We Rule the School
October 2015, São Paulo – 27 years after Brazilians gained the right to universal free public education, São Paulo governor Geraldo Alckmin (PSDB party) announced plans to close 94 public schools. Students from all over the growing metropolitan area of 22 million communicated with each other and occupied 200 schools. Rotating groups of 50-100 students at a time began to sleep in each school, dividing tasks like cooking and cleaning and holding their own classes. They also held a series of simultaneous street protests closing off strategic intersections during rush hour and leaving before the 30 minute mark which allows military police shock troops to intervene. November came and went the protests grew. With popularity levels dropping to a historic low, Governor Alckmin fired his education minister and announced he was suspending the restructuring. The students didn’t believe him. Why should they believe a guy who told them that they didn’t have enough money for toilet paper in the schools last year while opening a bunch of new state of the art prisons and dropping hundreds of millions of dollars on construction of a monorail that only has two stations? On December 4 a child welfare court judge declared the planned restructuring illegal. On December 5, Alckmin put his promise into writing and the restructuring was officially canceled for 2016.
We Rule the School is a short documentary that I made with Daniel Hunt about the December, 2015 school occupations and protests- an issue which got almost no coverage in the English language press. This was not intended to be a traditional news report. It is a statement of solidarity with the students and an attempt to inspire others around the world to stand up for their rights.
Neither of us are professional cameramen but Daniel Hunt is one of the greatest sound engineers to ever come out of Liverpool. Coming off of his recent production of the new Lush album, he mixed the sound with songs by São Paulo post punk/New Wave legends Agentss and Mercenárias and reworked his Ladytron composition, “Ghost” for the score.
– Brian Mier