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Try Harder!

USA | 2021 | 85 min. | Debbie Lum

October 2, 2021

DocFest

With humor and heart, director Debbie Lum takes us to the reality of the American college application process and the intersection of class, race, and educational opportunity in this portrait of young adults in the most diverse American generation ever as they navigate a quintessential rite of passage and make it their own.

Showtimes

Saturday, October 2, 2021

5:30 PM

VIRTUAL ACCESS

This film will be available virtually October 4–7 on the SIFF Channel.

*Restricted to US audiences.

Buy Virtual Ticket

At Lowell High School, the top public high school in San Francisco, the seniors are stressed out. As they prepare for the emotionally draining college application process, students are keenly aware of the intense competition for the few open spots in their dream colleges. They scrutinize how every element of their application, from their classes to their extracurricular activities to their racial identities, might be read by admission officers. At Lowell—where cool kids are nerds, nearly everyone has an amazing talent, and the majority of the student body is Asian American—the things that usually make a person stand out can feel not good enough, even commonplace. With humor and heart, director Debbie Lum takes us to the reality of the American college application process and the intersection of class, race, and educational opportunity as experienced by high school seniors living through it. Try Harder! is a portrait of young adults in the most diverse American generation ever as they navigate a quintessential rite of passage and make it their own.

  • Director: Debbie Lum
  • Country: USA
  • Year: 2021
  • Running Time: 85 min.
  • Producer: Debbie Lum, Lou Nakasako, Nico Opper
  • Cinematographers: Lou Nakasako, Kathy Huang
  • Editors: Amy Ferraris, Andrew Gersh
  • Music: Diana Salier
  • Website: Official Film Website
  • Filmography: Seeking Asian Female (2012)
  • US Distributor: The Film Collaborative
  • International Sales: Autlook Films