American Promise

Here's a feature documentary that successfully raised over $50,000 to complete production (we featured the Kickstarter campaign for it, earlier this year), and is moving diligently closer to its eventual end, when public screenings will begin next year.

An intriguing project from Joe Brewster and Michèle Stephenson titled American Promise - a 12-year documentary that follows their (the filmmakers') son and his best friend, from kindergarten at a private prep school, all the way through high school graduation.

The point of it all was, of course, 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 share:

We 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.

Certainly a long journey; I'm definitely curious to see the results of all that hard work, all those years of documentation, the transitions, the peaks and valleys, etc. And I love that they personalized the journey by turning the camera on themselves, so it should provide for even more intimate observation.

The completed film is scheduled to air on PBS' prestigious POV program in 2013t, so it should be accessible to most of us. 

You can request a screening of the film in your area if you're interested; the filmmakers have a "Host a local screening" feature, which allows you to "bring an urgent conversation about black male achievement to your community," and book screenings for 2013 only, which they have now opened.

All you have to do is fill in a form on the film's website to start the hosting process. To book, click HERE.

Here's a preview of what to expect:

MacArthur Trailer from The Rada Film Group on Vimeo.