Jan 23rd 2020

In this award-winning story of what it takes to graduate, six Latinx high schoolers from across the US describe the barriers they face while pursuing their academic goals. Threaded through their stories is the importance of civic engagement, of students becoming involved in their schools and communities, and — crucially — having a say in their own futures. Followed by conversation with director Bernardo Ruiz. (2013, 120 minutes)

THE GRADUATES/LOS GRADUADOS with director Bernardo Ruiz and series curator Eve L. Ewing kicks of Race and American Schools, Cinema 53’s winter screening and discussion series. In this trio of documentaries, we explore the central role that race has played in the experience of schooling in America. Is education truly “the great equalizer”? Who is left out of that vision? How can education be used as a tool for liberation– or oppression? Curated by Eve L. Ewing, assistant professor at the University of Chicago School of Social Service Administration and author of Ghosts in the Schoolyard: Racism and School Closings on Chicago’s South Side, the winter series brings together a researcher, a community organizer, and a filmmaker to unpack the sordid story of race and education, and imagine the future of American schooling.

Bernardo Ruiz is a two-time Emmy Award-nominated documentary filmmaker and a member of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences. His latest, HARVEST SEASON, recently aired on PBS’s documentary series, Independent Lens. His directorial feature debut, REPORTERO (2013), about attacks on the press in Mexico premiered at Full Frame (U.S.), IDFA (Europe) and Ambulante (Mexico). His second feature documentary, KINGDOM OF SHADOWS (2016) premiered at SXSW in the U.S. and IDFA in Europe. In 2015, Ruiz was a filmmaker in residence at the Investigative Reporting Program at the U.C. Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism. He also wrote, directed and produced Roberto Clemente (2008) which was awarded the NCLR “Alma” Award for “Outstanding Made for Television Documentary.”

Admission is free and open to the public. Seating is first-come, first-seated. Doors open at 6:45pm.


Cinema 53 is a screening and discussion series presenting conversation provoking films by and about women and people of color. Housed at the historic Harper Theater in downtown Hyde Park, Cinema 53 brings together scholars, artists, students and audiences from Chicago’s South Side and
beyond to watch films that reflect, and reflect upon, the social and economic hierarchies that structure our society. We show works across the spectrum of narrative, documentary and experimental, classics and rarities, archival to contemporary. Curated by film scholar Jacqueline Stewart, Cinema 53 invites
inclusive, intersectional, intergenerational dialogue that supports the work of artists from historically marginalized groups, and cultivates constructive critical thinking among viewers of all backgrounds.

The winter 2020 series is presented with generous support from UChicago’s Center for the Study of Race, Politics and Culture and Center for the Study of Gender and Sexuality.

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