"A moving documentary following four born-frees
shows how Matric is seen as their ticket out of poverty." ...see
—Drum Magazine, July 10, 2008
"A new film looks at how poverty-stricken
kids see Grade 12 as the key to their dreams." ...see
—The Sunday Times, May 25, 2008
"A film that followed four Grade 12 pupils
through their final year has led to an outcry that South Africa's education
system is in crisis and that something drastic needs to be done to save it…"
—The Star, May 23, 2008
"South Africa‘s teachers and teachers‘
unions are behind the low matric pass rate and the dysfunction of township
schools, Witwatersrand University education expert Prof Jonathan Jansen said
yesterday. He was speaking during a discussion among educators after the showing
in Johannesburg of a documentary film by Molly Blank, entitled Testing Hope…"
—The Herald, Port Elizabeth, May 23, 2008
"[Molly Blank] listened to them as they talked
of becoming 'someone' in life and of why they deserved a bite at the future.
And what she has brought to the...screen now is this latest struggle of South
Africa's youth." ...see
—The Johannesburg Star, March 10, 2007
"In a brilliant new documentary...an American
traces the lives, hopes and aspirations... of black teenagers during...their
matric year.It is a heartbreaking story, and nobody who watches this hour
long film will ever again interpret the matric results with the unrestrained
exuberance to which we are treated every year." ...see
—The Sunday Independent, December 31, 2006
REVIEWS & COMMENTS
"I cannot recall in many, many
years a South African documentary film that has had more generative power.
Testing Hope has touched a raw nerve
in our post-1994 democracy -- that despite all the busyness of educational
reform and policymaking, most township schools remain more or less in the
same material position as under apartheid.
What drives many to action upon seeing
this film is that we realize, in a very vivid way, how high the stakes really
are for poor students and the dramatic consequences of failure for individuals,
families and ultimately society as a whole. This movie is activism in its
—Jonathan Jansen, immediate past Dean of Education,
University of Pretoria
"Testing Hope is a compelling
documentary that illuminates the centrality of assessment and belief in meritocracy
in South African high schools today.This is a must-see film for American audiences
who view education as a way to change inequality, and for those who hold an
unquestioning view of the authority of testing.
Director Molly Blank powerfully
tells us of the lives of four students and the current conditions of their
schools, placing student achievement in light of the country's historical
experience with apartheid, against the backdrop of the wide-spread public
belief that education can and will bring about social change.
Testing Hope offers an honest and
sincere portrayal of the persistent inequality in under-resourced township
schools in contrast with formerly white "model C" schools.Yet, the
film is striking not only in its contrasts, but in its questioning of the
national embrace of this high stakes assessment."
Ann Spreen, Assistant Professor, University of Virginia
"My students were mesmerized.
This is a must see documentary for students who seek to understand the cultural
and educational issues that confront South Africans as they grapple with post-apartheid
Mathis, Social Studies Resource Teacher,
Whitman High School, Bethesda, MD
"By showing the truth as it
is, you have reached the whole South Africa. The most important thing is that
your film is helping us as Departmental Officials to reconsider our support
and assistance to schools, to find new ways and strategies to develop educators
and to look into the poverty of our communities…. Thank you so much,
you will never be able to realize and understand how this film has brought
diverse cultures in the Department of Education closer."
Esterhuizen, Northern Cape Department of Education, South Africa