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The Lottery (2010) More at IMDbPro »

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The Lottery -- For four Harlem children winning the lottery means access to a top education and a future. Losing means being trapped in some of the worst schools in the country.
The Lottery -- Four children enter a high-stakes lottery. If they win, they can attend one of the best schools in New York. A look at the crisis in public education, The Lottery makes the case than any child can succeed.
The Lottery -- The Lottery: "Geoffrey Canada" Clip
The Lottery -- The Lottery: "Classroom" Clip
The Lottery -- The Lottery: "Space Hearing" Clip


User Rating:
7.0/10   514 votes »
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Release Date:
7 May 2010 (USA) See more »
You could win an education
Four children enter a high-stakes lottery. If they win, they can attend one of the best schools in New York. A look at the crisis in public education, The Lottery makes the case than any child can succeed. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
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(33 articles)
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User Reviews:
A heart-wrenching look at a flawed system See more (5 total) »



Cory Booker ... Himself

Geoffrey Canada ... Himself
Candice Fryer ... Herself
Gregory Goodwine Jr. ... Himself - Student
Gregory Goodwine Sr. ... Himself - Father
Laurie Goodwine ... Herself - Mother
Betsy Gotbaum ... Herself - NYC Elected Public Advocate
Meredith Gotlin ... Herself - Principal
Ameenah Horne ... Herself - Student
Nadiyah Horne ... Herself - Mother
Joel Klein ... Himself
Jim Manly ... Himself

Stephen Morrissey ... Supporting (as Wordsley)
Eva Moskowitz ... Herself
Eric Roachford Jr. ... Himself - Student
Eric Roachford Sr. ... Himself - Father
Nathanael Roachford ... Himself - Brother
Shawna Roachford ... Herself - Mother

Charlie Rose ... Himself - Journalist (archive footage)
Susan Taylor ... Herself
Dacia Toll ... Herself
Paul Tough ... Himself - Author and Journalist
Randi Weingarten ... Herself - UFT-NYC President (archive footage)
Christian Yoanson ... Himself - Student
Emil Yoanson ... Himself - Father

Directed by
Madeleine Sackler 
Produced by
Blake Ashman .... producer
Todd Bartels .... associate producer
Erin Lanuti .... co-producer
James Lawler .... producer
Madeleine Sackler .... producer
Ben Schellpfeffer .... field producer
Original Music by
Tunde Adebimpe 
Gerard Smith 
Cinematography by
Wolfgang Held 
Film Editing by
Madeleine Sackler 
Sound Department
Bryan Dembinski .... additional sound mixer
Sebastian Henshaw .... sound designer
Ryan M. Price .... sound re-recording mixer
Ryan M. Price .... supervising sound editor
Mike Silvestri .... additional sound mixer
Matthew Sutton .... sound recordist
Camera and Electrical Department
Daniel Carter .... additional cinematographer
Daniel Carter .... assistant camera
Wayne De la Roche .... additional cinematography
Alan Jacobsen .... additional cinematography
Laela Kilbourn .... additional cinematography
Martina Radwan .... additional cinematography
Emily Wirth .... assistant camera
Editorial Department
Tom Poole .... colorist
Ben Schellpfeffer .... assistant editor
David Zieff .... editorial consultant
Other crew
Claire Bellmont .... production assistant
André Des Rochers .... legal services provided by
Scott Friedman .... production assistant
Evan Krauss .... legal services provided by

Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

81 min


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9 out of 12 people found the following review useful.
A heart-wrenching look at a flawed system, 24 December 2010
Author: Anthony Pittore III (Shattered_Wake) from Los Angeles, CA

As a child of middle-class suburbs, I was lucky enough to have access to a high-level public education that served me well and helped me successfully graduate on time and send me on my way to college. When I moved out of the suburbs and into the city, I began to realize just how fortunate I was. Every day, the newspapers would shoot statistics about failure rates, budget constraints, teacher strikes, etc. In a nation such as this, the failure of public schools not only affect how our children go through their youth. It affects what happens after, and this affects all of us.

'The Lottery,' a documentary by Madeleine Sackler, faces this problem head on by showing the story of four young children and their families as they attempt to gain access into one of the few successful public schools in Harlem, NY. The school, known as Harlem Success, is a public charter school that, due to insufficient funding, can only afford to accept small numbers of children at any given time. Therefore, entrance into the school is done through a 'lottery,' in which thousands of children are entered, but only a small portion are given enrollment.

Ms. Sackler, as the documentarian behind this story, does a fantastic job of handling both sides of the situation. She shows the struggle, the hardships, and the heartbreak that goes along with being a parent of a child forced to attend inferior school systems. She also shows the other side of the story, which (for some reason) would prefer there to be no public charter schools and only the degrading current schools. While the emotional look of the film does get rather heavy handed, it is appropriate due to the heart-wrenching subject matter. To know that only a small amount of this desperate children will be able to receive a high quality education is a truly depressing notion. It's a system that must be changed, must be fixed, and quickly. If not, it's going to just continue to get worse, sending our society further into a downward spiral.

Final Verdict: 8/10.


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