American Promise is an intimate and provocative account, recorded over 13 years, of the experiences of two middle-class African-American boys who entered a very prestigious–and historically white–private school on Manhattan’s Upper East Side. The Dalton School had made a commitment to recruit students of color, and five-year-old best friends Idris and Seun of Brooklyn were admitted. The boys were placed in a demanding environment that provided new opportunities and challenges, if little reflection of their cultural identities.
Idris’ parents, Joe, a Harvard- and Stanford-trained psychiatrist, and Michèle, a Columbia Law School graduate and filmmaker, decided to film the boys’ progress starting in 1999. They and their families soon found themselves struggling not only with kids’ typical growing pains and the kinds of racial issues one might expect, but also with surprising class, gender and generational gaps. American Promise, which traces the boys’ journey from kindergarten through high school graduation, finds the greatest challenge for the families–and perhaps the country–is to close the black male educational achievement gap.
Winner of the U.S. Documentary Special Jury Award, 2013 at the Sundance Film Festival.
This event is a collaboration with POV, the award winning independent nonfiction film series on PBS. Also co-sponsored by Piedmont League of Women Voters, Piedmont Appreciating Diversity Committee and DiversityWorks
2 FREE SCREENINGS:
Piedmont: Wednesday, December 3, 2014
Ellen Driscoll Playhouse, 325 Highland Ave., Piedmont
6:30 pm: Reception
7:00 pm: Screening
8:00 pm: Facilitated discussion
Oakland: Saturday, November 29, 2014
New Parkway Theater, 474 24th Street, Oakland