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"Edge of Eighteen"
From Executive Producer and Academy Award-winning filmmaker Alex Gibney ("Taxi to the Dark Side" and "Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room") comes the definitive self-portrait of a generation. Watch as fifteen high school seniors from across the country filmed themselves and the world around them, creating an unforgettable profile of the education system and life on the Edge of Eighteen.
Brandon McCauley of Lebanon, Ohio, runs a lunchtime bible study program where he actively recruits students to participate. Though he's already been accepted into the prestigious University of Cincinnati program for Architecture, his true dream is to work as a missionary, but he's waiting for a message from God to find out if this is God's plan for him.
Angela Lee, a talented young dancer and brilliant student, is already dancing at a pre-professional level in Lubbock Texas. Still affected with past body image issues, she dreams of getting into a competitive college dance program and then moving on to a career as a professional dancer. Though she is an exceptional student in an International Baccalaureate program at a top high school, some soul-searching led her to the decision that pursuing dance over a more academic career was her true passion.
Hanoy Urtarte thrives as a popular and successful student at his public high school in Paterson, New Jersey. At home however, things have been difficult since he came out three years ago to his conservative, Dominican father who still has trouble fully accepting that Hanoy is gay. He dreams of going to college in San Francisco and leading an openly gay life, but he doesn’t count on that fact that his father thinks he should stay in New Jersey for school.
Angela Lee is auditioning for competitive college dance programs with the hope of someday becoming a professional dancer. After receiving a letter from the University of Arizona dance program, she learns that she has not been accepted. Though her confidence is shaken, she eagerly anticipates an acceptance letter from her dream school, SUNY Purchase.
Christina McVay lives in rural Barbourville, Kentucky, a town where poverty and drug addiction have gripped a large portion of the community. At just 17, she is five months pregnant and lives with the baby’s father Les and his mother. Though Christina has been separated from her own mother due to drug addiction and lost her father in the Iraq War, she considers herself lucky because Les has a decent job and they plan to get married. She hopes to go to college but her new baby may put that plan on hold.
Maurice Massonburg lives on the south side of Chicago, which is often called “Chi-raq” due to the wave of gun violence sweeping across the city. Despite the distractions and bad influences in his neighborhood, Maurice attends a charter school committed to helping underprivileged students go to college. This doesn’t reduce the mounting pressure he feels to become the first in his family to graduate from high school and attend college.
Maurice Massonburg, once a promising student, has all but abandoned his college dreams, resigning himself to the hard knocks of life on the west side of Chicago. Despite impassioned pleas from both his guidance counselor and mother, Maurice remains fixed to his downward spiral of smoking weed and slacking off at school.
Rachel Lemmons is a straight “A” student who prides herself on defying the stereotype of being a “dumb blond.” Having been bullied at her previous school, Rachel works every day to rebuild her life – making new friends, getting past her depression, working to get into the college of her dreams, but an unexpected pregnancy and continued to bullying may be too much for her to handle.
Brandton Stokely lives with his grandparents in the rural town of Mosca, Colorado, where he tends to the family alligator farm. Although he’s at the top of his senior class (albeit one with only nineteen students), but the lack of school guidance and absent parents leads him to only applying to two top universities – a pretty big gamble in the current admissions environment. Brandton longs to escape his small town and to live somewhere he can be “himself”.
Brandton Stokely is rejected from his dream school, Chapman University. He then eagerly awaits a letter from Colorado College, the only other school where he’s applied. Though Brandton wants nothing more than to go to college, he worries constantly about his estranged mother and decides that if she wants him to stay in Mosca, he is willing to give up his dream.
Vasthy Lamadrid is a good student, who dreams of going to college, but her family is poor and her undocumented status limits her financial aid opportunities, which may prevent Vasthy from attending her preferred schools. She is surprised to learn from her guidance counselor that out-of-state schools award private scholarships for which she might be eligible. For the first time in her life, Vasthy considers leaving Arizona.
“Brick” Howze chose to be homeschooled so he could pursue a career in entertainment. Brick is so involved in his work that he elected to be homeschooled instead of “wasting time” in high school and that college is not a necessity. Brick struggles to maintain a balance between school work, his girlfriend, and his career but his decisions to focus on his relationship may ultimately threaten his entrepreneurial dream.
Vasthy Lamadrid struggling with pursuing her dreams of attending an out of state college and fulfilling her parents’ desires to keep her close to home. She discovers that even though she’s a good student with over 600 hours of community service, her scholarship options in Arizona are extremely limited due to her undocumented status. The only college willing to accept her is a brand new school that seems extremely limited academically.
Hanoy Urtarte thought his father was on the road to accepting that he is gay, but when Hanoy tells his father that he may be taking a boy to prom, his dad puts his foot down. While considering the idea of attending a local community college, Hanoy begins to wonder whether he and his father will ever be able to reconcile or if he’ll begin the next phase of his life without his father’s support.
Stephen Boyer is a young, promising filmmaker who attends a private Catholic school. He has won more student film festivals than any other high school student in the country, but when he applies to the top film schools, he has difficulty getting accepted. He’s left wondering whether he should go to college or just pursue a professional career, considering he is beginning to be approached by industry professionals who are considering him for jobs as a screenwriter.
Brandon McCauley is deciding whether to attend the University of Cincinnati or pursue ministry full-time after high school. He decides to ask his principal if he can deliver a graduation speech about Jesus, but knowing that the school has not always been receptive to his religious activities in the past, Brandon worries that he may miss his last opportunity to preach the word of God to his senior class.
Marianna Sann is a motivated student at a magnet school in Philadelphia. When budget cuts start to impact her education, Marianna begins to realize that education may be the only way out of her dangerous South Philly neighborhood. As graduation nears, Marianna begins to wonder whether it is time to extend an olive branch to her mother to whom she hasn’t spoken since her parents’ divorce.
Harold McCoo is the highest-ranking student and Battalion Commander at the Fishburne Military Academy boarding school. Many of Harold's friends will enlist in the military immediately after high school, while Harold must reflect on his concerns for them and his own feelings about war. After five years of being at the top of his game, Harold dreams of leaving Fishburne and pursuing a normal student life at Princeton, but he's under pressure from his peers to attend the Naval Academy or West Point after graduation.
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