Higher Education

Institute History

  • 1993 January Screenwriters Lab

Description

Like many teenagers, Max Shane believes that his family is crazy. The only difference is that he fears his family's special brand of lunacy is due to a curse instead of the generation gap, a curse that ticks in when he is eighteen.

Driven by a cryptic book The Hollow Child: Proverbs for Ages 17-21, Max sets forth on a journey to flee his family and arrive at a place where everyone and everything will make sense. A place where logic and reason reign supreme. A place where he can begin to understand a family that is so afraid of the outside world they would rather burn in their house than open the door to escape.

Unfortunately, Max has chosen Monroe College to be that place.
Higher Education follows Max's journey from the going away party his family throws him on the eve of his eighteenth birthday to his arrival to Monroe College, Ohio, and, more importantly, his encounter with Sir John Robbins, Professor of Philosophy and author of The Hollow Child.

At the party, Mom springs a few surprises on Max. He learns his father, who lives several hours out of the way and refers to Max as "Ben" has his tuition money. Max also learns that Ellen, the daughter of one of Mom's coworkers will be sharing the ride as well. Lastly, he finds out that he must arrive at Monroe by six o'clock to secure his enrollment.

Max sets off for Ohio with little sleep and less driving experience. He arrives to pick up Ellen, only to realize that her family could rival his own in strangeness and illogic. Even though they seem to have a lot in common, Ellen and Max don't hit it off right away. Maybe it's because of the loop tape of Scottish folk songs Ellen insists on listening to, or maybe it's the fact that Max is losing a little more of his mind with every mile.

The trip takes Max all over Pennsylvania where he loses everything from his respect for his Dad, to his passenger Ellen. But still, Max believes, if he can just get to college in time to enroll, if he can just get to Sir John in time to break the curse, his life will finally make sense and his journey will have been well worth it.
Higher Education, a comedic cross-country odyssey, takes you on an unforgettable journey with Max on the eve of his 18th birthday.

Credits

As you use our Online Archives, please understand that the information presented from Festivals, Labs, and other activities is taken directly from official publications from each year. While this information is limited and doesn't necessarily represent the full list of participants (e.g. actors and crew), it is the list given to us by the main film/play/project contact at the time, based on the space restrictions of our publications. Each entry in the Online Archives is meant as a historical record of a particular film, play, or project at the time of its involvement with Sundance Institute. For this reason, we can only amend an entry if a name is misspelled, or if the entry does not correctly reflect the original publication. If you have questions or comments, please email archives@sundance.org