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A retired teacher embarks on a mission to find out what became of a beloved student

As a teacher for mostly disadvantaged teens in Harlem, Zee Pacifici coaxed poetry from her students in the form of rap lyrics. Now retired at age 86, she takes comfort in mementos from her time in education, including photos from her classroom and books of her students’ writings. The Guatemala-born, US-based filmmaker Vivian Rivas’s short film Ebb Tide follows Zee as she attempts to track down one of her favourite students, Melvin Coleman – an enthusiastic pupil, who, despite struggling to read, possessed a knack for words and music. Refreshingly earnest in story and in form, the film summons the persistent trickle of time as it captures Zee and Melvin’s first encounter in decades.

Director: Vivian Rivas

Producer: Magali Capi

3 November 2020

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