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CFI Education

Monday, January 13, 2014 from 12:00 PM to 2:00 PM (PST)


Ticket Information

Type End Quantity


Event Details

Community Cinema

A series of  free matinee screenings
with post-film discussions


                              Co-directors/Co-producers: Joe Brewster, Michèle Stephenson

Monday, January 13th

Please note start and finish time

12:00 - 2:00 pm

Please note start and finish time

Christopher B. Smith Rafael Film Center
1118 Fourth Street, San Rafael, CA 94901


Click photo to view trailer  

American Promise spans 13 years as Joe Brewster and Michèle Stephenson, middle-class African-American parents in Brooklyn, N.Y., turn their cameras on their son, Idris, and his best friend, Seun, who make their way through one of the most prestigious private schools in the country. Chronicling the boys' divergent paths from kindergarten through high school graduation at Manhattan's Dalton School, this provocative, intimate documentary presents complicated truths about America's struggle to come of age on issues of race, class and opportunity. Winner, U.S. Documentary Special Jury Award, 2013 Sundance Film Festival. A co-production of Rada Film Group, ITVS and POV’s Diverse Voices Project.

To coincide with the POV documentary, Spiegel & Grau will publish PROMISES KEPT: Raising Black Boys to Succeed in School and in Life–Lessons Learned from the 12-Year American Promise Project, by Joe Brewster and Michèle Stephenson with Hilary Beard. Where American Promise raises provocative questions, PROMISES KEPT delivers answers, combining insights Brewster and Stephenson derived from their own experiences with the latest research on closing the black male achievement gap, providing readers with an unprecedented toolkit full of practical strategies from infancy through the teenaged years.

This film will be on PBS/POV on  2/3/14

About the Filmmakers:
Michèle Stephenson, Producer and Director A graduate of McGill University and Columbia Law School, Michèle Stephenson uses her background in critical studies, race and human rights to inform her documentary work. Her Panamanian and Haitian heritage has also fueled her passion to tackle stories on communities of color and human rights. An early pioneer in the Web 2.0 revolution, Stephenson used video and the Internet to structure human rights campaigns and train people from around the globe in video Internet advocacy. Her work has appeared on PBS, Showtime, MTV and other outlets. Stephenson's honors include the Silverdocs Diversity Award and the Henry Hampton Award for Excellence in Film and Digital Media.

Joe Brewster, Producer and Director Joe  Brewster is a Harvard- and Stanford-educated psychiatrist who specializes in organizational analysis, the use of psychoanalytical principals to understand and improve organizations. He moved to New York City in 1985 to pursue media studies in the service of social change. In 1992, Brewster sold his first screenplay to the Jackson/McHenry group under the Warner Bros. imprint. In 1996, he wrote and directed The Keeper, which was an official selection in the dramatic narrative competition section of the Sundance Film Festival and garnered numerous national and international awards, including an Independent Spirit Award nomination.

Q & A immediately following the film with:


Chinna Ford is an alumna of 10,000 Degrees and presently the College Access field intern and mentor to over 60 youth. Chinna received her BA in Ethnic Studies from California State University East Bay and in 2012 served as Director of College, Letters, Arts and Social Science on the Board of Directors for Associated Students Incorporated at the university. She is currently starting the process for graduate school and interested in one day running for city council in her community.

Rondell Gibson,  received his Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Saint Mary's College, California. He is an alumna of 10,000 Degrees and has been working as one of their College Advisors for the past three years aiding students and their families on college, financial aid and career options. He is currently volunteering his time in Marin City by serving time on the Public Safety Committee and the Advisory Board for the Sheriff's Department in Marin City. Rondell takes an active role in the community, building personal relationships with younger students to help them relate. Rondell is a strong activist for change in Marin City where his work and volunteer work reflect a positive influence on the community.


  Presented in partnership with:

Community Cinema logo

                                                       Co-Sponsored by:                                                         

Free ticket reservations to this screening available
ONLY through this EVENTBRITE invitation



If after reserving tickets you find that you or your group cannot attend, please cancel your reservation.

CFI Education is proud to be a part of Community Cinema , a ground-breaking public education and civic engagement initiative featuring monthly screenings of films from the
Emmy Award-winning PBS series Independent Lens. For more information about Community Cinema and for study guides visit www.pbs.org/independentlens/communitycinema


For information about CFI Education visit www.cafilm.org/education



Have questions about AMERICAN PROMISE? Contact CFI Education

When & Where

Christopher B. Smith Rafael Film Center
1118 Fourth Street
San Rafael, CA 94901

Monday, January 13, 2014 from 12:00 PM to 2:00 PM (PST)

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CFI Education

CFI Education provides students of all ages and of diverse backgrounds the opportunity to learn about themselves and the world through film.


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