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POV: American Promise

Airs Monday, February 3, 2014 at 11 p.m. on KPBS TV

Above: Idris and Seun

“American Promise” spans 13 years as Joe Brewster and Michèle Stephenson, middle-class African-American parents in Brooklyn, New York, turn their cameras on their son, Idris, and his best friend, Seun, who make their way through Manhattan’s Dalton School, one of the most prestigious private schools in the country.

Courtesy of Orrie King

Summers Family

Courtesy of Orrie King

Brewster Family

Chronicling the boys’ divergent paths from kindergarten through high school graduation, this provocative, intimate documentary presents complicated truths about America’s struggle to come of age on issues of race, class and opportunity. Winner, U.S. Documentary Special Jury Award, 2013 Sundance Film Festival.

“All American families want to give their children the opportunity to succeed. But the truth is, opportunity is just the first step, particularly for families raising black boys,” says co-director and co-producer Michèle Stephenson. “We hope American Promise shines a light on these issues.”

“Our goal is to empower boys, their parents and educators to pursue educational opportunities, especially to help close the black male achievement gap,” adds her husband and filmmaking partner, Joe Brewster.

Past episodes of POV are available for online viewing. POV is on Facebook, and you can follow @povdocs on Twitter.

Video

POV: American Promise Preview

Above: “American Promise” spans 13 years as Joe Brewster and Michèle Stephenson, middle-class African-American parents in Brooklyn, New York, turn their cameras on their son, Idris, and his best friend, Seun, who make their way through Manhattan’s Dalton School, one of the most prestigious private schools in the country.

Video

POV: American Promise: Idris Code Switches

Above: Idris thinks about how he fits in with his basketball team and how he fits in at his school, Dalton Academy.