At Sundance, Pandemic Dramas Unfold on Screen and Off

Peter Nicks had for months been documenting the students of Oakland High School, in California, when the pandemic hit.

“It’s in the Bay,” says one student of the virus as he and others mill together in a classroom, excitedly contemplating the cancellation of school.

Soon, the principal is heard over the loudspeaker — an announcement that would signal not just the scuttling of prom and graduation ceremonies, but, potentially, Nicks’ film. After chronicling other Oakland institutions, Nicks had set out to document a year in the life of the multicultural teenagers of Oakland. “Something like ‘The Breakfast Club’ with kids of color,” he says.

But how do

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