Cleveland International Film Festival } March 22 – April 1, 2023 } Playhouse Square

Fail State

Year: 2017
Country: United States
Language: English
Run Time: 94 minutes

Fail State
Fail State
Fail State
Fail State
Fail State

Produced by news icon Dan Rather, FAIL STATE examines the rise of for-profit colleges in America and how politicians and shady businessmen tarnished our higher education system. It also looks at the mountain of student debt that makes it hard for graduates to succeed in their post-college lives. Interviews with former students from predatory institutions such as DeVry, Westwood, Kaplan, and the now-defunct ITT discuss their far from stellar experiences. It’s truly heartbreaking to hear how their lives were negatively affected by these college scams. The documentary provides a timeline of government involvement in higher education, dating back to the 1970s. A series of misguided—or more appropriately, unscrupulous—regulations and legislation play a huge role in where we’ve ended up. Looking towards the future, director Alexander Shebanow spotlights innovative solutions, such as Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam’s proposal to make community colleges free for everyone. If we want to secure a future for the next generation, we must change the way colleges are run. This realization is at the forefront of FAIL STATE. Consider it your crash course on the college-cost calamity. —E.F.

CIFF42 Screenings

Thursday, April 05, 2018 at 2:05 PM

Saturday, April 07, 2018 at 4:10 PM

Sunday, April 08, 2018 at 11:10 AM

Greg Gund Memorial Standing Up Competition


Alexander Shebanow

Alexander Shebanow is a director, producer, and writer who started his career making documentaries about nonprofit organizations around the San Francisco Bay Area. Shebanow attended Foothill Community College before finishing his studies at the University of Southern California.


Dan Rather, Alexander Shebanow, Julia Glausi, Terrence Crawford, Tyler Comes, Adam Bolt, Alan Oxman

Alexander Shebanow, Regina Sobel, Nicholas Adams

Joel Kingsbury, Michael Swaigen, Oren Soffer, Alexander Shebanow, Alex Hufschmid

Regina Sobel

Film Contact
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