American Promise: New York Film Festival 2013

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New York Film Festival 2013: American Promise

New York Film Festival 2013: American Promise


When Idris Brewster and Seun Summers were four years old, their respective parents enrolled them at Dalton, the prestigious Manhattan private school. For 14 years, Brewster’s mom and dad—Michèle Stephenson and Joe Brewster—filmed the African-American boys’ progress through the largely white learning institution; Summers would eventually switch to a Brooklyn public school. Life’s challenges, in the form of learning disabilities and deaths in the family, would throw these young men some serious curveballs. Given the way this long-game documentary charts two diverging paths, comparisons to Hoop Dreams will be inevitable (and not wholly undeserved). But while American Promise lacks the state-of-the-nation impact of that landmark doc, it doesn’t mean you won’t feel the pleasure of these kids’ triumphs, the pain of their tragedies or the pressures of ambition, affecting parents as much as students. Click for showtimes.—David Fear

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