Fame High Directed by Scott Hamilton Kennedy Thurs., June 22 at 8:30 p.m. at Discovery HD Theater. Also on Fri., June 22 at 3:30 p.m. at AFI Silver 2.

“I am the most successful young Latin American man in U.S. history,” an index card on Zak’s piano reminds him. He’s a freshman at the Los Angeles County High School for the Arts and a jazz pianist whose father is disappointed if he practices only 16 hours a week. LACHSA is a breeding ground for kids hoping to make it big on the stage—and for all the competition, artistic doubts, and parental pressure one would expect in such a place. There are few surprises as director Scott Hamilton Kennedy follows four students: the jazz pianist, a dancer, an actor, and a harpist. In one stretch, each character faces an existential problem: Will Brittany fail to graduate, invalidating her family’s sacrifices? Does Zak actually like playing the piano? The film shows the grind of life in the arts, not the easy stardom songwriter Brittany eventually realizes is a myth. But except in the case of Grace, a dancer stifled by her tiger-mother Korean parents, who won’t allow her to have a boyfriend, the kids face no great hurdles, and they neither leap to new heights nor flame out. They’re a nice bunch, but aside from their pretty impressive craft, they’re hardly different from normal high school kids.

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