Most parents probably can’t imagine recording a day, or even a year of their children’s academic lives. Two parents did it for over a decade.
For 13 years, filmmakers Joe Brewster and Michèle Stephenson turned the cameras on their son Idris Brewster and his best friend Seun Summers as they attended one of the most prestigious private schools in New York City. The result of editing more than 500 hours of footage into 135 minutes is the documentary, American Promise, a film that chronicles the difficulties two boys face as black males in a predominantly white institution.
The idea for the documentary started when Brewster and Stephenson’s son Idris was accepted into kindergarten at the Dalton School, an elite and predominantly white private school in Manhattan. The school had recently launched an initiative to recruit more students of color, hoping to make its student body more representative of the city’s racial diversity.