The national high school graduation rate is 75%--and just 66% for Hispanics, 63.5% for African-Americans--a figure that’s improving but still too low. This spring, filmmaker and social media consultant Jason Pollock started filming students at six diverse high schools around the country for Undroppable, a feature doc and social media campaign to raise awareness on the issue.
In videos of the interviews that have been released before the full feature students talk movingly about the trials of staying in school and the rewards they earn when they do. Above is Sherrod Jones, who is worried about the fate of his unborn daughter. Below is Danielle Lopez, who won a scholarship for college despite living in a tent for part of high school:
This is one superconnected film: Pollock worked as an assistant to filmmaker Michael Moore for three years before joining Ashton Kutcher’s company Katalyst to work on social media for both his films and causes. Also on the team are director and frequent Will Ferrell collaborator Adam McKay (Anchorman), and Scooter Braun, Justin Bieber’s manager. But they’re trying to make the students the real stars, with first-person testimonials about their experiences, hopes and dreams for the future, like Marlene Arazo, who talks about how hard it is to get from her house to her school in her gang-filled neighborhood: