Know How, directed by Juan Carlos Pineiro Escoriaza, is a groundbreaking achievement for being a film of a lot of firsts.
It’s the first full-length feature to be written by and star foster youth who actually lived the stories being told. It’s the first musical adaptation about foster care. And it’s the first onscreen presentation that accurately depicts what it’s like to be a ward in child welfare.
While not a documentary, Know How is instead a heart-breaking musical about real-life foster youth who reenact the most painful moments of their lives. We’re there with them when they’re ripped apart from family, sexually abused, getting high with friends, moving into a group home, stealing for survival.
We’re also there for meetings with school officials, a lawyer, therapist, and when a biological family member threatens eviction. When medication is administered, and when suicide is attempted.
We as viewers are there when no one else is around, and we see what happens to these youth behind closed doors in the home, in the courtroom, and inside the corridors of state-funded institutions.
Because it’s a musical, the songs peppered throughout the film offer further access into these character’s lives. These lyrics serve as windows into the souls of foster youth. “Why Me” could be a national, if not universal anthem for abused and neglected children. Each song gives voice to the often unspoken pain that youth feel but somehow cannot relay in their day-to-day meetings with adults.
Know How, a valiant and effective attempt to show the world a collective foster youth perspective, emerged from the efforts of The Possibility Project, a non-profit in New York City. This organization serves teenagers by bringing them together to transform the negativity in their lives into positive action through creative projects.
Instead of using professional screenwriters and actors, the project relies on true stories written and performed by a cast of current and former foster youth, who all give an electrifying performance under the guidance of a supremely talented and award winning director.
The film is a Cinequest Maverick Award nominee and has already won at the Canada International Film Festival and Garden State Film Festival for Know How. Escoriaza, along with lead actress Claribelle Pagan, and the film are now nominated for “best” categories at the upcoming Madrid International Film Festival.
Current and veteran foster youth, along with professionals in this field, will greatly appreciate the raw authenticity and the cold, at-times municipal realities that foster youth face. General audiences will get a crash course in what foster children go through on a daily basis.
Although this is the film director’s second film, Escoriaza is the first person to successfully capture the full spectrum, the essence and underbelly of foster care. Know How is a pioneering event that should be witnessed by anyone who supports foster youth or is interested in learning more about the cause.
Know How will debut this week at the Camera Cinemas 12, 201 South Second Street San Jose, CA 95113. Showtimes are on March 8 at 7pm, March 9 at 6:15 pm and March 11 at 4:15 pm. To purchase tickets, click here.
View the trailer: Know How Movie
Director: Juan Carlos Pineiro Escoriaza
The Cast of Real Foster Youth: Deshawn Brown, Niquana Clark, Michael Kareem Dew, Gabrielle Garcia, Gilbert Howard, Claribelle Pagan, and Ebonee Simpson