What is the American Collection?
For the past three decades Masterpiece Theatre has brought unsurpassed English drama to American television audiences. Now a talented group of filmmakers is applying those same high standards to seminal works by America's literary masters.
The new series, Masterpiece Theatre's American Collection, will air over several years. Each film in the collection is accompanied by its own feature set within the Masterpiece Theatre Web site at PBS.org.
The American Collection premiered in October of 2000 with Langston Hughes's Cora Unashamed, starring Regina Taylor and Cherry Jones. It has been followed by presentations of Henry James's The American (starring Mathew Modine and Diana Rigg), Willa Cather's Song of the Lark (starring Alison Elliott, Tony Goldwyn and Maximillian Schell), Eudora Welty's The Ponder Heart (starring Peter MacNichol and JoBeth Williams); James Agee's A Death in the Family (starring Annabeth Gish, James Cromwell and Kathleen Chalfant) and Esmeralda Santiago's Almost a Woman.
Ambitious in scope and diverse in theme, setting and characterization, the films in The American Collection are all quintessentially American in character and dramatic intent, but as diverse and independent as the different cultures that comprise our American heritage.
The American Collection is supported by an expansive education effort, online and in print. A rich assortment of educational resources is available for each title at this Web site. Print materials are also available. (An 'educator's Web site,' established in partnership with the National Council of Teachers of English -- www.ncteamericancollection.org -- enables nationwide collaboration among hundreds of students and teachers, many of whom contribute material about American authors native to their home region.)
The films in Masterpiece Theatre's American Collection are produced by WGBH Boston and ALT Films. Major funding is provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and PBS. Rebecca Eaton is series executive producer.
The American Collection is closed captioned for deaf and hard of hearing viewers by The Caption Center at WGBH.
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