Screening Tuesday (10/6) – Approaching the Elephant

Approaching Elephant Poster

Come see Approaching the Elephant on Tuesday Oct. 6, from 4:30 – 6:30 in AXINN 232.

In addition to the film, we will welcome director Amanda Rose Wilder, as well as subject of the documentary and alternative educator Alex Khost, to campus for a Q&A after the film.  This is a great opportunity for future filmmakers, educators and thinkers about each of these things to pick the brains of two bold, creative and inspiring individuals. I’m proud as well to bring a woman filmmaker and creator of what is widely regarded as one of the year’s best documentaries to speak about her work and career. 


Approaching the Elephant chronicles year one for Lucy, Jiovanni and Alex at the Teddy McArdle Free School, where all classes are voluntary and rules are determined by vote – adults and children have an equal say. Wilder is there from the beginning to end of the school year, documenting and observing founder Alex Khost and an indelible cast of outspoken young personalities as they form relationships, explore their surroundings and intensely debate rule violations, until it all comes to a head.

The film is fascinating for both its subject and its style. You can view the trailer here

About Amanda Rose Wilder: 

(Director, Cinematographer, Producer) Wilder spent years writing poems, then in the hills of Vermont fell into filmmaking, which led to a B.A. thesis “The Poetic Documentary and the Documentary Poem,” for which she created poetic documentaries and studied the works of poets Marianne Moore, William Carlos Williams, Gary Snyder and Jorie Graham as they relate to the documentary impulse found in poetry. APPROACHING THE ELEPHANT is her first feature. Wilder has shot as second camera alongside Albert Maysles for Maysles Films, Inc. features and commissioned works. She has written articles on filmmaking and transmedia for Filmmaker Magazine, Nonfics, IFP and The Talkhouse. She lives in New York.

About Alex Khost: 

Alexander Khost is a father, educator, painter, and web developer. He has a long-time interest in self-directed learning environments and democratic free schools. Alexander founded the Teddy McArdle Free School and Alamander Summer Camp; earned his MFA with a concentration in self-directed learning environments from Parsons School of Design, The New School University; his BA from Mason Gross School of the Arts, Rutgers University; and is a certified (but recovering) New York public school teacher.

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