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''The Empty Classroom'' premieres in Switzerland

The film has already been exhibited in Germany, Spain, France and seven Latin American countries 

The collaborative feature film, produced by the IDB, that reflects the high school dropout crisis in Latin America, will fill the movie theaters of European festivals. 

"The Empty Classroom" will host a variety of movie screenings during the month of November at the FILMAR and Pantalla Latina Swiss festivals, where viewers will have the opportunity to explore the reasons why nearly half of high school students never graduate in Latin America. 

"We are trying to innovate on the types of instruments used to accelerate the discussion on public policies. In American and European markets there is a growing relationship based on film and cinema, which are not only created to warn about problems but also to generate public policy solutions, " said Marcelo Cabrol, executive producer of "The Empty Classroom" and External Relations Manager at the IDB. "This has also begun in Latin America and the IDB is a pioneer on the exploration and use of these instruments that place such matters on the public agenda," he added. 

The film was made by 10 talented Latin American directors under the creative direction of Gael García Bernal. The short films included in "The Empty Classroom" are:

Good Intentions
Director: Carlos Gaviria, ColombiaGaviria explores the links between the dropout crisis and violence. His short film Good Intentions tells the story of two young people on the road to recovery after becoming the victims of violence. Good Intentions shows the impact violence can have on future generations.

Director: Eryk Rocha, BrazilRocha examines how to identify students at risk of dropping out of school in Latin America. His film Igor is based on the real life story of a teenager with lots of energy and potential who lacks the motivation to stay in school. This true story reflects the current situation of many students who are at risk of dropping out of school.

Director: Flavia Castro, BrazilFlavia Castro explores the lack of interest in school that is preventing students from graduating. While it is true that socioeconomic barriers still keep some students from completing high school in Latin America, this does not tell the full story. In most countries, the decision whether to stay in school has become the greatest challenge to educating future generations.

Director: Lucrecia Martel, ArgentinaIt is said that education is the great equalizer able to close gaps and open opportunities. But what happens when schools themselves reflect the divisions and discrimination within a community in conflict? In Martel’s short Leagues, the Argentine filmmaker explores the issue of school exclusion in indigenous communities.

Director: Mariana Chenillo, Mexico.Students with disabilities face physical, social, and cultural barriers to accessing education. It is estimated that only 20% to 30% of children and youth with disabilities in Latin America attend school. In her short Hugo, Chenillo’s protagonist is just like any other high school student; he goes to class and studies so that he can graduate. The only difference: he is a deaf student in a hearing world. Hugo is a typical teenager. He just faces not-so-typical challenges to finishing high school.

Written Off
Director: Nicolás Pereda, MexicoFor students who drop out of school, the future can be as uncertain and confusing as snow on television. The immediate costs and challenges might prevent them from seeing the long-term benefits of a quality education. But if the education system is failing, why even bother going to school? Pereda asks if the cost of staying in school is worth it.

Director: Paul Fendrik, ArgentinaFendrik directed Piñalito, a short filmed in Misiones, Argentina about the obstacles to accessing education in rural areas. The protagonist Pedro dreams of escaping the backbreaking work on his family’s tobacco farm. He would like to study but his family wants him to work. Will he end up going to school?

More or less
Director: Pablo Stoll, UruguayStoll asks what kind of future awaits young people who drop out of high school, and what happens when they want to go back to school. In his short, two teenagers are highly motivated to pursue their dreams, but unmotivated to stay in school. They soon discover that education is not an obstacle in the way, but rather the key to success in life. But will it be too late to go back?

See No Evil, Hear No Evil, Speak No Evil
Director: Tatiana Huezo, El SalvadorHuezo investigates how violence affects the school dropout crisis. This film explores the fear that forces many young people living in high-risk areas of the city of San Salvador to abandon their studies. Education can be a powerful tool to prevent violence. The tragic irony is that in some places, even the schools are not safe.

Directors Daniel and Diego VegaThe Vega brothers follow a teenager from Lima who wonders how she will graduate from high school. Are high schools prepared to engage twenty-first century students?

About us

The Inter-American Development Bank is devoted to improving lives. Established in 1959, the IDB is a leading source oflong-term financing for economic, social and institutional development in Latin America and the Caribbean. The IDB also conducts cutting-edge research and provides policy advice, technical assistance and training to public and private sector clients throughout the region.

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