March 3-6, 2014 • Austin, Texas
American PromiseDirectors/Producers: Michèle Stephenson, Joe Brewster
American Promise follows two African-American boys and their families for 12 years as they navigate the terrain of race, privilege and opportunity at a rigorous New York City private school.
American Promise provides a rare look into black middle class life while exploring the common hopes and hurdles of parents navigating their children’s educational journey. It begins in 1999, when filmmakers Joe and Michèle turned their cameras on their son and his best friend, as they entered the prestigious Dalton School. The boys struggle with stereotypes and identity, and ultimately take divergent paths on the road to graduation. Meanwhile, the parents struggle to balance their high expectations with the cultural and social obstacles their sons face. The film challenges assumptions about educational access in the 21st century. Ultimately, it asks each of us: What is the American Promise?
We the Parents
Director: James Takata
Producers: Jennifer Welsh Takata, James Takata
We the Parents follows the first group of parents to use California’s controversial “Parent Trigger” law to transform their failing school.
We the Parents follows the first group of parents to use California’s new “Parent Trigger” law to transform their failing school. Along the way, these parents (aided by a non-profit organization called Parent Revolution) discover their own power to create change and become pioneers of a nascent movement.
The idea of giving parents a legal voice in school reform is a novel one, and the film captures the controversy that ensues when parents attempt to exercise their rights. While recent documentaries have highlighted the crisis of our education system, We the Parents examines a potential solution, tracking the evolution and spread of parent empowerment legislation across the United States.
Once in a Lullaby: The PS22 Chorus Story
Director/Producer: Jonathan Kalafer
Producers: Steve Kalafer, Bao Nguyen
They went from YouTube famous to being the closing act at the Oscars, can these 5th grade kids from Staten Island entertain the entertainment elite?
The PS22 chorus from Staten Island became world famous after their YouTube videos went viral. This feel-good documentary follows them to their big performance as the closing act at the 2011 Academy Awards ceremony, where creative differences, lost voices, and homesickness threaten their performance. Can these 5th graders entertain the entertainment elite?
Pictured (t-b) Brewster family, photo courtesy of American Promise; photo courtesy We the Parents; Gregg Breinberg and students, photo courtesy Once in a Lullaby