Fail State Documentary News

Latest news and updates on Fail State, an investigative documentary on for-profit colleges, student loan debt, and American higher education. Executive produced by news legend and journalist Dan Rather.

11/7/18 — Fail State Team to Donate San Francisco and New York City Box Office Proceeds to Two College Groups

This Friday #FailStateMovie opens in San Francisco at the Roxie Theater and New York City at the Maysles Cinema.

With our release just a few days away, the Fail State Team and I are honored to announce that we will be donating 100% of our San Francisco box office to the College Promise Campaign and 100% of our New York City box office to the Project on Predatory Student Lending.

The College Promise Campaign is a national, nonpartisan organization working to address rising colleges costs and usher in free and universal community college for all Americans.

The Project on Predatory Student Lending represents thousands of student loan borrowers across the country against predatory for-profit colleges and litigates landmark court cases to protect students and the American taxpayer.

My team and I have worked closely with both organizations over the years, and this donation is a small gesture of our deep thanks for supporting us on our journey. It's our hope that FAIL STATE can shine a bright light on their important advocacy.

SF Tickets:

NYC Tickets:

We would also like to take a moment to thank our San Francisco co-host The Institute for College Access & Success for helping us bring Fail State to the SF Bay Area.

We hope to see you at our SF and NYC openings later this week.

Alex & the Fail State Team

Fail State SF NYC Flyer.jpg

11/5/18 — Fail State Now Available to Watch On-Demand

Hi, friends, today we reached a big milestone—one almost six years in the making. I'm happy to announce that FAIL STATE is now available to watch on-demand via iTunes, Amazon, Youtube →

We hope you watch this film and feel inspired to act. So many of our country's citizens and veterans are being preyed upon by predatory for-profit colleges and universities. This issue transcends red and blue politics and has never been more important. We need everyone to join the fight.

Please watch and share the film with your friends and family.

Thank you to all of you for your support over the years. FAIL STATE is available now!

10/15/18 — Fail State Team to Donate Los Angeles Box Office to Two Veteran Groups

With our release just a few days away, the Fail State Team is honored to announce that we are donating 100% of our Los Angeles box office ticket proceeds to Veterans Education Success and the University of San Diego’s Veterans Legal Clinic. Both organizations are on the front lines combating predatory for-profit colleges, and they do incredible work for our nation's servicemembers and veterans. It's our hope that this film can shine a bright light on their tireless advocacy and put a stop to predatory for-profit colleges for good.

You can purchase your movie ticket here:

We hope to see you at our release later this week!

10/4/18 — The Hollywood Reporter Debuts Fail State Trailer, Announces the Film's Release


It's with great pride and honor to share news almost six years in the making. Today The Hollywood Reporter announced that Fail State will be released this fall in theaters in NY and LA, on iTunes, Amazon, Youtube, etc. via Gravitas Ventures in November, and broadcast to millions of people on the premium cable channel STARZ on December 17th, 2018. Mark your calendars!

Check out the article HERE and watch the trailer below.


9/7/18 - Fail State featured in The Hechinger Report alongside Rep. Maxine Waters

Maxine Waters chastises for-profit colleges and DeVos Leadership

“This is probably one of the biggest rip-offs and scandals in government of all time.” —Rep. Maxine Waters

WASHINGTON – Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) is starting off the school year with a message for current and prospective college students: Stay away from for-profit colleges.

Waters spoke at a panel discussion this week after a showing of FAIL STATE, a documentary that explores how some for-profit colleges trick students into taking on insurmountable debt and enrolling in degree programs that will result in few to no job prospects.

Check out the full article HERE.


9/4/18 - Fail State premieres in Washington!


Fail State premiered to a packed house at the Carnegie Institution for Science tonight! AFT President Randi Weingarten introduced the event. Following the screening, MarketWatch reporter Jillian Berman moderated a stellar panel with Rep. Maxine Watersformer U.S. Secretary of Education John KingCivil Rights leader Wade Henderson, and Director Alex Shebanow.

The Fail State team would like to thank the National Student Legal Defense Network for hosting our premiere. This event was one for the ages!

Event video below.


8/30/18 - Special Guests at Washington D.C. Premiere next week!


Next week the National Student Legal Defense Network hosts Fail State in Washington, D.C.

Special Introduction by AFT President Randi Weingarten.

Post-screening panel with Rep. Maxine Watersformer U.S. Secretary of Education John KingCivil Rights leader Wade HendersonDirector Alex Shebanow, and moderated by MarketWatch reporter Jillian Berman


See the film before the rest of the country sees it later this year. Register here: NSLDN.ORG/EVENT 

6/7/18 - Fail State featured in The Hechinger Report

"'The level of harm that is being done on students is just staggering,' said filmmaker Shebanow. 'If for-profit [colleges] had done what they said they were doing, we wouldn’t have to make this film.'"

Check out the latest article in The Hechinger Report on Fail State.

And be sure to follow our friends at Veterans Education Success who do incredible work advocating on behalf of defrauded veterans.…/

4/11/18 - Fail State heads to LSU for LIFF


We are one week away from our Louisiana State University premiere at the Louisiana International Film Festival. This screening is free and open to LSU students and faculty and the Baton Rouge community. 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, April 18, in the Roy O Martin Auditorium, 1100 Patrick F Taylor Hall, LSU. Secure your seat here:

Following the screening, LSU President King Alexander will moderate a panel on predatory for-profit colleges and inequality in higher education with Baton Rouge Community College Chancellor Littleton-Steib and Fail State director Alex Shebanow.