To Be Heard (T/F 2011) by Eddie Martinez, Deborah Shaffer & Amy Sultan

Available from Hulu.

Karina, Anthony and Pearl form the core of a slam poetry group in the Bronx. With much prodding from their radical mentors, the students master the power of language so as to blast out of their limited surroundings. This is a noteworthy portrait of a friendship tripod between three memorable characters whose fate is always up for grabs. A great film full of heart and soul that doesn’t conform to a tidy narrative, To Be Heard is delivered with a high level of craft that’s not overly self-conscious or showy. All of the characters burst with vitality and self-reflection and their verses are always rooted in their experiences. It’s a universal story, all human desire to write our own destiny, and it’s told with a jolting specificity.