LARRY FROM GARY (Fall 2019)
Director / Producer
A short documentary chronicling the trials and triumphs of celebrated dance instructor Larry Brewer and his talented student performers at a nationally recognized arts school in Gary, Indiana. Highlighting Larry’s 35-year career as a teacher, the film will feature interviews with and performances by the community of students he has motivated over the years – including those who went on to study at The Juilliard School and dance with The Alvin Ailey Company.
Production began in the spring of 2017 during the rigorous and compelling audition process at Larry’s high school. Months later, the state of Indiana unexpectedly and for the first time in its history took over the management of the Gary School Corporation and ultimately shut down the high school we were filming in because of the extreme financial crisis the district faced - forcing our protagonist into an early retirement.
Although this film will humanize the challenges facing arts education, especially in underprivileged cities like Gary, by focusing on a person who has devoted his life to teaching and must leave his position because of the financial crisis, Larry from Gary will not be another sad story about the dissolution and disenfranchisement of an at-risk community of color. No matter how painful and true those stories are, this film will instead highlight the ways in which art and education allow people to grow and thrive during difficult circumstances.