“A moving documentary which aims to expand the current narratives surrounding rural poverty in America.” – The Atlantic

New York, N.Y. – Dec. 7, 2017 – The acclaimed documentary Class of ’27 has won an Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Award for broadcast journalism, announced today by Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism. From the valleys of Appalachia to tribal lands in the Upper Midwest to a migrant camp on the West Coast, Class of ’27 presents distinct yet complementary personal stories from places too often ignored in America. The documentary, comprising three short films by teams led by James Rutenbeck (“Class of ’27”), Dustinn Craig (“Little Dream Catchers”) and Nina Alvarez (“Fields of Promise”) had its national broadcast premiere on the America ReFramed documentary series on WORLD Channel in 2016. This is America ReFramed’s first duPont-Columbia Award.

America ReFramed, produced by American Documentary, Inc. and WGBH, brings to national audiences compelling stories that illuminate the changing contours of an ever-evolving America. Class of ’27 was presented as part of American Graduate: Let’s Make It Happen, an initiative from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting to help local communities across America keep more students on the path to graduation.

The duPont-Columbia Awards honor excellence in television and radio journalism produced for audiences in the United States by local stations, independent producers, networks and cable systems. Selected by the duPont Jury, the award-winning program aired in 2016. The honorees will be presented with duPont Batons at a ceremony on Jan. 16, 2018 at Columbia University in New York City.

Class of ’27 demonstrates that children from distressed communities, despite their circumstances, are more likely to grow into productive and civically engaged adults if they receive support in their earliest years. Committed to supporting the children’s potential, each community profiled in Class of ’27 is a place of hope, inspiration and resilience. Each short film opens with a reflection by award-winning writers Silas House, Gyasi Ross and Sandra Cisneros, who frame each story with authenticity and insight.

The national broadcast of Class of ’27 was accompanied by an engagement campaign led by ITVS featuring community screening events, national conferences, NGO partnerships and online events designed to promote greater awareness and dialogue in support of quality early childhood education across the country. The broadcast was followed by free streaming for audiences across the U.S. at www.worldchannel.org/americareframed and www.pbs.org/video/ with additional exclusive digital content available in the PBS OTT APP.

An award-winning documentary series,  America ReFramed is the recipient of a Christopher, a Gracie and several Telly and Cine Golden Eagle Awards, as well as nominations for an Emmy, Independent Documentary Association and Imagen Award. America ReFramed airs Tuesdays at 8 p.m. on WORLD Channel featuring premieres and encores of acclaimed documentaries by emerging and veteran filmmakers alike. (Check local listings).

Class of ’27 is a co-production of Lost Nation Pictures, LTD (founded by James Rutenbeck) and Independent Television Service (ITVS), with funding provided by Corporation for Public Broadcasting.


CLASS of ’27 Director: James Rutenbeck, Executive Producer Lost Nation Pictures;

LITTLE DREAM CATCHERS Director/Producer: Dustinn Craig;

FIELDS OF PROMISE Director: Nina Alvarez, Producer/Director Zócalo Media;

Carmen L. Vicencio, Series Producer/Director American Documentary;

Chris White, Executive Producer American Documentary;

Justine Nagan, Executive Producer American Documentary;

Christopher Hastings, Executive Producer WORLD Channel/WGBH;

Sally Jo Fifer, President/CEO ITVS;

Tamara Gould, Head, International Co-productions and Strategic Partnerships ITVS;

Richard O’Connell, Senior Producer of National Productions ITVS;

Natasha Del Toro, Host.

Filmmaker Updates:

James Rutenbeck is directing and producing “Minds on Fire,” about a group of African American adults who participated in a rigorous yearlong tuition-free night course in the humanities. Additionally he is editing “Portraits & Dreams Revisited,” a nonfiction film about photographer Wendy Ewald’s work with schoolchildren in Letcher County, Ky., in the late 1970’s and early ’80’s, and the influential book that came out of their collaboration. “Portraits & Dreams Revisited” is in collaboration with AMDOC (American Documentary, Inc.)

Dustinn Craig is currently making “Apache Scouts, an Untold Story.” This film explores the complex histories of the White Mountain Apaches enlisted as scouts, their relation to Geronimo, and their goal to secure the White Mountain Apache homeland.

Nina Alvarez is currently making “Refugees Need Not Apply,” a documentary film about Salvadoran war refugees in the 1980s who sued the U.S. government for their right to due process and recognition of political refugee status, which inspired the emergence of a national Sanctuary Movement.


AMERICA REFRAMED is a coproduction of the WORLD Channel and American Documentary, Inc.

AMERICA REFRAMED curates a diverse selection of films highlighting innovative and artistic approaches to storytelling from emerging and veteran filmmakers alike. Viewers will be immersed in personal stories from the streets of towns big and small to the exurbs and country roads that span the spectrum of American life. The documentaries invite audiences to reflect on topics as varied as culture, healthcare, politics, gun violence, religion and more.

AMERICA REFRAMED can be accessed online via http://worldchannel.org/programs/america-reframed/ and, https://www.facebook.com/WorldChannel





AMERICA REFRAMED coproducer, American Documentary, Inc. (AmDoc), is a multimedia arts organization dedicated to creating, identifying and presenting contemporary stories that express opinions and perspectives rarely featured in mainstream media outlets. AmDoc is a catalyst for public culture, developing collaborative strategic-engagement activities around socially relevant content on television, online and in community settings. These activities are designed to trigger action, from dialogue and feedback to educational opportunities and community participation. AmDoc is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization. For more information, visit: www.amdoc.org


The WORLD Channel delivers the best of public television’s nonfiction, news and documentary programming, including original content by and about diverse communities, to U.S. audiences through local public television stations and streaming online at worldchannel.org. WORLD reached 35.8 million unique viewers 18+ last year (55 percent adults 18-49) and over-indexes in key diversity demographics. Online, the WORLD Channel expands on broadcast topics and fuels dialogue across social media, providing opportunities for broad and diverse audience interaction. WORLD is programmed by WGBH/Boston, in partnership with American Public Television and WNET/New York, and in association with PBS and National Educational Telecommunications Association. Funding for the WORLD Channel is provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and The Kendeda Fund. Additional support for AMERICA REFRAMED is provided by The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, The Wyncote Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA).

For more information about The WORLD Channel, visit www.worldchannel.org


The Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), a private, nonprofit corporation created by Congress in 1967, is the steward of the federal government’s investment in public broadcasting. It helps support the operations of nearly 1,500 locally owned and operated public television and radio stations nationwide. CPB is also the largest single source of funding for research, technology and program development for public radio, television and related online services. For more information, visit www.cpb.org, follow us on Twitter @CPBmediaFacebook and LinkedIn, and subscribe for email updates.


Independent Television Service (ITVS) funds, presents, and promotes award-winning documentaries on public television, innovative new media projects on the Web, and the Emmy Award-winning weekly series Independent Lens on Monday nights at 10:00 p.m. on PBS. Mandated by Congress in 1988 and funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, ITVS has brought thousands of independently produced programs to American audiences. For more information, visit itvs.org.

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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.