Sundance ’13 Trailer: ‘American Promise’
Here’s a trailer that seems fitting to watch on the eve of the U.S. opening of Michael Apted’s 56 Up. However, unlike the Up series, which has revisited a number of English individuals every seven years since they were aged 7, the new documentary American Promise follows its characters straight through their primary education years, from 5 to 18. That’s a span that would almost take up three Up films, and it’s a consecutive record of lives rather than a spread out and episodic project.
It’s also a lot more personal than Apted’s series. Directors Joe Brewster and Michèle Stephenson turned the camera on their own son, Idris, chronicling his growth and schooling for 13 years. As well as themselves and their own parenting. In fact, the film’s focus on has also inspired a companion book on educational and parenting strategies out this fall called Promises Kept: How to Help Black Boys Succeed in School and In Life.
American Promise, which premieres at the Sundance Film Festival on January 21, additionally already has outreach plans set up on its website for educators, students, families and volunteers committed to helping young men of color succeed. You can either get involved or share a personal story of black male achievement or key step toward success, for posting on the film’s Tumblr.
As for the film itself, which also follows Idris’s friend Seun and his parents, here’s some very promising praise from Sundance programming associate Basil Tsiokos at his blog What (Not) to Doc: “Brewster and Stephenson’s film is destined to be a classic of the genre – an engrossing exploration of race, education, and expectations featuring strong, personable characters who the viewer feels connected to immediately.”
If you’re attending Sundance, this is a doc you’ll want to check out. And if you can’t make it, American Promise will air on PBS as an episode of POV later this year.