When husband and wife filmmaking team Michèle Stephenson and Joe Brewster enrolled their son Idris in a prestigious NYC private school twelve years ago, they did so knowing that he was entering an educational system which critically underserves young black males. In an effort to understand and shed light on the challenges young black men face in schools, they began filming their son, his best friend Seun (who enrolled in the same kindergarten class) as well as themselves, when the boys entered kindergarten. They have followed the boys’ twelve year journey from elementary through high school, capturing their year to year ups and downs as well as the distinct growing pains they experienced in pursuit of an education. The boys are now high school seniors, Idris still in the same private school and Seun in an Afrocentric public high school, and the filmmaker/parents are now in their final year of shooting.
Their documentary film “American Promise” is scheduled to premiere in film festivals in January 2013 and will be broadcast on Public Broadcasting System’s “POV” series in 2013 as well. Stephenson and Brewster are currently raising funds to help with post production costs. Through the fundraising website Kickstarter, they have until March 14 to reach their campaign goal of $50,000. At this point, they are more than a third of the way there, so if you are interested and able, you can help them reach this goal. You can read about this ground breaking project on their website, found here, and support their efforts to finish the film through their Kickstarter page, found here. Information about the larger multimedia project designed to help parents support their sons’ education, which will launch in conjunction with the documentary’s release, is available on their website as well.
This is a fascinating project that is examining many of the issues that are at the center of GCP‘s focus. We wish them well, and will be following their progress. Check out their website and their Kickstarter page!