Posted in: by Robert Horton, Contributors, Documentary, Film Reviews

‘American Promise’: Shadowing Your Kids With Your Camera

‘American Promise’

American Promise begins with serious intent and high expectations. The filmmakers, Joe Brewster and Michele Stephenson, set out to chronicle their young son Idris and his schoolmates over a dozen-year period—a process inspired by the remarkable British Up series and, presumably, Hoop Dreams. Only two children stuck with this project, however: Idris and his friend Seun Summers, first seen as they begin grade school at Manhattan’s upper-class Dalton School.

In the early stages, Brewster and Stephenson seem to steer the movie in a willed direction: What will be the challenges for two African-American boys at a predominantly white, high-achieving school?

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