Throughout his career as a documentary filmmaker, Peter Nicks has been fascinated with the complexities of Oakland and the people who live there. His 2012 film The Waiting Room honed in on an overworked emergency room. In 2017, he shifted his focus to the county’s embattled police department with The Force. In his most recent work, Homeroom, the stars are the students of Oakland High School as they confront not just the regular highs and lows of high school, but also pushing to remove police officers from their district, rapid budget cuts, and the beginnings of the COVID-19 pandemic. While there are several moments of joy from the film’s charming cast of characters, Homeroom isn’t afraid to revel in the instances of profound sadness, either. A pivotal scene where two students make the case to remove police officers from campus is one of the most harrowing moments in a documentary this year, elevated by the devastating editing from Rebecca Adorno and Kristina Motwani that forces you to sit in the silence. To watch Homeroom is to be a fly on the wall at a pivotal moment of social change, where several intersections of activism all come to a head. 90 min.

Hulu