Posted January 20, 2016

Alumni film to debut at Sundance

'The Bad Kids,' directed by Keith Fulton, TFM '95, and Lou Pepe, TFM '97, will have its world premiere at the annual film festival.

A male teen from the documentary ‘The Bad Kids’ holding a chain link fence.
Low Key Pictures
Directed by Temple alumni, the documentary 'The Bad Kids' tracks the lives and struggles of three students and the principal from Black Rock Continuation High School in Yucca Valley, Calif.

The Bad Kids, a documentary directed by filmmakers and Temple alumni Keith Fulton, TFM 95, and Lou Pepe, TFM 97, will premiere at the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah, on Friday, Jan. 22, 2016.

The film follows the lives of the principal and students from Black Rock Continuation High School in Yucca Valley, Calif. The school’s student body is made up of at-risk teens from the impoverished Mojave Desert community who have fallen so far behind in credits that they have no hope of earning a diploma at a traditional high school.

Principal Vonda Viland has made it her mission to realize the potential of these students who have been deemed lost causes by the educational system. The film chronicles her interactions with three students in particular—a new father who can’t support his family, a young woman grappling with sexual abuse and an angry young man from an unstable home—as she guides them through the traumas and obstacles that threaten their goal of a high school diploma.

Pepe and Fulton were commissioned in 2011 by the Teaching Channel to make a series of short films about exceptional public school teachers. They decided it would be more interesting to profile educators who do their best in difficult circumstances.

In a statement on the film’s website, Pepe and Fulton said, “We found … our share of devoted teachers, all of whom were vocal about the same issue: There was only so much a teacher could do without the resources to handle the unique problems of an impoverished student body.”

Read the full story.

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