Oakland High School’s class of 2020 confronts an unprecedented year. Anxiety over test scores and college applications gives way to uncertainty springing from a rapidly developing pandemic. Efforts to eliminate the school district’s police force unfold against the backdrop of growing nationwide demands for systemic change. Emmy Award–winning director/cinematographer Peter Nicks (winner of the Directing Award: U.S. Documentary at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival) captures the resilient and defiant energy of this senior class in his final chapter in a trilogy of films examining the relationship between health care, criminal justice, and education in Oakland.
Homeroom immerses us in the lives of students trying to make the most of their final year in high school amidst a procession of blows. Nicks’s trusted, attentive camera and overall vérité approach trace these emotional journeys in real time, while self-recorded social media videos root us in the students’ authentic perspectives. The result is a revealing, outspoken coming-of-age story that taps into the collective experience of a nation in transition calling out for change.