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About the Debate Team Documentary

Debate Team explores the weird subculture of competitive college debate. Competitors battle at 360 words per minute, hauling around mountains of evidence called “cards” and nearly every debate ends in global nuclear annihilation. 

The Documentary premiered at the San Francisco Documentary Film Festival in 2008 and then made it's television premiere on KQED, Public Television for the Bay Area in 2009. The film won critical praise from the San Francisco Chronicle, earning four out of five stars.

Stream the movie for rent or own on VIMEO!

Debate Team on the IMDb!

We are now officially recognized by the Internet Movie Database! Please visit the IMDb here and rate the movie 10 stars! Only with your help can Debate Team fulfill its promise for documentary world domination.

Debate Team is Reviewed by the Chronicle!

Check this out. We got a review in the San Francisco Chronicle! The Chronicle's rating system uses a "little man" icon. If the little man has left his seat that's one star. If he's sleeping that's two stars. If he's awake and watching, that's three stars. If he's applauding, that's four stars. And if he's applauding wildly, that's five stars. Well the little man in our review is applauding! DEBATE TEAM got a four out of five star review! This is what the Chron says:

Bay Area filmmaker B. Douglas Robbins takes us inside the kill-or-be-killed world of obsessive arguers . . . . [T]he film is . . . an often compelling, and even scary, look at people who spend hours and hours without sleep or showers, researching topics and amassing files of data . . . ."

So that's pretty freaking cool. Check out the whole review here.

Does Debate Actually Teach Persuasion?

Legendary debater Tejinder Singh has just written an article exclusively for the DEBATE TEAM website. It asks, does the competitive aspect of debate actually make it less educational? Singh talks about the tension in debate between winning and learning. This sounds sort of boring right? No. It's freaking amazing. Singh talks about his own debate experience and how after exiting the activity to go to Harvard Law School, he discovered he was not the badass rhetorician he thought he was. And why not? Because there are subtle pressures in debate that actually discourage debaters from mastering the art of persuasion. Read the article here and prepare to be rocked.

More Press!

Even cooler, the Director, Douglas Robbins did a radio interview on KALX, about the documentary, and got some cool press from FilmClick. This is part of what FilmClick had to say:

Perhaps the most disturbing aspect of debate, is a popular metaphor that coaches use to train winners: you have to be able to kill a puppy. This metaphor captures the ruthless, heartless attitude that debaters strive to achieve. This documentary is equally shocking and entertaining as it takes an unforgettable look at competition at its most intellectual and yet most vicious state.