2022, 86 min
When city planners impose unwanted changes, one person can easily feel helpless - but a group of people with a common cause just might find enough collective strength to fight the power. LET THE LITTLE LIGHT SHINE tells the story of the parents, students, administrators and students of Chicago’s National Teachers Academy, a high-performing public elementary school in an African-American neighborhood, who join forces in an effort to do just that. When the powers that be announce plans to phase out NTA’s current K-8 curriculum and transform it into a high school drawing students from other schools, the community senses gentrification at work and gets organized. Kevin Shaw’s riveting documentary captures the struggle to save NTA through all its highs and lows - introducing us to charismatic young leaders taking a stand to protect their academic futures.
The roar of the unheard DarkSkyLady
Delivers a larger message about justice, activism, community, racism, and classism
A Powerfully Emotional Battle for Survival Julian Roman, Movieweb
The historic climax will leave you in tears.
Paula M. Levine, Woman Around Town
Gives us rare insight into a Black Chicago rarely seen, but ready to fight for what is rightly theirs
Avi Offer, NYC Movie Guru
Even a small light in a dark tunnel can make a big difference
Let the Little Light Shine” Tackles Primary Education, Discrimination Brent Simon, Golden Globes Awards
A stirring portrait of serious, focused civic engagement from a group that too often is ignored
‘It should have been celebrated’: the fight to save a thriving Black school Adrian Horton, The Guardian
the film’s final scene is one of the most genuinely suspenseful and moving that I’ve seen in a while.
Public school doc “Let the Little Light Shine” excels Mary McNamara, Los Angeles Times
Little Light” regularly moved members of the audience to groans, gasps, cheers, tears and, finally, a standing ovation
Michael Phillips, Chicago Tribune
A fiercely concentrated call to action
Black Chicago Students Fight for Their School and Their Futures Ronda Racha Penrice, The Wrap
That so many people from different socio-economic backgrounds, races, ages, occupations, and more come together to do what’s right is just as inspiring as any victory they might accomplish
Dmitry Samarov, Chicago Reader
It would have been easy to cast heroes and villains in black and white, but Shaw’s film shows the whole spectrum.
Matt Fagerholm, RogerEbert.com
Shaw’s film provides an indelible reminder of cinema’s enduring power as a communal experience
‘Let the Little Light Shine,’ the Chicago documentary about race, education, politics and dissent, electrifies True/False Film Fest Michael Phillips, Chicago Tribune
Kevin Shaw’s film delivered the visceral impact of all six “Rocky” movies and a couple of “Creed” films put together
An exhilarating new film about a Chicago community willing to fight City Hall to save a neighborhood public school