About This Program
Through the lens of 26 independent films, America ReFramed tells the many stories of a transforming American culture and its broad diversity. In these weekly 60 or 90 minute independent films, the series takes an unfiltered look at relevant domestic topics (healthcare, immigration, the workplace, and politics) with personal storytelling tied to programming social themes.
America ReFramed showcases films that will give viewers a “snapshot” of the transforming American life —the guts, the glory, the grit of a new and changing America. From contemporary life on Native American reservations to stories of recovery on the Gulf, from hardships and revitalization in towns big and small, to stories from city streets across the country, these independent, personal and opinionated films document the times in which we live.
Episodes from Season 2
Plagues and Pleasures on the Salton Sea
An offbeat portrait of the peculiar and individualistic people who populate the shores of the Salton Sea. It is an epic western tale of fantastic real estate ventures and failed boomtowns, inner-city gangs fleeing to white small town America, and the subjective notion of success and failure amidst the ruins of the past.
Come Hell or High Water: The Battle for Turkey Creek
Follow the journey of Derrick Evans, who moves home to Mississippi when the graves of his ancestors are bulldozed to make way for sprawling Gulfport. Derrick and his neighbors stand up to corporate interests and politicians, and face Hurricane Katrina and the BP oil disaster to protect the community and fight for environmental justice.
America Reframed: Rachel Is
Honest, heartbreaking and funny, filmmaker and sister Charlotte Glynn's Rachel Is chronicles Rachel, who is developmentally disabled, in her last year at school. The film moves past the safety of political correctness, and into the most intimate moments in their family's life.
Mothers of Bedford
Is it possible to become a better mother while serving time in a maximum security prison? Filmed over four years at the Bedford Hills Correctional Facility, Mothers of Bedford explores the effects of a long-term prison sentence on the relationship between a mother and child.
Follow the story of a year's time at Dignity Harbor; a homeless encampment along the Mississippi River, north of the St. Louis Arch. They must survive living in the cold of the winter, but as temperatures drop and tempers rise, they are challenged with living with themselves. All while the city looms over, waiting for a chance to move them out.
Reserved to Fight
In May 2003, Fox Company of Marine Reserve Unit 2/23 returned home from front line combat in Iraq. Reserved To Fight follows four Marines of Fox Company through their post-war minefield of social and psychological reintegration into civilian life, which proves to be as formidable a battle as literal firefights.
In the aftermath of a senseless hate crime, an all-American town finds itself desperately seeking answers: What really killed Marcelo Lucero? Deputized presents an unfiltered and comprehensive examination of the crime, its consequences and the impact it has on the lives of all those touched by it.
My Brooklyn and Fate of a Salesman
From Brooklyn, NY to Washington, D.C., urban neighborhoods are "improving" but at what cost to those who live and work there? The two documentaries, My Brooklyn and Fate of a Salesman tell of the many challenges (displacement, identity) and future for the people and small businesses facing gentrification in their communities.
Follow Tea Party activists Katy and John from the battleground state of Pennsylvania who believe America's salvation lies in a return to true conservative values. Town Hall is more than a political treatise, painting a portrait of the fears of those who believe they will be left behind by a nation's transition.
After Happily Ever After
After Happily Ever After is Emmy-winning filmmaker Kate Schermerhorn’s quirky, funny and moving personal quest for the secret to a happy marriage and for answers to some timely questions about the institution itself.
My Louisiana Love
A young woman’s quest to reunite with her Houma Indian family in Southeast Louisiana leads her to environmental activism and the documentation of her family’s struggle when she sees that her people’s traditional way of life is threatened by a cycle of man-made environmental crises.
The Lulu Sessions
They say love knows no bleeping boundaries. Dr. Louis Nutter, or Lulu, discovers that she is dying of breast cancer at the age of 42. In a raw yet humorous film about the final months of her life, Lulu and filmmaker S. Casper Wong test the limits of their bond and take on life’s ultimate adventure.
Revealing the impossibly eclectic community inhabiting a taxi garage in Queens, New York. Each day, a million New Yorkers depend on the anonymous faces behind the wheels, the men who tirelessly drive the city that doesn't sleep.
Code of the West
A showdown between state and nation, Code of the West follows the failed politics of marijuana policy reform in Montana and the federal crackdown on medical marijuana growers across the United States.
The Prep School Negro
Filmmaker André Robert Lee grew up in the ghettos of Philadelphia, where his mother struggled to support him and his sister. Receiving a full scholarship at the age of 14 to attend a prestigious prep school for an elite education was André's way up and out...but at what price to him and his family?
The New Public
Over the course of the founding year, and then the senior year of the first graduating class, The New Public follows the lives of the educators and students of Bed Stuy’s new Brooklyn Community Arts and Media High School. The film captures the complexities, frustrations and personal dramas that put public education at the center of national debate.
The Pruitt-Igoe Myth
The story of the profound ways in which American cities changed during the 20th century following World War II and how these changes have been misunderstood, through the lens of the infamous Pruitt-Igoe housing development and the St. Louis residents who called it home.
Set during an era of U.S. post-industrialization in which numerous factories have been exported, Downeast focuses on entrepreneur Antonio Bussone's journey of building and operating one of the first lobster factories in the United States, in the rural Maine village of Prospect Harbor.
The Way We Get By
On call 24 hours a day for the past five years, a group of senior citizens has made history by greeting nearly 800,000 American troops at a tiny airport in Bangor, Maine. A deeply moving film about life and how to live it, the film offers an intimate look at three of these greeters as they confront the losses that come with aging and rediscover their reason for living.
For more than 120 years, Mohawk ironworkers or 'sky walkers' have raised America’s modern cityscapes like the Brooklyn Bridge, the Empire State Building. Skydancer takes a provocative look at Indian life in the 21st Century: from the hierarchy on top of New York City's steel structures to life 'on the Rez' where problems like unemployment and crime make it hard to see the beauty of the land.
Trust: Second Acts in Young Lives
Follow 18-year-old Hondureña, Marlin, and fellow actors of Chicago’s Albany Park Theater Project as they transform her personal story into the daring, original play, Remember Me Like This.
American Dreams Deferred
Grad student William Caballero juggles family love with the challenges of breaking the cycle that has kept many of his relatives from reaching their "American dream." Set against the backdrop of Coney Island and Fayetteville, N.C., he turns the camera on his Puerto Rican-American family to examine U.S. health care and culture, and his own dreams.
The Medicine Game
The remarkable journey of two brothers from the Onondaga Nation driven by a single goal - to beat the odds and play lacrosse for Syracuse University. Facing daunting obstacles and crumbling dreams, they turn to family and their Native teachings for guidance and stability. Over six years, The Medicine Game follows their coming of age story to one of a study of modern Native American life.
For nearly 50 years, radio personality Bob Fass revolutionized late night FM radio by serving as a cultural hub for music, politics and audience participation. With Fass's archives, Radio Unnameable exposes the underexposed world of independent radio, and the relationship he and WBAI built with listeners to create one of the most successful listener-sponsored programs in the United States.
Building Babel follows a year in the life of Sharif El-Gamal, the developer of Park51 or the "Ground Zero Mosque," a Muslim-led community center two blocks from the World Trade Center. With unlimited access, the film paints a portrait of a Muslim-American businessman up against impossible odds.