Sponsored Project

Up for Debate

Director(s):
Judy Lieff
Producer(s):
Judy Lieff

N.Y.C. teens tuned into political and social issues model hope as they debate hot-button topics inside the largest urban debate league in the U.S. - The New York City Urban Debate League (NYCUDL).

From thoroughly researching their arguments and learning to flip from one diametrically opposed point of view to another, these talented teens gradually build the acumen to advance and compete. They argue with fire and passion, but they are always civil. They are always listening and they are always respectful because that is how they will win.

As we see these debaters compete, we also explore their personal lives, their challenges, and their goals. Many of these students embody the self-same controversial issues they have to debate—immigration, social inequity, and the criminal justice system. And as we watch them, the parallels to their debates are inescapable and revelatory. The episodes encompass themes of friendship, economic power, and rebelliousness. It is through these passionate young debaters that we can find hope for the next generation of discourse.