Alternative Math is a short film from IdeaMan Studios that sees a well-meaning maths teacher come under fire when she fails a young boy who gives some wrong answers on a test. What follows is a debate over what is 2+2, which grows from a hilarious argument with some bigoted parents to a nation-wide scandal resulting in the teachers losing her job.
In our heated political climate, it’s hard to agree on something as simple as what equals two plus two. Dallas-based filmmaker David Maddox explores this idea quite literally in his film, Alternative Math, which just passed six million views on YouTube.
The short film, directed by Maddox and co-written by himself and Malcolm Morrison, follows elementary teacher Mrs. Wells, played by Allyn Carrell, as she navigates a growing controversy about a student’s indisputably wrong answer. The film runs about 8 minutes, so wait for your boss to take his or her morning nap and give it a watch (the language is NSFW). The satirical deconstruction of fact-spinning is a timely commentary on the nation’s discourse, even though Maddox came up with the idea nearly two years ago.
“It’s probably an idea that was stirring around for a while,” Maddox says. “It came out of the frustration of trying to have a conversation with somebody when you can’t agree on basic facts anymore. Used to be, as they’d say, everyone’s entitled to their own opinion, but now it’s like everyone’s entitled to their own facts.”
After seeing President Donald Trump’s counselor Kellyanne Conway first use the term “alternative facts,” Maddox saw an opportunity to have fun. Initially he felt rushed to finish the film, fearing no one would remember the phrase by the time he released the short. The fears turned out to be unfounded, as the short remains relevant through persistent shares on social media from high profiles like Silicon Valley guru Guy Kawasaki, actor Kevin Sorbo and websites such as boredteachers.com., fearing no one would remember the phrase by the time he released the short. The fears turned out to be unfounded, as the short remains relevant through persistent shares on social media from high profiles like Silicon Valley guru Guy Kawasaki, actor Kevin Sorbo and websites such as boredteachers.com.
“We made it sort of politically neutral, or a little bit more vague about what it’s talking about,” Maddox says. “So yeah, if you want to interpret it about the school system and how kids can’t be wrong, or if you want to say it’s Trump and alternative facts, or if you want to say it’s about political correctness gone crazy, or about the media, and how the media blows things out of proportion, it’s about all of that stuff.”
Alternative Math went on to have a successful film festival run, winning awards such as Best in Show for Shorts at the 2017 Austin Revolution Film Festival. Maddox was reluctant to post the short to YouTube, but the repeated requests from festival attendees wanting to share it with others spurred the director to finally upload it. Source: Dallasobserver