Chalk

What do you do when you're overworked and underpaid? Make a mockumentary, of course

Mike Akel and Chris Mass's "mockumentary" about a year in the life of high school teachers, Chalk, can be described in one word - sweet. Former teachers themselves, Akel and Mass co-wrote and directed their little indie film out of Austin for the astonishingly low price of $10,000, using former teachers and students to play themselves, or reasonable facsimiles. Forget the inspirational syrup of To Sir, with Love, the psychological baggage of Up the Down Staircase or even the anarchic goofiness of Grease; this little movie from 2007, which unfortunately never caught on, is charming and truthful in a loopy, sad-sack sort of way as it makes the profession seem both hopeless and inspiring. As Abel said in an interview when the film premiered in Austin, "Teaching in public school is like flipping through cable TV. One day you’re watching The Boring Network, then five minutes later, you change the channel and you're watching Cops." Director Akel will be at the screening to answer questions. 5 p.m. Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, 1001 Bissonnet. For information, call 713-639-7515 or visit www.mfah.org/films. $6 to $7.
Sun., Oct. 11, 5 p.m., 2009

 
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