The newly-renovated James Stewart Film Theater at 185 Nassau Street will reopen this fall with a series of film screenings featuring award-winning guest filmmakers curated by Director of the Program in Visual Arts Martha Friedman. All screenings in the series are free and open to the public.

Documentary filmmaker Alex Shebanow presents a screening of Fail State, an incisive look at the for-profit college industry. The screening will be followed by a panel discussion with director Shebanow, Senior Investigative Reporter for The Chronicle of Higher Education Michael Vasquez, The Century Foundation fellow Yan Cao, and New Jersey Secretary of Higher Education Zakiya Smith Ellis, moderated by Dr. Matthew Reed, Vice President for Learning at Brookdale Community College and writer of the column “Confessions of a Community College Dean” for Inside Higher Ed.

This film screening series is supported through the John Sacret Young ’69 Lecture Series fund. Sacret Young is a 1969 graduate of Princeton and an author, producer, director, and screenwriter. He has been nominated for seven Emmy Awards and seven Writers Guild of America (WGA) Awards, winning two WGA Awards.  He is perhaps best known for co-creating, along with William F. Broyles Jr., China Beach, the critically acclaimed ABC-TV drama series about medics and nurses during the Vietnam War, and for his work on the television drama The West Wing. Young has also received a Golden Globe and a Peabody Award, and his original mini-series about the Gulf War, Thanks of a Grateful Nation, was honored with his fifth Humanitas Prize nomination. He is the author of REMAINS: Non-Viewable,Los Angeles Timesbest seller. He has written extensively about American art, which led to his recent memoir Pieces of Glass – An Artoir about the effect art has had on his writing, his screen work, and his life.


About the Film

Executive produced by news legend Dan Rather, Fail State investigates the dark side of American higher education, chronicling the decades of policy decisions in Washington, D.C. that have given rise to a powerful and highly-predatory for-profit college industry. With echoes of the subprime mortgage crisis, the film lays bare how for-profit colleges exploit millions of low-income and minority students, leaving them with worthless degrees and drowning in student loan debt. Director Alexander Shebanow traces the rise, fall, and resurgence of the for-profit college industry, revealing its Wall Street backing and the lawmakers enabling widespread fraud and abuse in American higher education.



Poster | Press release

‘Fail State’ Trailer: Dan Rather-Exec Produced Doc Exposes For-Profit Colleges | The Hollywood Reporter, Oct. 4, 2018

Review: Documentary ‘Fail State’ takes on predatory for-profit universities | LA Times, Oct. 18, 2018

Fail State Review | LA Weekly, Oct. 2018

“Discussing For-Profits at Princeton” by Matthew Reed | Inside Higher Ed, Nov. 9, 2018


The James Stewart Film Theater is located on the first floor at 185 Nassau Street in Princeton.

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Presented By

  • Program in Visual Arts