Film Image
Whatever It Takes
92 minutes

Whatever It Takes

WHATEVER IT TAKES chronicles the struggles and triumphs of the very first year of the Bronx Center for Science & Mathematics, an innovative public high school in New York City.

At the Bronx Center for Science and Mathematics (BCSM), principal Edward Tom stands outside on the school’s very first day, greeting each arriving student with a handshake and hug. A rookie principal who traded his financially lucrative career as a Saks Fifth Avenue executive for the less glamorous job as a public high school math teacher, Tom is committed to improving the lives of low-income kids of color.

Fourteen-year-old Sharifea is a talented ninth-grade girl with big dreams, but even bigger obstacles. She dreams of attending medical school and becoming a pediatrician, but with her formerly crack-addicted mother now sick with hepatitis, Sharifea is forced to care for her two younger siblings, leaving little time or energy to focus on her schoolwork.

WHATEVER IT TAKES is a deeply emotional story of dedicated teachers and cutting-edge ideas, united in their vision to restore hope to a community.
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"A modern-day classic… If you ever needed proof that real life can seem larger than life, and documentary can be as thrilling and moving as fiction, here's your film..." - Montreal Gazette
“Wonderful, transformative storytelling.” - Sundance Institute for Documentary Film
“An emotional journey…” - NY Daily News
“Amazing, provocative…” -

• Grand Jury Prize, Best Documentary Feature, Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival
• Audience Award, Best Documentary Feature, Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival
• Grand Jury Prize, Best Documentary Feature, San Diego Asian Film Festival
• Grand Jury Prize, Best Documentary Feature, DC Asian Pacific Film Festival
• Grand Jury Prize, Best Documentary Feature, Sandhills Film Festival
• Audience Award, Best Feature, Asian American International Film Festival
• Special Jury Award, Documentary, Ojai International Film Festival
• Big Sky Documentary Film Festival
• San Francisco nternational Asian American Film Festival
• AFI Dallas International Film Festival
• Vancouver Asian Film Festival

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TWN acknowledges that in New York we are on the unceded territory of the Lenni Lenape, Canarsie, Shinecock, and Munsee peoples and challenges the harm that continues to be inflicted upon Indigenous and People of Color communities here and abroad, which is why we all need to be part of the struggle for rights, equality and justice.

TWN is supported in part by the National Endowment for the Arts, New York State Council on the Arts, New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, Color Congress, MOSAIC, New York Community Trust, Peace Development Fund, Humanities NY, Ford Foundation, Hollywood Foreign Press Association, and individual donors.