Cleveland International Film Festival } April 7 – April 18, 2021 } Playhouse Square

The Lottery


Year: 2010
Country: USA
Run Time: 99 minutes

The Lottery

And the next number is…50. This is the percentage of students in low-income communities who will not graduate from high school by the time they are 18. Pulled from the enlightening documentary THE LOTTERY, this fact reflects the failures of our traditional educational system and sheds a much needed light on America's current achievement gaps directly linked to income level, and consequently, race. Fortunately, some have been lucky enough to find an alternative to this overwhelming dilemma. One answer is charter schools, which are schools that are alternatively funded, often run by non-profit organizations, and continuously delivering higher test scores and improved levels of education in their students. Regrettably, there are more applicants than there are spots. Thus, these schools must employ a lottery system in which each child's destiny is determined by the luck of the draw. Focusing specifically on Harlem, the film shares the stories of four African-American children whose parents have entered them into the lottery for Harlem Success Academy, a particularly esteemed charter school that offers inner-city children a chance at a better life. Will they be given this opportunity, or will they just have to join all of the other children in New York who must try again next year? – M.M.

CIFF34 Screenings

Tower City Cinemas

Saturday, March 27, 2010 at 1:50 PM

Sunday, March 28, 2010 at 7:05 PM

Madeleine Sackler

New York based filmmaker Madeleine Sackler attended Duke University.

"Mechina: A Preparation" (2005), THE LOTTERY (2010)

Madeleine Sackler, Blake Ashman-Kipervaser

Wolfgang Held

Madeleine Sackler

Print Source

This film is presented with the generous support of JOHN, JACKSON, and AMY SINNENBERG on behalf of BREAKTHROUGH CHARTER SCHOOLS.

Community Partner

City Club of Cleveland

Questions? >


Check out our FAQs for answers to common questions about entering the film festival.

Donate >


Your donation helps fulfill our mission to promote artistically and culturally significant film arts through education and exhibition.

Sign up for our email newsletter

  • facebook
  • twitter
  • instagram
  • youtube
  • flickr
  • alexa
  • foursquare



We promise you, it will make a difference!

Give Today