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IDB releases short film on disability and education

Excerpt from The Empty Classroomwill be available online for free

The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) will release Hugo, a short film on educational opportunities for the disabled, on March 15. Hugo, directed by the Mexican filmmaker Mariana Chenillo, describes the story of a young man struggling to finish high school. The protagonist is like any other high school student; he goes to class every day and tries to master the subjects required for graduation. The only difference is that he is a deaf student in a hearing world, facing not-so-typical challenges day-in and day-out.

Hugo is part of the feature film The Empty Classroom, produced by the Inter-American Development Bank that explores the school dropout situation in Latin America. The Empty Classroom has been released in 21 countries worldwide.

“This is the first time that an international organization has produced a global distribution feature film to place a topic, education, on the public agenda. Our goal is to support the improvement of educational quality in Latin America by contributing to the public debate. By showing The Empty Classroom in 25 cities, we have generated an intense discussion on an often-overlooked subject. Now, the next step is the public release of Hugo.” said Marcelo Cabrol, Manager of the IDB's Office of External Relations.

It is estimated that only 20 to 30 percent of children and youth with disabilities in Latin America attend school due to physical, social and cultural barriers. In Hugo, Chenillo portrays the obstacles in education faced by young people with disabilities.

"Educating the next generation is the most important investment any country can make for its future. There is no future for a region where almost half of the population does not complete secondary education. It is our collective responsibility to guarantee the equal access of our young people to quality education. The need to act is urgent," says Chenillo.

About The Empty Classroom

The feature film was directed by 10 Latin American directors under the creative direction of Gael García Bernal, thanks to the support of the Inter-American Development Bank and the Korean Poverty Reduction Fund. The Empty Classroom received the UNICEF award for best film about children in 2016. This innovative collaboration seeks to raise global awareness on educational challenges in the region through the stories of young people who exemplify the region’s high school dropout crisis.

About the IDB

The Inter-American Development Bank's mission is to improve lives. Founded in 1959, the IDB is one of the main sources of long-term financing for the economic, social and institutional development of Latin America and the Caribbean. The IDB also conducts state-of-the-art research projects and provides policy advice, technical assistance and training to public and private clients throughout the region.


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