Downloads: Press Release

Groundbreaking Documentary Follows Two African American Boys Over 12 Years at Home And at School; Explores Race, Class and Opportunity

Film to Have National Broadcast Premiere on PBS’ POV in 2013

Film is part of American Graduate: Let’s Make It Happen, a Public Media Initiative to Empower Youth And Help Parents and Teachers Keep Students on the Path to High School Graduation

American Promise, by Joe Brewster and Michèle Stephenson, will have its world premiere at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival on Monday, Jan. 21. The provocative documentary is one of 16 in the U.S. Documentary Competition. Sundance takes place Jan. 17-27, 2013 in Park City, Salt Lake City, Ogden and Sundance, Utah. American Promise will subsequently have its national broadcast premiere PBS’ award-winning documentary series POV (Point of View) in 2013.

American Promise spans 12 years as Brewster and Stephenson, middle-class African American parents who live in Brooklyn, N.Y., turn their cameras on their son, Idris Brewster, and his best friend, Oluwaseun (Seun) Summers, as the youngsters make their way through Dalton, one of the most prestigious private schools in the nation. As the boys grow, the film presents complicated issues about America’s struggle to come of age on issues of race, class and opportunity.

American Promise is a co-production of Rada Film Group, ITVS and POV’s Diverse Voices Project. ITVS and the Diverse Voices Project receive funding from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB). The film is part of American Graduate: Let’s Make It Happen, a national public media initiative made possible by CPB to help communities understand the factors that impact students’ decisions to drop out of high school and identify solutions to keep them on track to graduate.

POV’s Documentary Blog will be reporting from the festival with video, interviews and roundups of the best Sundance documentary coverage around the Web.

Beginning its 26th season on PBS in 2013, POV is American television’s longest-running independent documentary series. POV airs on Monday nights from June to September, with primetime specials during the year. The series is the winner of a Special Emmy for Excellence in Television Documentary Filmmaking and two International Documentary Association Awards for Continuing Series.

About the American Promise Campaign
In partnership with trusted organizations around the country, the American Promise team will launch a national campaign to mobilize young people, families and educators to identify ways that Americans can better support black boys’ social and emotional needs and encourage people to consider the role they play in advancing success for all children. This endeavor will be supported by a set of strategic tools in 2013 and 2014: a special campaign with Big Brothers Big Sisters’ Mentoring Brothers in Action program beginning at Sundance; a companion book by Joe Brewster, Michèle Stephenson and acclaimed author Hilary Beard, published by Spiegel & Grau to coincide with the POV broadcast; guided local parent-student support groups; a mobile app that provides regular tips for parents and more.

‘American Promise’ Sundance Screening Schedule:

  • Monday, Jan. 21, 6 p.m., Temple Theatre, Park City
  • Tuesday, Jan. 22, 9 p.m., Holiday Village Cinemas, Park City – Press and Industry
  • Wednesday, Jan. 23, 7 p.m., Redstone Cinema 2, Park City
  • Thursday, Jan. 24, 2:45 p.m., Broadway Center Cinema 6, Salt Lake City
  • Friday, Jan. 25, 11:15 a.m., the MARC, Park City
  • Saturday, Jan. 26, 3 p.m., Yarrow Hotel Theatre, Park City

Special Event: POV and the National Black Programming Consortium will co-sponsor a “Meet the Filmmakers” event in celebration of the film and its Sundance premiere presented by the Blackhouse Foundation on Sunday, Jan. 20 from 6 to 8 p.m. at Buona Vita, 804 Main Street in Park City.

Attending Sundance Jan. 17-27: Co-directors/Co-producers Joe Brewster and Michèle Stephenson; film subjects Idris Brewster, Miles Brewster, Seun Summers, Anthony Summers and Stacey Summers.


Independent Television Service funds, presents and promotes award-winning documentaries and dramas on public television, innovative new media projects on the Web, and the Emmy® Award-winning weekly series Independent Lens on Monday nights at 10 p.m. on PBS. Mandated by Congress in 1988 and funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, ITVS has brought more than 1,000 independently produced programs to date to American audiences. For more information about ITVS, visit

Founded in 1979, the National Black Programming Consortium (NBPC) develops, produces and funds media content about the Black experience for public media outlets, including television, digital radio and online. Since 1991, NBPC has invested more than $10 million in iconic documentary content for public media outlets, including PBS and; trained, mentored and supported a diverse array of producers who create content about contemporary black experiences; and emerged as a leader in the evolving next-media landscape. NBPC distributes engaging content online at and via broadcast through its AfroPoP: The Utimate Cultural Exchange documentary series and manages the community engagement project Public Media Corps (PMC). Visit

American Graduate: Let’s Make it Happen is helping local communities identify and implement solutions to the high school dropout crisis. American Graduate demonstrates public media’s commitment to education and its deep roots in every community it serves. Beyond providing programming that educates, informs and inspires, public radio and television stations–locally owned and operated–are an important resource in helping to address critical issues, such as the dropout rate.

In addition to national programming, more than 75 public radio and television stations have launched on-the-ground efforts working with community and at-risk youth to keep students on-track to high school graduation. More than 800 partnerships have been formed locally through American Graduate, and CPB is working with Alma and Colin Powell’s America’s Promise Alliance and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

About POV
Produced by American Documentary, Inc. and beginning its 26th season on PBS in 2013, the award-winning POV is the longest-running showcase on American television to feature the work of today’s best independent documentary filmmakers. POV has brought more than 325 acclaimed documentaries to millions nationwide. POV films have won every major film and broadcasting award, including 32 Emmys, 15 George Foster Peabody Awards, 10 Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Awards, three Academy Awards® and the Prix Italia. In 2012, POV achieved a new milestone, winning five News & Documentary Emmy Awards®. Since 1988, POV has pioneered the art of presentation and outreach using independent nonfiction media to build new communities in conversation about today’s most pressing social issues. Visit

Major funding for POV is provided by PBS, The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, New York State Council on the Arts, New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, the desJardins/Blachman Fund and public television viewers. Funding for POV’s Diverse Voices Project is provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Special support provided by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. POV is presented by a consortium of public television stations, including KQED San Francisco, WGBH Boston and THIRTEEN in association with WNET.ORG.

POV Communications: 212-989-7425;;
Cathy Fisher,; Amanda Nguyen,
At Sundance: POV: Chris White,, 917-690-8926; Andrew Catauro,, 401-523-9654
American Promise: David Magdael,, 213-399-1434; Eseel Borlasa,, 562-881-6725

POV online pressroom:

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POV Pressroom
Produced by American Documentary, Inc., POV is public television’s premier showcase for nonfiction films. Since 1988, POV has been the home for the world’s boldest contemporary filmmakers, celebrating intriguing personal stories that spark conversation and inspire action. Always an innovator, POV discovers fresh new voices and creates interactive experiences that shine a light on social issues and elevate the art of storytelling. With our documentary broadcasts, original online programming and dynamic community engagement campaigns, we are committed to supporting films that capture the imagination and present diverse perspectives.