students with those of teachers, policymakers, and historians, the film presents a comprehensive exploration of the challenges faced by marginalized communities during the pandemic.
In comparison to other documentaries centered on the COVID-19 pandemic, such as 76 Days and Homeroom (2021), directed by Peter Nicks, Class of COVID 19 distinguishes itself by honing in on the challenges within the larger education sector. By placing an emphasis on mental health, educational inequities, and social justice, this documentary offers a unique perspective on the pandemic's larger impact on education.
The film delves into sensitive topics surrounding mental health and the toll of the pandemic on students' well-being. Some of the topics addressed in the film may be emotionally challenging for some viewers, particularly those who have personal experiences or connections with mental health struggles. As the documentary address’s themes of depression and suicide, it is crucial to approach this film with sensitivity and provide appropriate support for viewers who may find these discussions triggering.
The documentary serves as a compelling and insightful portrayal of the COVID-19 pandemic. It would be a valuable addition to most educational collections. It would be an especially valuable resource for students and researchers in fields such as education, sociology, public health, social justice, and film studies, providing rich material for in-depth analysis and exploration of the multifaceted impacts of the pandemic on education and society.
Awards: International Black Film Festival of Nashville: 2022 Winner; Best Feature Documentary WorldFest-Houston International Film Fest: 2022 Winner; Remi Silver Lone Star Award Kansas City Film Fest International: 2022 Winner; Audience Choice Documentary Feature
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