Try Harder!

Directed by Debbie Lum

Notable Festivals: Premiere, Sundance 2021; AFI Docs, 2021; Full Frame Documentary Film Festival, 2021; DOC NYC, 2021.

Awards: Nominee, Truer Than Fiction Award, Film Independent Spirit Awards, 2021.

Try Harder! takes viewers to California’s Lowell High School and into the lives of five gifted students coping with the brutal reality of the college admission process.  Facing the extreme pressures of both a rigorous academic program and the expectations of family members, peers, and themselves, these highly talented and intelligent students are forced to question their worth as they struggle through the uncertainty of their senior year.  Try Harder! addresses how more privileged students question the accomplishments of students of color and how students of color then internalize those insinuations and question the reasons for their own well-earned achievements and successes.  The film brings awareness to the inequities within the admission process, advocates for those facing rejection, and mixes in light-hearted moments that ensure that this charming and salient documentary will keep the conversation going long after the end credits roll. (Written by Charlie McDonald ‘22)


Screens: Thurs Mar 31 / 7:30pm / Olin 104                Sat Apr 2 / 1:15pm / Nordica Theater 5