TRY HARDER! Feature Films In Person at AFI Silver


Following the screening, watch a special conversation with director Debbie Lum, producer Lou Nakasako and subjects Rachael Schmidt and Sophia Wu moderated by AFI Festivals Senior Programmer Ken Jacobson.

Practically the entire student body of Lowell High School, San Francisco’s most elite public school, is trying its hardest to attract the attention of the country’s most selective colleges, including Harvard, Yale, Berkeley and the gold standard for Lowell students, Stanford. But what if packing your schedule with AP classes, getting all “A’s” and being an Eagle Scout is not enough? And what if the deck is stacked against you because you attend an Asian-American majority school, which the elite colleges have euphemistically dubbed as being “robotic”? In Debbie Lum’s humorous and thought-provoking take on the stresses and strains of the college application process, what stands out most is the character and heart of these young people — something that no admissions office can truly measure. –Ken Jacobson

Continue the conversation on DOCS Connect, with filmmaker in attendance to respond to your questions, here.

Debbie Lum is an award-winning San Francisco-based filmmaker whose projects give voice to the Asian American experience and other unsung stories. She has an MFA in Cinema from San Francisco State University and a BA in Religious Studies from Brown University.

Jeffrey Winter
The Film Collaborative
[email protected]


Country: USA

Year: 2021

Director: Debbie Lum

Producers: Nico Opper, Lou Nakasako, Debbie Lum

Directors of Photography: Lou Nakasako, Kathy Huang

Editors: Andrew Gersh, Amy Ferraris

Music: Diana Salier

Running Time (minutes): 84

Language: English

Accessibility: Closed Captions Available