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Documentary Feature  





Pressure Cooker
Directed by
Jennifer Grausman and Mark Becker
USA / 2008 / 99 minutes

East Coast Premiere
Screening Times and Venues:
Bearsville Theater
10/04/2008, 6:45PM
Upstate Films I
10/05/2008, 2:15PM
"Pressure Cooker" is a captivating and entertaining portrait of culinary arts teacher Wilma Stephenson and her dynamic group of young students from Northeast Philadelphia's Frankford High School. Year after year her students capture the lion's share of the coveted scholarships offered via a city-wide cooking competition. Jennifer Grausman's and Mark Becker's documentary captures the demanding world of culinary arts, even at the high school level, as the no-nonsense Stephenson settles for nothing less than perfection, pushing her charges toward the year-end contest. But as the film explores, Stephenson is more than just a teacher to her students, becoming role model, social worker and even surrogate mother. An inspiring and heartwarming film, "Pressure Cooker" intimately examines the lives of three of Stephenson's best students as they struggle with their own difficult home situations while attempting to secure a potential life- changing college scholarship. (Michael Burke)
Before beginning production on "Pressure Cooker," Jennifer Grausman produced six short films. "Dear Lemon Lima" premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2007, and "Solidarity" screened at the New York Film Festival in 2005. In 2006, she was the production supervisor on "The Killing Floor," an independent feature film.

A graduate of the MFA film program at Columbia University, Grausman was honored with the 2005 Best Producer Award at the Columbia University Film Festival and the Arthur Krim Memorial Award in 2004. Prior to graduate school, she was the Manager of Exhibition and Film Funding at The Museum of Modern Art. She earned her BFA in Art History at Duke University.

Mark Becker produces, directs, shoots and edits documentaries in New York. As a filmmaker, Becker made the acclaimed "Romantico," which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, where it was nominated for the Grand Jury Prize, and received two Independent Spirit Award nominations (Best Documentary and Truer Than Fiction Award). "Romantico" was released theatrically in 2006 by Kino International.

Becker was co-editor of "Lost Boys of Sudan," winner of an Independent Spirit Award as well as a Golden Gate Award at the San Francisco International Film Festival. He earned a Master's degree from the Documentary Film Program at Stanford University.

Executive Producer(s): Jeff Skoll, Diane Weyermann
Producer(s): Jennifer Grausman
Director(s): Jennifer Grausman and Mark Becker
Cinematographer(s): Mark Becker, Leigh Iacobucci, Justin Schein
Editor(s): Mark Becker
Sound Editor(s): Lidia Tamplenizza
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