Santa Monica, CA (August 24, 2018) – Today Participant Media and Starz, a Lionsgate Company (NYSE: LGF.A, LGF.B), launched the nationwide civic engagement and educational outreach campaign tied to the release of the upcoming acclaimed 10-part docuseries “America to Me,” from Emmy Award®-winning and Oscar®-nominated filmmaker Steve James (Hoop Dreams, The Interrupters, Life Itself, Abacus: Small Enough to Jail). The 10-city program kicks off in Atlanta at the Center for Civil and Human Rights and rolls out over the course of 10 weeks, with the goal of sparking thousands of conversations in communities across the nation about race and equity highlighted by the series. “America to Me” will premiere on Sunday, August 26 at 10 PM ET/PT on STARZ.
Alongside the release of each new episode, the campaign – called America to Me: Real Talk – brings together a broad cross-section of influencers, stakeholders, educators, students, parents and advocates for a high-profile screening event in each city every week to encourage candid conversations about racial disparity and equality.
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“’America to Me’ has been such a seminal moment in my personal and professional life as an opportunity to help educate and change mindsets, including my own, about race and education in America today,” said Steve James, director of “America to Me.” “I am so encouraged by this campaign and am proud to be working with Participant Media and Starz in sparking a nationwide conversation and bringing greater awareness to this vital topic for so many.”
Accompanying the campaign will be a downloadable Community Conversation Toolkit, which will include discussion guides for each episode, as well as immersive activities – all aimed at equipping participants with the tools to identify, address and create solutions to structural inequalities and the ‘opportunity gap’ within their own schools and communities. The campaign is signing up discussion group leaders to host these conversations and lead the change they want to see.
“The conversation about race and equity in education across America today could not be more timely,” said Holly Gordon, Chief Impact Officer for Participant Media. “We are so pleased to be partnering with leaders in cities across America to spark dialogue, challenge assumptions, and imagine a path forward to a more perfect and equal America.”
“America to Me” follows students, teachers and administrators in suburban Chicago’s Oak Park and River Forest High School (OPRF), one of the country’s highest performing and diverse public schools, over the course of a year, as they grapple with decades-long racial and educational inequities — in addition to the challenges that today’s teenagers face. Digging deep into the experiences of a racially diverse student population, “America to Me” sparks candid conversations about what has succeeded and what has failed in the quest to achieve racial equity and overcome obstacles in our education system.
Among the notable organizations who have joined the nationwide campaign include: Bank of America; Education Forward D.C.; The Blank Foundation; Boston School Finder; The Dobkin Family Foundation; Belk Foundation; MacArthur Foundation; The Center for Civil and Human Rights; National Equity Project; Integrate NYC; Boston Schools Fund; Dig Deep for Equity; DC Equity Lab; Glasgow Group; Communities Foundation of Texas; Dallas Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation (TRHT); and others.
Joining filmmakers and subjects from the series are speakers including former Mayor of Atlanta Shirley Jones and former Secretary of Education John King.
“America to Me” made its world premiere with the first five episodes at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival in the new “Indie Episodic” category. Episodes were also previewed at Full Frame and AFI DOCS.
James directed, edited and executive produced the 10-part documentary series via his longtime production home, Kartemquin Films. The series is executive produced by Participant Media’s Jeff Skoll (Wonder) and Diane Weyermann (Human Flow), and by Justine Nagan (Minding the Gap), Gordon Quinn (The Trials of Muhammad Ali) and Betsy Steinberg (Edith+Eddie) for Kartemquin FIlms.
Bing Liu (Minding the Gap), Rebecca Parrish (Radical Grace) and Kevin Shaw (The Street Stops Here) served as segment directors. John Condne (Love. Blood. Kryptonite.) served as the series producer, along with Risé Sanders-Weir (Chicago Stories). Film editors were Leslie Simmer (Raising Bertie) and David E. Simpson (Maya Angelou: And Still I Rise).
For more information on “America to Me” and access to press materials and show assets, please visit the STARZ Media Room, compatible with iPad devices: https://mediaroom.starz.com
“America to Me” Online
For more information, go to the official STARZ Facebook Page and follow @STARZ on Twitter and Instagram. Join the conversation with #AmericaToMe and #STARZ.
Campaign Schedule and Details
Atlanta – Friday, August 24
- Location: Center for Civil and Human Rights and World of Coca-Cola Theater
- Partners: The Blank Foundation, Bank of America, The Center for Civil and Human Rights
- From the series: Grant Lee (student) and his mom, Kathleen Lee
- Special guest: Former Mayor of Atlanta Shirley Franklin
Detroit – Tuesday, August 28
- Location: Cinema Detroit
- Partners: Bank of America, Eastern Market, Detroit Equity Action Lab
- From the series: Kevin Shaw (segment director)
- Special guests: Dan Carmody, President of Eastern Market and OPRF alum; Dr. Nikolai Vitti, Superintendent, Detroit Public Schools; Chastity Pratt Dawsey, Bridge Magazine
New York – Saturday, September 8
- Location: Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Langston Hughes Auditorium
- Partners: Dobkin Family Foundation, Integrate NYC, Young Men’s Initiative (YMI), New York Appleseed
- Workshop partner: Integrate NYC
- From the series: Steve James and Jada Buford (student)
Boston – Thursday, September 13
- Location: Boston Public Library, Rabb Auditorium
- Partners: Boston School Finder, Boston School Fund, Bank of America, Disruptive Equity Education Project (D.E.E.P.), Harvard R.I.D.E.S.
- Workshop partner: D.E.E.P.
- From the series: Kendale McCoy (student) and Kevin Shaw
Los Angeles – Sunday, September 23
- Location: Writers Guild Theater
- Partners: Starz, Bank of America
- From the series: Steve James, Jessica Stovall (teacher), Ke’Shawn Kumsa (student)
Washington, D.C. – Thursday, September 27
- Location: Howard University, Cramton Auditorium
- Partners: Education Forward DC, Bank of America, Glasgow Group, DC Equity Lab
- Workshop partners: DC Equity Lab, Glasgow Group
- From the series: Jada Buford, Rebecca Parish
- Moderator: Former Secretary of Education John King
Dallas – Wednesday, October 3
- Location: Communities Foundation of Texas
- Partners: Communities Foundation of Texas, Bank of America, TRHT Dallas, Uplift, George W. Bush Institute
- Workshop partner: TRHT Dallas
- From the series: Ke’Shawn Kumsa and his mom, Danielle Robinson
Charlotte – Wednesday, October 10
- Location: 1BAC
- Partners: Bank of America, Levine Museum of the New South, Belk Foundation
- Workshop partner: TBD
- From the series: Steve James, Tiara Oliphant (student)
Oakland – Thursday, October 18
- Location: New Parkway Theater
- Partners: Bank of America, National Equity Project
- Workshop partner: National Equity Project
- From the series: Jessica Stovall, Gabe Townsell (student)
Chicago – Thursday, October 25
- Location: TBD
- Partners: Bank of America, MacArthur Foundation, Starz, Comcast
- Workshop partner: Chicago United for Equity
- From the series: Steve James, others TBD