APPROACHING THE ELEPHANT is a feature-length documentary about The Teddy McArdle Free School, where classes are optional and rules are made by democratic vote. Summerhill, founded 90 years ago by A. S. Neill, was the first free school - now there are more than 200 worldwide. Approaching the Elephant chronicles a free school in the making - spanning two years, from Teddy McArdle's first day when there were no rules or classes, through the changing of the school's director and the expulsion of a student by democratic vote, to the last day of the second year, APPROACHING THE ELEPHANT is an intimate portrait of a small group of people from a range of educational backgrounds, come together to forge a place where children are treated as equals, at liberty to spend their days however they please.
- Alexander Khost
- THE FILM SALES COMPANY
- KINGDOM COUNTY PRODUCTIONS
"Approaching the Elephant" strikes a perfect balance between verite immediacy and reflective abstraction.
Very fine verité debut.
Amanda Wilder is a filmmaker; she seeks out the poetry in documentaries and the documentary in poems. Amanda has made movies about the Estey Organ Company, once one of Vermont's largest employers, panic, dancers (including her mother), Burlington, Vermont's two-week Quadracenntenial spectacle, textile embroiderer Richard Saja, poet Mary Jo Salter, Mayah, a girl home schooled on a farm, Occupy Wall Street, and The Twelve Tribes of Israel. She has shot for a variety of companies, including Maysles Films. APPROACHING THE ELEPHANT will be her first feature.