Why did you decide to make this film?
Using the work of Michael Apted (Up Series) as our inspiration, American Promise started off as an experiment in longitudinal documentary storytelling that would explore and celebrate diversity in education.
The American Promise outreach campaign uses the power of storytelling and film to engage parents, educators, and students to become advocates for the academic achievement of black boys. Why did you decide to focus on black male achievement as a core issue for the campaign?
This seemed like a natural organic outgrowth of the story we ultimately ended up telling about our two families and our sons' educational journeys. It's a unique and very personal perspective on a common set of experiences our young black men face.
What are your hopes for the campaign?
We hope that the film's campaign will help the conversation on deconstructing stereotypes and assumptions about our young men. We are honored to be joining this year's other film releases such as Fruitvale Station and Central Park Five, which are tackling the role implicit bias plays in our young men’s everyday lives.
Being able to be part of a larger trend of work that is moving the pendulum forward on the role unconscious racism plays in the black male achievement gap is a true honor.
Who is the audience for your campaign, and why?
Our core audiences are parents and caregivers of black boys, educators, and young black men. We believe that targeting these stakeholders is key to creating greater positive change.
You recently premiered American Promise at the prestigious New York Film Festival and are now being considered as a frontrunner for an Oscar. Can you share how you feel at this moment and how this may help elevate the film’s campaign?
It is an honor to be considered noteworthy, and we cherish any recognition of our craft, but we understand that the opportunity to promote a greater understanding of the needs of African-American boys is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. We hope that this moment can help shed light and generate a national discussion on the particular issues our boys face.