PODCAST| Matt Micucci interviews Alexander Kleider, director of the film Berlin Rebel High School.
To listen to the interview, click on the ► icon on the right, just above the picture
An interview with Alexander Kleider, director of Berlin Rebel High School, screened at the 20th One World International Human Rights Documentary Film Festival in Prague, Czech Republic. The film talks about a very unusual but inspiring high school establishment for young people who never finished high school, and presents and alternative model of education countering the hostile ones of German state schools. One way in which it does this is by distancing the concept of learning from that of pain, or of learning as a painful experience. “In state schools,” Kleider explains, “we don’t learn in a positive way. Learning is always connected to marks and results and that stresses the students.” The stress and competitiveness of the situation impact the students, and the impact extends to such further problems associated with school as bullying. Berlin Rebel High School also follows lives of the students and teachers and documents the development of a new way of learning that is part of the delight of the documentary. Kleider himself often shot unaware of what would be developed next, an intense process for which he suffered through “many sleepless nights.” Nonetheless, the warmth of the school community extended to the filmmaking process and, in any case, as he tells us in this interview, “I could never make a documentary about people who don’t want to be filmed.”
Berlin Rebel High School: This high school has no headmaster and no grades. The teachers are paid by the students, who set the curriculum and manage the day-to-day running of the school. Hanil, Lena, and Alex never finished high school. Although they’re now over 20, they decide it’s time for a change. They enroll in an unconventional school, the only one of its kind in Germany. In the absence of the usual school hierarchy and classroom pressures, the new students are initially enthusiastic, especially about the community life at this peculiar educational institution. But at the end of the day, they have to pass the same final exam as in all other German schools. And they only have two years to prepare. Will they succeed?