American Promise spans 13 years as Joe Brewster and Michèle Stephenson, middle-class African-American parents in Brooklyn, N.Y., turn their cameras on their son, Idris, and his best friend, Seun, who make their way through one of the most prestigious private schools in the country. Chronicling the boys’ divergent paths from kindergarten through high school graduation at Manhattan’s Dalton School, this provocative, intimate documentary presents complicated truths about America’s struggle to come of age on issues of race, class and opportunity. Co-director Stephenson stops by to talk about this remarkable film and the persistent educational achievement gap that dramatically affects African-American boys at all socioeconomic levels.
“An intimate American docu-epic unlike anything that’s come before it.” – Variety
“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.” – Documentary Channel