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Join a Live Online Screening of American Promise with Filmmakers Michèle Stephenson and Joe Brewster

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Filmmakers Michèle Stephenson and Joe Brewster of American Promise

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The filmmakers of American Promise will join film subject Idris, America’s Promise Alliance and Big Brothers Big Sisters for a live OVEE screening with viewers on Tuesday, February 4 from 7-9 PM ET (4-6 PM PT). They will be taking your questions about the black male achievement gap and making the documentary.

American Promise spans 13 years as Joe Brewster and Michèle Stephenson, middle-class African-American parents in Brooklyn, N.Y., turn their cameras on their son, Idris, and his best friend, Seun, who make their way through one of the most prestigious private schools in the country. Chronicling the boys’ divergent paths from kindergarten through high school graduation at Manhattan’s Dalton School, this provocative, intimate documentary presents complicated truths about America’s struggle to come of age on issues of race, class and opportunity.

Ask the subjects and filmmakers questions by posting your comments below.

Here is an overview of the event:

When: Tuesday, February 4 from 7-9 PM ET (4-6 PM PT). If you can’t make it, you can send in your questions ahead of time by writing a comment below.

Who: Filmmakers Michèle Stephenson and Joe Brewster of American Promise, film subject Idris, Angela Williams, Director of African-American Engagement at Big Brothers Big Sisters, and Craig McClay of America’s Promise Alliance.

How: Join the chat on OVEE. To view an archived transcript of the conversation, visit the American Promise companion website after February 5, 2014.

On February 3, 2014 at 10 PM, POV will present the national broadcast premiere of American Promise on PBS (Check local listings). The film will be available for streaming on the POV website from February 4 to March 6, 2014.

For updates on the 2013 season of POV, subscribe to POV’s documentary blog, like POV on Facebook or follow us on Twitter @povdocs.

POV Staff
POV Staff
POV (a cinema term for "point of view") is television's longest-running showcase for independent non-fiction films. POV premieres 14-16 of the best, boldest and most innovative programs every year on PBS. Since 1988, POV has presented over 300 films to public television audiences across the country. POV films are known for their intimacy, their unforgettable storytelling and their timeliness, putting a human face on contemporary social issues.
  • Rachell

    Thanks for making this documentary. It was an inspiring, emotional and reflective look at the challenges faced to achieve educational success in the society. I didn’t expect to see so much of myself and my family in this program but glad I did.

  • Bel

    How are the members of the Summers family doing? How is Seun getting on?

  • Kassim

    How is Idris doing? Did he go to California? I’d love to hear some updates on how the family is doing.

  • Mjane

    My childhood is somewhat similar to how Michele described hers in the film. My parents didn’t go to college and struggled financially. While they encouraged me to do well in school, they never pushed me, and I just ended up pushing myself. My question is, looking back, is there anything Michele and Joe would have done differently? I just wonder if pushing kids very hard hinders their own drive/initiative to succeed? Or does it just depend on the child? I loved this film and I found myself wishing I had parents more like Joe and Michele…you have raised an amazing young man and I wish him all the best!

  • Steff

    Thank you for sharing your dreams for your sons as they are the dreams of all parents, especially those of African American boys. As a parent of an African American son whose schooling was entirely in private schools there were many moments that deeply resonated with me. I have often struggled with decisions around his education. Like the wonderful young men in this documentary I wanted him to have a strong sense of self as we’ll as the academic acumen to compete at any level. I too did not find out until his junior year that he had ADHD yet I was always told he was brilliant but not working to his potential. He later told me that half the students in his private school had the same diagnosis as well as many received tutoring. Thankfully he is in a good college and doing well but you can’t help but wonder at times if you made the best decisions. Again thank you! I have encouraged him to watch it because it so mirrors our lives. It just demonstrates the love you have for your children and your dreams for them to have more. Wonderful!

  • Mom

    I am a 54 year old mom of 2, the first of which was a son. What I saw had everything in common with being the devoted parents of great boys. I am excited for the boys to grow up and reach an age where they can see and appreciate what beautiful young people they were and what a great job they did navigating the path to adulthood. I can barely see color in it at all, which makes the film a beautiful gift to our country. Thank you all for sharing the journey. Parents and children alike can learn a great deal about what it takes to join the crowd on the path to success.

  • Heidi

    I am the parent of two now adult children who went to private parochial elementary & high schools and then on to one a private university and another a state university. I was so touched by this documentary. It showed me that what was important is an intact, loving, supportive family. Both Idris and Suan were delightful. They have both blossomed into independent young men. Way to often in our society that is not the case. I feel the filmmakers did an excellent job.