About This Season
Through the lens of independent documentaries, America ReFramed brings to national audiences compelling stories that illuminate the changing contours of an ever-evolving America. The 26-week, social-issue documentary series presents an array of personal voices and experiences through which we learn from our past, understand our present and are challenged to seek new frameworks for America’s future.
Season four of America ReFramed curates a diverse selection of films highlighting innovative and artistic approaches to storytelling from emerging to 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. Several episodes feature a roundtable discussion moderated by host Natasha Del Toro with special guest commentators and filmmakers.
In 2015, America ReFramed won a GRACIE Outstanding Series award, and was nominated for an EMMY award as well as an Independent Documentary Association award for best curated series. In its first season, America ReFramed received five 2013 CINE Golden Eagle Awards, and one Imagen Awards nomination.
America ReFramed is a co-production of WORLD Channel and American Documentary, Inc., and is hosted by journalist Natasha Del Toro. Funding for season four of America ReFramed is provided by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.
In a classic tale of two cities, Old South delivers a quiet yet emotionally charged portrait of two communities living on one block. Steeped in history – one black, one white – each strives to keep their respective legacies relevant in a changing American South.
“Why is being an Arab suddenly the opposite of being a decent man?” Throughout American Arab, Iraqi-American Director Usama Alshaibi explores what it’s like to occupy the ‘space in between’ as a hyphenated American, specifically of Arab origin, during the surge of anti-Muslim sentiment that arose in post 9/11 America.
The Mosque in Morgantown
The Mosque in Morgantown is an observational documentary that follows Asra Nomani’s early activism and backlash within her W. Virginia mosque, telling a story about competing paths to social change, American identity and the nature of religion itself. Though not always politically correct, the film reveals a truth that may surprise many Americans.
In March 2005, an FBI document leaked to the press mysteriously identified Adama Bah, a 16-year-old teenager from Harlem, NY, as an “imminent threat to the security of the United States.” Adama provides a timely perspective on the experiences of American Muslims at a time when their religion is being equated, by some, with violence and terror.
Focusing on what is known as "The Newark Riots," Revolution '67 reveals how a spontaneous revolt against poverty and police brutality ended as a fateful milestone in urban America's struggles over race and economic justice. The film also provides a historical framework to contextualize recent events in Ferguson, MO and Baltimore, MD.
BaddDDD Sonia Sanchez
The personal is political. BaddDDD Sonia Sanchez is a portrait of the artist, revealing her uncompromising life as she raised her voice in the name of black culture, civil rights, women's liberation, and world peace. The film captures Sanchez's commitment to cultural specificity while connecting history and humanities to the mainstream.
Divide in Concord
Divide in Concord is an engaging tale about a contemporary debate: individual freedom vs. collective responsibility, and how this relates to American democracy. Driving the debate is a fiery 84-year-old grandmother, who presents a bylaw to ban the sale of single-serve plastic water bottles. But can one person take on the bottled water industry?
How strong is a woman’s desire to be a mother? After marrying the woman of her dreams, Lexy and wife Jessica set out to start a family. The couple spend their life savings on getting pregnant but it turns out to be more difficult than anticipated. Romeo Romeo is an intimate portrait of a modern marriage and the struggle with infertility.
Hot dogs and apple pie are not merely symbols of the American Dream. In Dog Days, they are the things those dreams are made of - literally. This story unfolds through the working relationship between Coite, who risks his capital to embark on a new food business, and single mother Siyone, a food vendor from Eritrea dreaming of freedom.
Children of the Arctic
At the Arctic edge of America, Native Alaskan teenagers strive to be both modern American kids, and the inheritors of an ancient whaling culture, language and tradition. Children of the Arctic is a year-in-the-life portrait of Native youth coming of age in Barrow, Alaska, and the decisions they have to make about their futures.
Reversing the Mississippi
In Missouri, social innovator Marcin Jakubowski's Global Village Construction Set provides free blueprints to fabricate everything needed for a self-sustaining village. In New Orleans, Nat Turner teaches kids how to work the land, but has limited resources and broken equipment. If these two men meet might they be able to make real change?
City of Trees
A personal story about the struggle to achieve social, economic and environmental change during the worst recession in a generation, City of Trees captures the tension-filled last six months of a two-year grant cycle for Washington D.C.'s nonprofit organization Washington Parks & People, and the close-out of a $2.7 million stimulus grant.
In An Ideal World
Over seven years, In An Ideal World follows three men in CA’s Soledad prison — John, a white separatist murderer, Sam, a black ex-gang member and Ben, a warden. Challenged for the first time by a mixed-race program, and with pressure from the courts to integrate, the men struggle to move beyond the stark realities of America’s prison system.
16-year-old judo and wrestling phenom Teshya Alo weighs 125 pounds and can throw women twice her age. Follow the journey of this part-Polynesian Hawai‘ian teenager, and her family in Winning Girl which tells the story of an elite athlete on her ascent, a girl facing the challenges of growing up and an entire family dedicated to a single dream.
The Grace Lee Project
Growing up, Grace Lee was the only “Grace Lee” she knew. Upon moving to New York and California, she discovered quite the opposite. In her quest to uncover how the name “Grace” became ubiquitous among Asian Americans, the filmmaker speaks with many subjects named Grace Lee, focusing on the individuality and humanity of all who share her name.
A thrilling tale, Operation Popcorn explores the fate of ten Hmong American leaders and a retired U.S. Army officer who are accused of conspiring together to overthrow the communist government of Laos. Seven years in the making, the film sheds light on the fragile relationships between individuals and the American surveillance state.
My Life in China
An unvarnished portrait of the life and memories of a stoic and reticent man committed to his family, My Life in China retraces the perilous steps filmmaker Kenneth Eng's father chanced in search of a better life. Exploring the themes of home, exile and belonging, the film is a story about promise, purpose and living life without regrets.
The Last Season
Each September, the town of Chemult, Oregon is flooded with mushroom hunters. Many are immigrants from Laos, Cambodia and Thailand who entered the U.S. as refugees in the 1980s. Here, veterans Kouy Loch and Roger Higgins find more than just the rare matsutake in the woods; they create a familial bond and a means to slowly heal the wounds of war.
A rarely represented insider's perspective, College Week documents the impact of teacher and parent involvement on student success at Spencer Elementary Technology Academy. Despite the Chicago neighborhood's high rates of poverty and crime, a caring community of home owners and working class families are striving to make positive changes.
Before You Know It
Dennis, Ty and Robert are pioneers in an "out" generation. They are also among the estimated 2.4 million LGBT Americans over the age of 55. Before You Know It celebrates the lives of active gay senior citizens who have witnessed unbelievable change in their lifetimes: from the Stonewall Riots to the HIV/AIDS pandemic and gay marriage rights.
The Hand That Feeds
At a popular bakery café in Manhattan, patrons get served with a smile 24 hours a day. Behind the scenes, some of the undocumented immigrant workers earn far below the minimum wage. Filmed at the onset of the service economy wage wars, The Hand That Feeds tells the story of the power struggle that turned a single city block into a battlefield.
Buried Above Ground
Filmed over six years, Buried Above Ground follows three Americans fighting to overcome the paralyzing grip of PTSD. Intimate moments illustrate how the road to recovery takes many shapes while being fraught with obstacles and setbacks. Over time and with support, each finds hope and pathways to living a meaningful and purposeful life.
Class of '27
In rural America, children face the prospect of a compromised future. United by hope, inspiration and resiliency, Class of '27 focuses on early childhood education in struggling communities, highlighting the efforts of families, educators and leaders working to get their youngest children on track toward graduating from high school.
In the Game
“In life you deal with what’s dealt your way. When you get knocked down, just get up right away. Never give up.” In the Game follows a girls’ soccer team in an inner-city Chicago high school to reveal the obstacles confronted by Latinas as they seek an education amid issues of class and gender in the working class Brighton Park neighborhood.
We Like It Like That
Created by largely Puerto Rican, Cuban and African American youths living alongside each other in the 1960s, Boogaloo served as an authentic and vibrant cultural expression. We Like It Like That explores a pivotal moment in '60s music history when blues, funk and traditional Caribbean rhythms were fused to define a new generation of urban Latinos.
Today, the Inupiaq Eskimo must navigate an uncertain future 80 miles above the Arctic Circle on a fragile barrier island disappearing due to climate change. Kivalina is a quiet but stirring portrait immersing viewers into the rarely seen lives of an Arctic tribe who try to continue to honor their way of life despite the government failing them.
Chronicling the ongoing conflict over the issue of tribal rights between the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma and the Cherokee Freedmen, descendants of African American slaves. By Blood explores a largely untold history and the impact of a battle over race, identity, and the sovereign rights of Native American people.