This humorous and heartfelt look at the reality of the American college application process focuses on San Francisco’s top public high school, Lowell High school, where seniors are stressed out. As they prepare for the emotionally draining college application process, students are keenly aware of the intense competition for the few open spots in their dream colleges. They scrutinize how every element of their application, from their classes to their extracurricular activities to their racial identities, might be read by admission officers.
At Lowell, cool kids are nerds, nearly everyone has an amazing talent, and most of the student body is Asian American. The things that usually make a person stand out can feel not good enough, even commonplace. With humor and heart, director Debbie Lum takes us to the reality of the American college application process and the intersection of class, race, and educational opportunity as experienced by high school seniors living through it. Try Harder! is a portrait of young adults in the most diverse American generation ever as they navigate a quintessential rite of passage and make it their own.
“It’s a very funny movie about a bunch of students trying to find their way through a system that is designed to keep them out rather than let them in.” ~ VOX
“Cinematically, “Try Harder!” is as unfussy as any doc, but it’s also impossible to resist.” ~ Indiewire
“A simultaneously charming and chastening documentary…” ~ Variety
Reservations are strongly recommended for film series showings as seating is limited. Online and phone ticket sales close at noon on the Friday before the showing. Tickets may be available for purchase at the Ticket Desk on the day of the film if seating allows.
Tickets are non-refundable unless you receive a positive COVID test or have to quarantine as a close contact. Some of our shows sell out, so please contact us on the Film Series phone line (802-457-5303) if you unable to attend a reserved showing.
FILM SERIES SAFETY
Film attendees are expected to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. You will be asked at entry to show proof of vaccination, either as a vaccination card, photocopy of the card, or cell phone photograph of the card. You may provide verification in advance when you purchase your ticket online. All guests will be required to wear masks at all times during film viewings in the Theater. We thank you in advance for your cooperation.