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Joe Brewster, Michèle Stephenson Talk Their Sundance-bound Documentary 'American Promise'

Photo of Tambay A. Obenson By Tambay A. Obenson | Shadow and Act January 3, 2013 at 12:13PM

Here are filmmakers Joe Brewster and Michèle Stephenson talking about their Sundance Film Festival-bound documentrary American Promise - a 12-year journey that follows their son and his best friend, from kindergarten at a private prep school, all the way through high school graduation.
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American Promise

Here are filmmakers Joe Brewster and Michèle Stephenson talking about their Sundance Film Festival-bound documentrary American Promise - a 12-year journey that follows their son and his best friend, from kindergarten at a private prep school, all the way through high school graduation.

Recapping... The point of it all was to focus on America’s troubled education system, and the under-served/under-represented young black boys who are...

... twice as likely as whites to be held back in elementary school, three times as likely to be suspended from school, and half as likely to graduate from college.

And further, the filmmakers have stated that they...

... had these startling statistics in mind twelve years ago, when we decided to send our son Idris to a prestigious school in NYC. We turned the camera on ourselves, Idris and his best friend, Seun, in order to make sense of the harsh realities facing black males in today's schools. Twelve years later, Idris and Seun are seniors in high school, and we're now in the midst of our final year of shooting.

The completed film is scheduled to air on PBS' prestigious POV program this year, so it should be accessible to most of us.

Before then however, it'll make its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival next month. 

I missed a sneak peek screening of it earlier this month, here in NYC, but I've heard, and continue to hear nothing but great things about this doc, and I'm looking forward to checking it out!

Here are Joe and Michèle talking about the film (which includes some footage from it):


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