In a world where most documentarians are out to expose corruption in the system, point out the unhealthiness of our modern lifestyles, or wage a personal war against a public figure, it is nice to see a filmmaker like Mary Mazzio who’s documentary TEN9EIGHT instead offers hope, shows that the American spirit is alive in today’s youth, and giving those who watch it an opportunity to see what the faces of the nation’s next potential CEO’s look like.
This film follows several students from lower-income areas all around the country and from all different backgrounds in a business plan competition. This competition, run by the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship, awards the winner ten thousand dollars to help develop their product or service. This kind of money could help make or break the dreams of these kids. Or could it?
One of the huge selling factors of this documentary are the people profiled in it. Mary doesn’t allow her subjects to wallow in the struggles of their past, but instead celebrates those struggles and growing pains. She shows that these kids would not be who they are today if it weren’t for the difficult lifestyles in which they were brought up, whether they be financially or culturally. All of her subjects and their families are treated equally and with respect. One of the hallmarks of this doc that you generally don’t get with other films is that there is no ulterior motive behind Mary’s piece. She is simple using the eye of the camera to showcase what these kids are doing, and not making a religious, political, or socio-economical statement about them. Rather than get into who these students are individually here, I would rather save the treat of the introduction to them and their business ideas for when you see the film. And you should definitely see this film!
The film travels with the kids through all the elimination rounds of the contest and even when some of the kids lost they took it in stride, some with tears, others without, but all with a hopeful air that this isn’t the last stop in their quests to take their businesses to the next level.
For more information on this film, including how you can see it, go to: www.1098.com
FILM SYNOPSIS - A documentary on inner city teens from Harlem to Compton and all points in between, as they compete in an annual business plan competition run by the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE).