Synopsis by Mark Deming
In 1999, the Dalton School, one of New York City's most prestigious and respected private schools, made a new commitment to creating a diverse student body, and established scholarship opportunities that would enable more deserving minority candidates to attend. Five-year-old Idris Brewster and his close friend Seun Summers were two African-American students admitted to Dalton under this program, and Idris' parents, filmmakers Joe Brewster and Michele Stephenson, set out to document the boys' experiences. Brewster and Stephenson followed Idris and Seun's progress over the next twelve years, and in the documentary American Promise, we're offered an intimate look at how they reacted to a rigorous academic environment, their issues with being African-American in a school still dominated by white students and faculty, and the universal challenges of growing up, as well as the boys' struggles with racial identity in and out of school and Idris' relationship with his often quarreling parents. American Promise received its world premiere at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival.
African-American, progress, scholarship, school