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The Lottery (2010 film)

The Lottery
The Lottery Title Artwork.JPG
Official artwork
Directed by Madeleine Sackler
Produced by Blake Ashman
Todd Bartels
Erin Lanuti
James Lawler
Madeleine Sackler
Music by Tunde Adebimpe
Gerard Smith
Cinematography Wolfgang Held
Edited by Madeleine Sackler
Distributed by Variance Films
Release date
  • March 27, 2010 (2010-03-27) (Cleveland)
  • May 7, 2010 (2010-05-07) (United States)
Running time
81 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Box office $54,543

The Lottery is a 2010 documentary film about the controversy surrounding public and charter schools in the United States, directed by Madeleine Sackler. The film was produced by Blake Ashman-Kipervaser, James Lawler, and Madeleine Sackler. The cinematographer was Wolfgang Held (Brüno, Metallica: Some Kind of Monster, Children Underground).

The film follows four families from Harlem and the Bronx in the months leading up to the lottery for one of the Success Academy Charter Schools (then known as Harlem Success Academy), one of the most successful charter schools in New York City. The film explores the debate surrounding the education reform movement. The film highlights the opposition from the teachers' unions to charter schools (as they are usually not unionized), and the contest between charter and public schools for building space.

Sackler, a 27-year-old graduate of Duke University, said she was inspired to make the film by news footage of a charter-school lottery at the Harlem Armory in 2008. This is her first film project.

It was shown at the Tribeca Film Festival in April 2010, as part of the "Tribeca Talks" panel.

The Lottery was released in cinemas on 7 May 2010, and on DVD on 30 May 2010.

Frank Scheck of the Hollywood Reporter noted that the film is "hardly objective in its stance", but said that it would be "of vital interest to anyone interested in the topic." Errol Louis in the New York Daily News compared it to An Inconvenient Truth, arguing that it "will create and energize charter supporters by the thousands."

  • March 27, 2010 (2010-03-27) (Cleveland)
  • May 7, 2010 (2010-05-07) (United States)


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