In other cases, we do the opposite...we start with the big picture and then cut to the personal story. For example, we have a scene in which we discuss how teacher tenure is making it harder for schools to improve the quality of their faculty and how teachers' unions are standing in the way of reform. And then we cut to Daisy, talking in her bright-eyed, idealistic way about her aspiration to someday be a doctor, and you suddenly understand not only how dysfunctional the system is but also how it affects these real-life kids whom you've come to care so much about.
As film makers, we're working both the brain and the heart. And this system of having two very different movies colliding in a single film feels to me like a powerful way to achieve that.
Ultimately, of course, these two worlds come together at the charter-school lottery, which is almost the final scene of the movie. We follow a kid showing up at the gymnasium with his grandmother to see his educational future determined by the bounce of a ball in a cage. It's the ultimate, surrealistic expression of the folly of the adults...that we allow a child's future to be a matter of sheer chance. And in that lottery sequence we see how the folly of the adults and the heartbreak of the kids comes together in this very painful way.
It's not an effect I planned in advance...but it's there, and to me, when I watch it, it's devastating...another example of the power of film ...o help you see things that might otherwise be invisible.