Acclaimed Documentary Film "BACKPACK FULL OF CASH" Screens at Eliot Arts Magnet Academy

Published : Thursday, September 12, 2019 | 3:12 PM

Eliot Arts Annual Fund will be screening the award winning documentary film BACKPACK FULL OF CASH on October 24, 2019 at 6:30 p.m. in the historic Eliot Arts Magnet Academy auditorium at 2184 Lake Avenue in Altadena. Tickets are $10 at the door. The film has Spanish subtitles. The screening is part of the new film and speaker series called Eliot Talks.

Eliot Annual Fund Chairperson Jennifer Hall Lee said “We’ve chosen to screen this film because of the new spotlight on public education in the United States and how the varying levels of school privatization threaten our democracy.” In Spring of 2020 Eliot Talks will include local notables including Phil Hettema of The Hettema Group and Denise Verret, Director of the Los Angeles Zoo.

BACKPACK FULL OF CASH, narrated by Academy award-winning actor and activist Matt Damon, is now serving as a primer for voters, especially those affected by education privatization. Through the eyes of principals, teachers, activists, parents and most hearteningly, students, BACKPACK debunks myths about privately-run charter and voucher schools and explores the evolving fight over public education, a cornerstone of American democracy.

Interest from Latinx audiences – a prime target for charter advocates – prompted filmmakers to launch a Spanish-language rollout of the film with Spanish subtitles and screening resources, funded with a grant from The Schott Foundation for Public Education. “We’ve launched a public information campaign to help educate people on the real-life impact of charter schools, vouchers, testing, and privatization ahead of the 2020 elections,” said BACKPACK filmmakers Sarah Mondale and Vera Aronow.

The film also showcases a model for improvement in Union City, New Jersey, where investment in public schools gives poor kids a high-quality education – without charters or vouchers. “What’s going on in public schools like Union City is proof that if you provide enough resources to a school district and you help that district use those resources wisely, you get astonishing results. You get these improbable and fantastic
scholars,” said education writer David Kirp, who appears in the documentary.

Sarah Mondale, Director and Co-producer of BACKPACK, directed and co-produced the award-winning, four-part PBS series SCHOOL: The Story of American Public Education narrated by Meryl Streep. To buy tickets online

Charles W. Eliot Arts Academy, 2184 North Lake Avenue, Altadena, (626) 396-5680 ext. 70001 or visit











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