In Kartemquin's American Arab, Iraqi-born Director Usama Alshaibi takes a provocative look at the contradictions of Arab identity in post 9/11 America, weaving his own life's journey and "coming-of-Arab" experiences into the life stories of several diverse characters. Exploring the values, passions, and hopes of his fellow Arab-Americans, Usama tries to make peace with his conflicted chosen homeland. Arab-Americans are not one monolithic group, but rather a diverse and complex array of many voices and cultures. This film weaves sadness and humor, anger and satire, provocation and understanding, embracing the multifaceted Arab American experience of post 9/11 America. By shedding light and giving clarity to a recent and difficult time for Arabs living in the US, American Arab shows how the struggles over identity within this documentary are universal.
The Mosque in Morgantown chronicles the unfolding drama within a Muslim mosque in small-town West Virginia and its struggle for identity in a changing world. The verite-style documentary follows the stories of mosque members, among them Asra Nomani, a former Wall Street Journal correspondent, as she pushes for change at the mosque her father founded three decades ago and also the path being driven by moderates and conservatives for change in a different direction. The film provides perspective on people determining the shape of their religious community.
In March 2005, Adama Bah a 16-year-old Muslim girl growing up in Harlem was detained by the FBI after she was accused of being a potential suicide bomber. Although no evidence was ever produced to support the claim, Adama had to wear an ankle bracelet and live under partial house arrest after she was released from detention. As Adama nervously awaits the outcome of a pending deportation order, the film follows the efforts of a Muslim activist, an ex-FBI agent, and Adama's 10-year-old brother as they each attempt to unravel the web of post-9/11 politics surrounding her arrest and the potential collapse of her family and future.
This program is an illuminating account of events too often relegated to footnotes in U.S. history -- the black urban rebellions of the 1960s. Focusing on the six-day Newark, New Jersey, outbreak in mid-July, "Revolution '67" reveals how the disturbance began as spontaneous revolts against poverty and police brutality and ended as fateful milestones in America's struggles over race and economic justice. Voices from across the spectrum -- activist Tom Hayden, journalist Bob Herbert, Mayor Sharpe James and other officials, National Guardsmen and Newark citizens - recall lessons as hard-earned then as they have been easy to neglect since.
For 80-year-old Sonia Sanchez, writing is both a personal and political act. She emerged as a seminal figure in the 1960s Black Arts Movement, raising her voice in the name of black culture, civil rights, women's liberation, and peace as a poet, playwright, teacher, activist and early champion of the spoken word. She is among the earliest poets to have incorporated urban black English into her poetry; she was one of the first activists to secure the inclusion of African American studies in university curricula. Deemed "a lion in literature's forest" by poet Maya Angelou and winner of major literary awards including the American Book Award, Sonia Sanchez is best known for 17 books of poetry that explore a wide range of global and humanist themes, particularly the struggles and triumphs of women and people of color. In BaddDDD Sonia Sanchez, Sanchez's life unfolds in a documentary rich with readings and jazz-accompanied performances of her work. With appearances by Questlove, Talib Kweli, Ursula Rucker, Amiri Baraka, Haki Madhubuti, Jessica Care Moore, Ruby Dee, Yasiin Bey, Ayana Mathis, Imani Uzuri and Bryonn Bain, the documentary examines Sanchez's contribution to the world of poetry, her singular place in the Black Arts Movement and her leadership role in African American culture over the last half century.
IF YOU BUILD IT follows designer-activists Emily Pilloton and Matthew Miller to rural Bertie County, the poorest in North Carolina, where they work with local high school students to help transform both their community and their lives. Living on credit and grant money and fighting a change-resistant school board, Pilloton and Miller lead their students through a year-long, full-scale design and build project that does much more than just teach basic construction skills: it shows ten teenagers the power of design-thinking to re-invent not just their town but their own sense of what's possible.
Andre Robert Lee and his sister grew up in the ghettos of Philadelphia. Their mother struggled to support them by putting strings in the waistbands of track pants and swimsuits in a local factory. When Andre was 14 years old, he received what his family believed to be a golden ticket, a full scholarship to attend one of the most prestigious prep schools in the country. Elite education was Andre's way up and out, but at what price? Yes, the exorbitant tuition was covered, but this new world cost him and his family much more than anyone could have anticipated. In The Prep School Negro, Andre takes a journey back in time to revisit the events of his adolescence while also spending time with current day prep school students of color and their classmates to see how much has really changed inside the ivory tower. What he discovers along the way is the poignant and unapologetic truth about who really pays the consequences for yesterday's accelerated desegregation and today's racial naivete.
Clinging to the last affordable housing in a rapidly gentrifying city, a determined group of neighbors struggle to save their homes from destruction when the City of New Haven, CT proposes to build a new school complex where their properties stand.
Dionicia M. lives in the stables at a California racetrack and works long hours caring for racehorses while her teenage son Jose Luis is turning heads as a hotshot apprentice jockey. Dionicia and Jose Luis have gambled their futures on the hardscrabble sport of horse racing. Will they succeed or will their lack of immigration papers prevent them from achieving the stable life of their dreams?
Hope is 30 years old and fighting to save her historic African American neighborhood from encroachment by an elite white fraternity, one known to fly a Confederate flag and hold an annual antebellum parade. On one block in Athens GA two communities steeped in history - one black, one white - strive to keep their respective legacies relevant in a changing American South, and the nation as a whole. "Old South" provides a window into the underlying dynamics of race relations that influence so many American communities. And ultimately inspires hope, reflection, and a crucial step forward.