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Nabbing a spot in one of NYC's best public high schools can change kids' lives--but who gets in? Only the few who conquer the SHSAT.
Nabbing a spot in one of NYC's best public high schools can change kids' lives--but who gets in? Only the few who conquer the SHSAT.
225 backers pledged $25,479 to help bring this project to life.

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CHECK OUT OUR HUFFINGTON POST OPINION PIECE!

our Article on AngryAsianMan.com!

our Guest Blog on YOMYOMF!

Article in the Times Ledger

and our Profile in AsAmNews!

ABOUT THE FILM:

Stuyvesant. Bronx Science. Brooklyn Tech: all nationally ranked public high schools considered among the best in New York City and the nation. Each year, thousands of 8th graders compete to secure coveted spots at these elite schools by taking the Specialized High Schools Admissions Test (the SHSAT). Admission is granted based solely on that single test score.

Only one in five will get in.

Accusations of racial discrimination have been leveled against this one-test-only policy, as black and Hispanic youth, comprising 70% of the city's total public school population, now represent only 5% of the student body at some of the specialized schools. Meanwhile, Asian Americans and whites form supermajorities. In September 2012, the NAACP Legal Defense Fund filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Civil Rights to challenge this admission policy.

Acceptance Rates for 8th Graders by Race for Fall 2008 - 2011 SHSAT exams.  (For admission in the 2009-2010 to 2012-2013 School Years)
Acceptance Rates for 8th Graders by Race for Fall 2008 - 2011 SHSAT exams. (For admission in the 2009-2010 to 2012-2013 School Years)

This documentary follows the struggles and challenges of a diverse group of students, many of them immigrants and working class, as they prepare for this all-important test.

WHY THIS FILM IS IMPORTANT

Education is one key path to social justice, and Tested will spotlight this, along with hot-button issues relevant to our “post-racial”/Obama era:

  • Access to high-quality public education. As income gaps widen in America, the education gap is widening as well. Large segments of the public, minorities in particular, are now at risk of being left behind. With the growing importance of technology and information, what can we do to ensure every child has a chance to participate in the American dream?
  • Equity and social justice. While polling shows the American public generally approves of policies that address past racial discrimination, support for these programs is diminishing, and the Supreme Court — as witnessed in the recent Fisher v. Texas case and another on the 2014 docket — seems determined to chip away at such programs. While not necessarily directly addressing affirmative action, our film will look at the SHSAT through the prism of fairness.
  • Race versus class. From free school classes to ethnic-based programs and private tutors, the film will touch on what prep options are available to whom and at what financial cost. We’ll also examine the fact that at some of these specialized schools, over fifty percent of the students are Title I, many coming from poor neighborhoods and immigrant families.
  • The Tiger Mom and model-minority myth. Often discussions on education policy present issues as white versus black and brown. We will include the often overlooked Asian American perspective, adding a whole different set of stereotypes to the mix and attempting to sift through them.

The film will examine how communities of color, using stereotypes, are pitted against one another in a fight for dwindling public resources. The film is especially timely because of the recent NAACP LDF legal complaint. Even as public education comes under fire, it remains one of the few tools available to help disadvantaged and immigrant families ascend America’s socioeconomic ladder.

WHO WE ARE

CURTIS CHIN -- Director/Writer/Producer

Curtis's last film, Vincent Who? has screened at over 300 colleges in four countries and won awards from the National Association for Multicultural Education and the Asian American Justice Center.  He's excited to be back in NYC to work on Tested, his second feature documentary film. 

ADAM WOLMAN -- Writer/Producer

Drawing on his experience at HBO Digital, Disney|ABC Television Group, MTV, and CBS Productions, Adam consults for writers, entertainment tech companies, and other content creators for television/film/the web.  Before moving to L.A., Adam was an independent producer in Boston, and also dipped a toe (still wet) into politics as a lobbyist and speechwriter for Mass Citizen Action.

SAM HENRIQUES -- Director of Photography

A product of New York's public schools and with two daughters of his own currently in the system, Sam knows firsthand how complex it can be to navigate NYC's public school system.  Sam recently won an Emmy for The Good Soldier as Producer in Documentary & Historical Programming.  He also worked on Portrait of Wally, Nursery University and Angola, which was nominated for an Academy Award. 

HOW KICKSTARTER WORKS

It’s simple – all you have to do sign up for a free account, give as much money as you like, and claim your reward. It’s important to remember that your credit card will NOT be charged unless we reach our $20,000 funding goal. If we don’t reach our goal, we will not receive any of the money. If at any point you would like to increase your donation, just log back into your Kickstarter account and click ‘Manage Your Donation’ on this page. Thank you so much for your support!

REWARDS!

Below are examples of the Tested T-shirts, Tested Pencils and Pencil Case:

 *All T-Shirts are unisex. 

Tested Shirt ($50)
Tested Shirt ($50)
Specialized High School Shirt ($50)
Specialized High School Shirt ($50)
Tested NYC Shirt ($50)
Tested NYC Shirt ($50)
"Tested" Pencil Case ($35, includes 2 pencils)
"Tested" Pencil Case ($35, includes 2 pencils)
"Tested" Pencil (2 for $20)
"Tested" Pencil (2 for $20)

CONTACT US

We would love to hear from you! 

Please like us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TestedFilm 

Follow us on Twitter: @TestedFilm 

Or email us at testedfilm@gmail.com 

PRESS

HUFFINGTON POST - Opinion Piece

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/curtis-chin/a-case-of-tma_b_4143283.html

ANGRY ASIAN MAN - Article 

http://blog.angryasianman.com/2013/10/fund-this-social-justice-and-public.html#more

CULTURAL WEEKLY - Kickstarter Project of the Week

www.culturalweekly.com/tested-a-documentary-film-about-disadvantaged-youth.html

THE WALL STREET JOURNAL - Featured in Jeff Yang's Speakeasy blog.

http://blogs.wsj.com/speakeasy/2013/10/03/what-the-viral-i-quit-video-says-about-millennials/

YOMYOMF - Guest Blog

http://youoffendmeyouoffendmyfamily.com/a-case-of-t-m-a/

AsAmNews - Filmmaker Profile

http://www.asamnews.com/2013/10/18/filmmaker-to-direct-first-film-since-vincent-who/

Times Ledger - Article abut Tested

http://www.timesledger.com/stories/2013/42/calvin_all_2013_10_17_q.html

Risks and challenges

We have spent over nine months on research, visiting schools and familes' homes, speaking to graduates of the NYC public school system about their experiences, reaching out to experts, casting, and shooting. We've completed several weeks' worth of filming but there's much more to be done.

With this campaign, our team aims to raise $20,000 or more from September 25 to October 23 to help fund production. This is only a portion of our total budget of $150,000, so we hope to exceed our goal, as well as use other resources to completely fund the film.

We are now in full production, capturing the challenges and achievements of a diverse group of kids preparing to take the SHSAT. We're excited about producing a film that can spark debate about the American public school system and what can be done to improve it. We truly appreciate your support -- please check back throughout the month for future updates!

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    EXTRA CREDIT -- We’ll send you two "Tested" pencils and a personal thank-you note from our director.

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    HALL MONITOR **Added Reward** -- All of the Above (except HONOR ROLL) PLUS a signed DVD of Curtis's first movie, Vincent Who?

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    STUDY HALL -- A documentary filmmaker yourself? We’ll give you a thumb drive packed with research materials, templates, grant deadline calendars and fundraising tips. Everything you need to know to get started (stuff we’ve been compiling for months).

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    PRIVATE TUTOR -- In addition to being an established documentary filmmaker, Curtis Chin has won awards from the National Endowment for the Arts, has experience as a professional fundraiser and is now a Visiting Scholar at NYU. He’ll sit down for a half-hour meeting with you and teach you anything you need to know about filmmaking, fundraising and similar topics. This will be a meeting via Skype.

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    REPORT CARD -- Do you have a great script? Adam has worked as a creative exec at HBO Digital, Disney|ABC, and MTV. Curtis has written for several TV shows on major networks. They’ll read your script, give notes, and helpfully critique your work.

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    EXTRACURRICULAR -- Nerd Tour of NYC! A key member of the "Tested" team will give you a tour of the geekiest places in the city, personalized to your unique interests.
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    TEACHER'S PET -- Private screening. Curtis and/or a key member of the "Tested" team will host a private screening in your home for you and your friends. We’ll bring the movie, popcorn, and snacks to watch and discuss the film together (NY or L.A. only).

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    FIELD TRIP -- We love guests: Come visit us on the set of our film in New York! We are currently in the early stages of production; you’ll have until February 2014 to make this happen. We’ll
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    GUEST SPEAKER -- Curtis Chin will fly to you (anywhere in the continental US) and thank you in person for your donation. He’ll also host a special screening of "Tested" or award-winning "Vincent Who?" in your city.
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    SALUTATORIAN -- Co-Executive Producer credit on the film (closing credits) and a mention on marketing and promotional materials. VIP invitation to New York and L.A. premieres (travel not included), 4 VIP screening tickets, 1 set visit.

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Funding period

- (30 days)