About this project
Sending our sweet son Miles to panhandle might not raise us the $50,000 to cover remaining post-production costs for American Promise, our documentary, 12-years in the making. So, to help Miles out we're turning to Plan B: virtual panhandling.
Check out our working trailer:
As you probably know, America’s education system is in trouble. And for young black males, it’s in crisis. Black boys are twice as likely as whites to be held back in elementary school, three times as likely to be suspended from school, and half as likely to graduate from college.
We had these startling statistics in mind twelve years ago, when we decided to send our son Idris to a prestigious school in NYC. We turned the camera on ourselves, Idris and his best friend, Seun in order to make sense of the harsh realities facing black males in today's schools.
Twelve years later, Idris and Seun are seniors in high school, and we're now in the midst of our final year of shooting. Since 1999, we've brought the camera along — into our home, into classrooms, to conferences, on school trips, on college tours, to prom and everywhere in between— to capture the year-to-year ups and downs as well as the perspectives of students, parents, teachers and administrators who are all striving for academic excellence. Through the years, we've documented our personal family struggles, and the boys' experience with privilege, stereotypes, culture clashes, learning differences and two eventual divergent paths in education.
As the first-ever big picture longitudinal piece exploring the issue, we believe American Promise is of historical and social significance. American Promise is the centerpiece of a comprehensive, cross-platform engagement campaign aimed at engaging parents, youth and teachers to come together to advocate for the academic success of young men of color. Premiering at film festivals in January 2013 and broadcasting nationwide on POV in 2013, the film and the campaign have the potential to spur a new kind of dialogue and action around the subtle factors that affect the success of male students of color.
We have started the editing process and we are finishing our final months of shooting. Our big task now is to turn 12 years of footage into one high-quality, exceptionally compelling, four star-worthy feature documentary. So we're turning to our family of supporters to help us raise the funds to:
- finish the editing,
- do the sound mix,
- and score the film.
Over the last 12 years, American Promise has received backing from The Ford Foundation, The Fledgling Fund, The Sundance Documentary Fund, Open Society Foundation, San Francisco Film Society, Tribeca Gucci Documentary Fund, National Black Programming Consortium and the New York State Council on the Arts. But we still need your help to reach completion.
By supporting American Promise, you'll help us ensure that we create a high-quality film that engages audiences visually and emotionally. More importantly, you're supporting the belief that the achievement gap in education is not inevitable and that we--as parents, teachers, and community members--have the power to work together to create lasting change for our children.
Joe & Michèle
Please Note: Because American Promise will be on Public Television, no donor can remain anonymous; we will eventually need everyone's real name and address. If you have questions about this, please contact us at email@example.com.
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