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Still Waters

Peter Gordon
Ann Lalic

A remarkable one-room school in Bushwick, Brooklyn NYC is facing a tough year. It’s the run up to the US presidential election and anti-Latino rhetoric is being ramped up - an extra source of tension for a hard-pressed Hispanic community already threatened by gentrification, rising rents and eviction.

The school, Still Waters In A Storm, is the creation of Yale grad Stephen Haff, a passionate critic of mainstream education which he feels stigmatises the already disadvantaged. He believes passionately in the joy of learning without tests and the innate creativity of children and insists that the school is free to attend. It survives precariously on the thinnest of shoestrings.

When regular school finishes, Still Waters starts working. Stephen and his group of thirty or forty children explore, with the help of illustrious guest writers like Zadie Smith and Booker Prizewinner Peter Carey, the power of storytelling, creativity and community. And along the way they discuss Donald Trump and gentrification with humour and passion.

Filmed over a year STILL WATERS follows this compelling man, his philosophy, the spirit of the children who attend and the dreams and fears of the immigrant Hispanic community they belong to.