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Left Behind: The Story of the New Orleans Public Schools

Join The Studio@620 for a screening of "Left Behind: The Story of the New Orleans Public Schools", a documentary created in post-Katrina New Orleans.

Join The Studio@620 for a screening of "Left Behind: The Story of the New Orleans Public Schools" and meet the film's director Vince Morelli.  The 95-minute documentary follows three high school seniors through the 2004 - 2005 school year in the worst public school system in the United States -- in the left behind: a documentarypoorest city in America, in the most violent city in the industrialized world. 

Denied access and lied to by school officials, filmmakers Vince Morelli and Jason Berry, with the help of students, smuggled cameras inside the schools to unveil horrendous conditions - from non-functional bathrooms to chaotic, classroom antics by students and teachers.  Viewers will be shocked by what they see. "We couldn't believe how these kids could learn anything in this environment, and it was pretty obvious why the administration didn't want us there," said Morelli. Detailed interviews with school board members, superintendents, teachers, principals, community activists, and more paint a picture of violence, poverty, racism, and political corruption that challenge the students at every turn.

"The school system was the biggest issue facing New Orleans at the time we started filming," says Morelli. "It was frustrating everyone from politicians to teachers. We saw so much human potential being wasted and saw how that was adversely affecting the future of the city. We started with a local story and found, hidden beneath the surface, was a story of the core of America. It was a story that needed to be told."

While the film portrays the impact of failed education on the fabric of American society, in the end it is a story determination and resiliency. A story of hope and triumph. 

Academy award-winning writer and producer of Crash, Bobby Moresco, is executive producer of the film. The music is composed by Rolfe Kent, composer for Sideways and Wedding Crashers. Interviews with Actor/rapper Ice-T, Professor Noam Chomsky, and author Michael Eric Dyson accent the film’s biting commentary.

The film has been previewed to great reviews at Harvard University, George Washington University, Tulane University, MIT, and Loyola Marymount and others. It has been screened for the National Alliance of Black School Educators, the U.S. Department of Education in Washington, DC and the Louisiana State Legislature.  Left Behind has also shown at the Palm Beach Film Festival, the New Orleans Film Festival and the Ischia Italy International Film Festival.

Reviews and Quotes


"A profoundly important documentary."

-- Paul Haggis, Writer/Director (Million Dollar Baby, Crash)


“A powerful and important look at politics at the local level.”

-- Oliver Stone, Director (World Trade Center, JFK, Platoon)


"I'm still reeling from the showing of the film and have been speaking about the important work all over the country.” 

-- Susan Taylor, Editorial Director, Essence Magazine


“The film brings out a moment in our history, a moment that  will define us. It will define what our society is about, its morals, its values.”  -

--Stacy Childress, professor, Harvard School of Business





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