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"The Bad Kids"
U.S. Documentary Competition
Determined teachers fight long odds in "The Bad Kids," a slice-of-life documentary of the struggles in a high school for at-risk youth in California's Mojave Desert. Black Rock High School takes the so-called "bad kids," students who have been truant, are at risk of dropping out, or have had run-ins with the law. Directors Keith Fulton and Lou Pepe train their cameras on the daily routines of the school, with a particular focus on the principal, Vonda Viland known to the students as Miss V who listens to the students' problems and tries to encourage them to succeed. The cameras also venture into the lives of a couple of the students showing families caught in poverty, drugs, early parenthood and other ills. The movie is at its best, though, when Fulton and Pepe apply their verité approach to the school's process.
Sean P. Means
"The Bad Kids" screens again at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival: Saturday, 8:30 a.m., Egyptian Theatre, Park City; Saturday, 9:30 p.m., Rose Wagner Performing Arts Center, Salt Lake City; Tuesday, noon, Sundance Mountain Resort Screening Room; Wednesday, 3 p.m., Library Center Theatre, Park City; Friday, Jan. 29, 9:30 p.m., Redstone Cinema 1, Park City.