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APPROACHING THE ELEPHANT is on The New Yorker‘s list of the best films of 2015

“Wilder’s film is a remarkable…sketch of how people — both young and old — interact with and negotiate a nominally “free” environment, making it both a sharp character study as well a fascinating reflection on philosophies of freedom and control.” Ivan ČereČina reviews APPROACHING THE ELEPHANT for 4:3.

“Wilder’s film is a remarkable…sketch of how people — both young and old — interact with and negotiate a nominally ‘free’ environment, making it both a sharp character study as well a fascinating reflection on philosophies of freedom and control…the film is spent entirely on the school campus in extreme proximity to the action, with a mixture of handheld camera work that tracks gestures as well as extreme close-ups reminiscent of Cassavetes’ Faces and Husbands.” Ivan Čerečina reviews APPROACHING THE ELEPHANT for 4:3.

Nonfics.com reviews APPROACHING THE ELEPHANT.

“Something of a revelation…This isn’t the sort of politically minded essay film that we might expect, given the current crisis in the American education system. Wilder’s style has more in common with Frederick Wiseman‘s High School than it does Waiting for Superman. Its raw materials are conversation and expression rather than expert testimony or facts and figures…Unlike Wiseman’s epic landscapes of entire institutions, she uses observational methods to shepherd the audience through a chronicle of increasingly unique events.” Four out of five stars from Nonfics.com.

Donna Kozloski reviews APPROACHING THE ELEPHANT.

Donna Kozloski reviews APPROACHING THE ELEPHANT. “Filmmaker Amanda Rose Wilder immerses herself in this unsteady environment, her observational approach favoring poeticism to pure representation…The whole film mirrors the textured rawness of childhood.”

Village Voice’s Calum Marsh makes APPROACHING THE ELEPHANT a Critic’s Pick. “This candid glimpse plays as exhilarating drama.”

The Dissolve’s Scott Tobias gives APPROACHING THE ELEPHANT 4 out of 5 stars.

The Dissolve’s Scott Tobias gives APPROACHING THE ELEPHANT 4 out of 5 stars. “Much of the observational brilliance of Approaching The Elephant comes from how closely form relates to content: Out of chaos comes order, both at Teddy McArdle and in the film, which brings the personalities and conflicts into sharper focus as it goes along. What follows is a psychodrama of often-startling intensity.”

Director Amanda Rose Wilder talks to Evan Louison for 1985.

Director Amanda Rose Wilder talks with Evan Louison for 1985artists. “I realized the free school model would allow me to film children as real people, the grittiness and sharp lights of childhood, their rhythms, which I’d seen captured best in movies about kids outside of school environments…”