If You Build It
Studio H
Review by Ross Anthony

I almost passed on screening this documentary. I'm quite interested in new innovative effective improvements in education, but it seemed to me that a classroom of only 10 kids would simply be unsustainable toward real educational reformation no matter how terrific the program. But, darn-it, the optimistic idealism of the synopsis needled at me until I decided I didn't want to miss taking a look at something terrific. Boy, I'm glad I did take a look. What a wonderful documentary this is! It's splendidly-lovingly crafted like the projects created by the handful of students lucky enough to have snatched up the opportunity to work under two sincerely inspired, dedicated and talented young educators. The documentary captures their trials and tribulations and succeeds in making viewers emotionally invested, even if not all of the recipients of Emily and Matt's hard work take that leap.

I loved the film. I was glued to it heart, head and soul. I'm a huge advocate of excellent teachers, and where there are resources my philosophy is "Give great teachers what they ask for, and then get out of their way." That said, there were a few more topics I would have liked to have seen included: 1) The only arguments presented on behalf of the district were political. While, it's likely those arguments have merit, it's really not fair to ignore any practical non-biased reasons some on the board may have wanted to put their financial resources elsewhere. 2) Despite the title, the film doesn't "swell" with the implied "They will come." 3) I was left wondering if any of the town's people brainstormed ways to support this program. They could have at least provided housing and meals for the teachers (fixed their vehicles, etc.).

Still, it's an "A" all the way around. Beautifully filmed and edited. An "A+" to Matt and Emily -- if they come to your town, embrace them, find a way to allow them to help you build community!

-- Books by Author/Illustrator Ross Anthony --


  • If You Build It. Copyright © 2014.
  • Featuring Matthew Miller and Emily Pilloton. Directed by Patrick Creadon. Produced by Christine O'Malley, Neal Baer

Grade..........................A (3.5/4)


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Copyright © 1998-2016 Ross Anthony, Author - Speaker - Solo World Circumnavigator In addition to reviewing films and interviewing celebs at HollywoodReportCard.com, traveling the world, composing great music, motivational speaking, Mr. Anthony also runs his own publishing company in the Los Angeles area. While traversing the circumference of the planet writing books and shooting documentaries, Mr. Anthony has taught, presented for, worked &/or played with locals in over 30 countries & 100 cities (Nairobi to Nagasaki). He's bungee-jumped from a bridge near Victoria Falls, wrestled with lions in Zimbabwe, crashed a Vespa off a high mountain road in Taiwan, and ridden a dirt bike across the States (Washington State to Washington DC). To get signed books ("Rodney Appleseed" to "Jinshirou") or schedule Ross to speak check out: www.RossAnthony.com or call 1-800-767-7186. Check out his other sites too: Author*Illustrator*Speaker, Motobookothon 2009, M9, Write Triangle, TwT. Go into the world and inspire the people you meet with your love, kindness, and whatever it is you're really good at. Check out books by Ross Anthony. Rand() functions, Pho chicken soup, rollerblading, and frozen yogurt (w/ blueberries) also rock! (Btw, rand is short for random. It can also stand for "Really Awkward Nutty Dinosaurs" -- which is quite rand, isn't it?) Being alive is the miracle. Special thanks to Ken Kocanda, HAL, Jodie Keszek, Don Haderlein, Mom and Pops, my family, R. Foss, and many others by Ross Anthony. Galati-FE also deserves a shout out. And thanks to all of you for your interest and optimism. Enjoy great films, read stirring novels, grow.


Last Modified: Monday, 03-Mar-2014 21:45:24 PST