I Really Want to Make It

Sharon Montano goes back to school after years of substance abuse and struggles. Joining Civicorps Academy gives her another shot at a future.

Film Signature Image
Independent Lens
Premiere Date
September 24, 2013
16 minutes
Funding Initiative
Series and Special Projects

Raymond Telles

Raymond Telles’ 35-year career in film and television includes the production of numerous documentaries and segments for PBS, ABC, NBC, National Geographic, Discovery and Univision. Among the more than 30 documentaries Telles has produced and directed are Inside the Body Trade (Nat Geo); The Storm that Swept Mexico; The Fight in the Fields; Children of the Night (Frontline); Show more and episode six of the PBS series Latino Americans. Show less


Angela Reginato

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The Film

Twenty-one year old Sharon Montano grew up in east Oakland, California in a neighborhood known as the “Dirty Thirties.” She did fine in grammar school but when she hit middle school she began drinking, smoking, and popping pills with friends whom she’d later lose. In her East Oakland neighborhood, violence was part of her daily life.

Going back to school turned out to be more difficult than she thought. Over the years, she started and dropped out of several remedial programs; then later became ineligible for others because of her age.

When she discovers Oakland’s Civicorps Academy, where she meets other young people who have gone through similar rough situations, she finally gets another shot at a high school diploma — and a future. Sharon has gone from being a bad influence to a role model, and really wants to make it.