At Lowell High School—the top-ranked public high school in San Francisco—the cool kids are nerds, nearly everyone has an amazing talent, and the majority of the student body is Asian American. The things that usually make a person stand out can seem commonplace. Keenly aware of the intense competition for the few open spots in their dream colleges, the seniors stress out over how every element of their application—from their classes to their extracurricular activities to their racial identities—might be read by admission officers.
Directed by Debbie Lum
Produced by Debbie Lum, Nico Opper, and Lou Nakasako
About the filmmaker: Debbie Lum is an award-winning filmmaker whose projects give voice to the Asian American experience and other unsung stories. Try Harder! , her documentary about San Francisco’s iconic Lowell High School premiered at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival in US documentary competition. Her previous documentary, Seeking Asian Female, premiered at SXSW, and was a “fan favorite” on PBS’ Independent Lens, won Best of Fest (Silverdocs), Outstanding Director (LA Asian Pacific Film Festival) and was featured in This American Life. Her editing credits include A.K.A Don Bonus (winner, National Emmy), Kelly Loves Tony (nominee, IDA Best Documentary), and To You Sweetheart, Aloha.
LIVESTREAM Q&A for Extra Credit and H.A.G.S. on 11/05 at 8:45 P.M. EST
Followed by a LIVESTREAM Q&A for Try Harder! at 9:00 P.M. EST