Why You Should See “If You Build It” at the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival 2014

Full Frame Doc Festival 2013 If You Build It Lisa Sullivan

Image above of film makers and subjects from the documentary film “If You Build It” taken during the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival 2013 by Lisa Sullivan. Copyright 2013. All Rights Reserved.

The Full Frame Documentary Film Festival showing of this film goes beyond just a movie. It brings together the concepts of community, education, financial hardship, challenge, and discovery.

Full Frame Film Festival Info Lisa SullivanI had the opportunity to see it at last year’s festival. So glad I did! “If You Build It” left quite an impression on me. A film about innovative teachers, as a former educator, it had me on that premise. Then, it sucked me right in from the very first scene.

Imagine being an educator in your twenties, recognizing a need that needs to be fulfilled in a small town in a rural county and then working your tail off to fulfill that need while sacrificing more than you thought you’d have to. That’s what these two teachers did in Bertie County, North Carolina. They created this hands-on interactive program that taught math & science concepts while also teaching the importance of teamwork and helping these students to build a self-confidence they might not otherwise have had.

Along the way, the teachers face obstacle after obstacle – their funding gets taken away to the point where they sacrifice their own salaries just to finish the program they started. They end up living off of savings, pinching every penny for themselves personally and for the program. BUT, in the end, what those students learn, what they do for their community trumps any of the sacrifices they had to make.

It’s a brilliant story excellently made into a documentary film that everyone who has any stake in education, local government, or at the very least an interest in both should see. Perhaps it will teach you too the importance of thinking outside that proverbial box…and for government leaders, perhaps it will remind you of the importance of funding for education too. Don’t strip your educators of their salaries just because the way they wish to teach is different from what you’re used to. Give them a chance and pay them. Period. But, I’ll get off my soapbox on that subject for now. 😉

Last year, after the film, the film makers joined the teachers on stage to discuss it in a Q & A fashion. When it was learned that the students who were in the film were in the audience, they were called onto the stage to discuss their experience. There wasn’t a dry eye in the whole place as those kids walked up on stage. They received a Standing Ovation and a whole lot of “Whoop Whoops!” from the audience. THAT was an added experience in and of itself I will never forget either.

If you’d like to see “If You Build It” for FREE, it’s playing tonight as part of the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival. Check the Full Frame Free Films & Events link for more information. Tickets are not required and it’s being held as an outdoor screening at Durham Central Park.

If you do happen to catch it, I’d love to hear your impressions from the film. Please leave a comment below…and let me know if there was a dry eye in the house when it was over too. 😉



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