Director Peter Nicks’s trilogy of vérité documentaries exploring public institutions in Oakland concludes with Homeroom, which follows Oakland High School’s 2020 senior class.

As well as preparing to graduate and enjoying the final year with their friends, a group of Student Union representatives resolutely campaign to defund the school police. Their hope is to redirect funds to programmes that centre the wellbeing of the students, many of whom have been victims of violent institutional racism.

Homeroom shifts between Nicks’s observational storytelling and the social media on which the students share and discover information – a scrolling cacophony that swings from teen fun to the horrific racist murders that triggered a groundswell in global Black Lives Matter protests. This film captures the importance of community and a historical tipping point that resonates with the activism of these bright, political teens who are leading the way. 

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