About This Season
Each year through the lens of 26 independent films, America ReFramed tells the stories of a diverse and transforming America: what makes us different -- race, ethnicity, religion, sexual preference, abilities -- as well as what we share in common.
Season two of America ReFramed continues to showcase a diverse range of films, providing viewers a "snapshot" of the transforming American life. From towns big and small, on city streets and country roads, the guts, glory and grit of these personal stories document the times in which we live while challenging today's principal issues in the reframing of America. Each new episode examines the film and its subject matter using a roundtable discussion moderated by Natasha Del Toro, who will be joined by an array of guest commentators, including award-winning documentary filmmaker Shola Lynch ("Chisholm '72: Unbought & Unbossed").
America ReFramed is a co-production of American Documentary, Inc. and WORLD Channel. Funding for season two of America ReFramed is provided by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.
Building Babel follows a year-in-the-life of Sharif El-Gamal, the developer of Park 51, or the "Ground Zero Mosque," a Muslim-led community center to be located two blocks from the former site of the destroyed World Trade Center. With unlimited access, the film paints a portrait of a Muslim-American businessman up against impossible odds.
For nearly 50 years, Bob Fass revolutionized late-night radio by serving as a cultural hub for music, politics and audience participation. Radio Unnameable explores the underexposed world of independent radio and the relationship forged between Fass and his audience to create one of the most successful listener-sponsored programs in the U.S.
The Medicine Game
Two brothers from the Onondaga Nation are driven by a single goal -- to beat the odds and play lacrosse for Syracuse University. Facing crumbling dreams, they turn to family to help with failing grades and standardized tests. The Medicine Game utilizes their coming-of-age story to examine the challenges of modern Native American life.
The New Public
The New Public follows the lives of the educators and students of Bed Stuy’s brand-new Brooklyn Community Arts and Media High School, from the founding year to the senior year of its first graduating class. The film captures the complexities, frustrations and personal dramas that put public education at the center of a national debate.
Code of the West
In a showdown between a state and the nation, Code of the West follows the Montana politics of marijuana policy reform, and the federal crackdown on medical marijuana growers in this state and across America.
Plagues and Pleasures on the Salton Sea
An offbeat portrait of the unusual people who populate the shores of the Salton Sea, this epic western tale depicts fantastic real estate ventures, 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.
American Dreams Deferred
William Caballero juggles loyalty to his family with the challenges of breaking the cycle that has kept many of his relatives from reaching their "American dream." The grad student turns the camera on his Puerto Rican-American family to examine the clash with U.S. culture, challenges like immigration and health care as well as the quest for his dreams.
Trust: Second Acts in Young Lives
An 18-year-old Hondureña, Marlin, with fellow actors of Chicago’s Albany Park Theater Project, transforms her personal story of betrayal and abuse into the daring, original play, “Remember Me Like This.”
For more than 120 years, Mohawk ironworkers or 'sky walkers' have raised and topped America’s modern cityscapes. Skydancer takes a provocative look at Native American life in the 21st Century: from the hierarchy atop NYC's steel structures to life 'on the Rez' where problems like unemployment and crime make it hard to see the beauty of the land.
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 returning American troops at a Bangor, ME airport. A deeply moving film about life and how to live it, the film offers a look at three of these greeters as they confront the losses that come with aging and rediscover reasons to go on living.
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. She seizes the opportunity to document her family’s struggle when her people’s traditional way of life is threatened by a cycle of man-made, environmental crises.
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? My Brooklyn and Fate of a Salesman illustrate the challenges of displacement, loss of identity, and a questionable future for the people and small businesses faced with gentrification in their communities.
Set in era of America’s post-industrialization, during which many factories had been exported overseas, Downeast focuses on entrepreneur Antonio Bussone's efforts to build and operate one of the first U.S. lobster factories in the rural Maine village of Prospect Harbor.
The Pruitt-Igoe Myth
The story of the profound ways that some American cities changed for the worse following World War II is told through the lens of the infamous Pruitt-Igoe housing development and the St. Louis residents who called it home.
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?
Each day, New Yorkers depend on the anonymous faces behind steering wheels, the men and women who tirelessly drive cabs for the city that doesn't sleep. Revealing the impossibly eclectic and diverse community of drivers inhabiting a taxi garage in Queens, New York, Drivers Wanted details the difficult and, at times, dangerous job of earning daily fares.
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.
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 mother and child.
Tea Party activists Katy and John, from the battleground state of Pennsylvania, believe America's salvation lies in a return to true conservative values. Town Hall is more than a political treatise; in exquisite detail, it depicts the concerns of those who believe they will be left behind by a nation they fear is spiraling downward.
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 had on the lives of all those touched by it.
Come Hell or High Water: The Battle for Turkey Creek
The journey of citizen-turned-activist, Derrick Evans, begins when the graves of his ancestors are bulldozed to make way for sprawling Gulfport, MS. Derrick and his neighbors decide to stand up to corporate interests and politicians. Later, they face Hurricane Katrina and the BP oil disaster in order to protect the community and fight for environmental justice.
Honest, heartbreaking and funny, filmmaker Charlotte Glynn chronicles her sister, Rachel, who is developmentally disabled and in her last year at school. The film moves past the safety of politeness and political correctness to explore the most intimate moments of their family's life.
Dignity Harbor documents a year at a homeless encampment along the Mississippi River, north of the St. Louis Arch. The “inhabitants” must survive in the cold of winter, but as temperatures drop and tempers rise, they find it difficult to stay together peacefully. Meanwhile, city officials keep an eye on the area, waiting for an excuse 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 the post-war minefield of social and psychological reintegration into civilian life, which proves to be as formidable a battle as the firefights they thought they had left behind.
Broken Heart Land
On an autumn afternoon in Norman, Oklahoma, gay teen Zack Harrington killed himself with a gunshot to the head. Against the backdrop of a town bitterly divided on the issue of homosexuality, his parents -- both conservative Republicans and military veterans -- are forced to reconcile their own social and political beliefs with their son's death.