The American Question
In November 2016, my friend Guy called me to tell me about an idea he had to make a documentary. We spent the next two hours talking about the election, the snapshot of American history in which we were living, and what it all means. There was a story to be told and I decided I wanted to be part of telling it.
The film is about the social and political gaps in America and is part of a nationwide project to explore and reverse the trends of division. We set out to understand the fears of a dying American dream along with wavering American values.
From the coast to the heart of the nation, we found stories that will inspire you, make you cry, think, engage and review what it means to be American in a time when many on both sides are trying to reclaim their identity. After amassing over 100 hours of footage of Americans of all backgrounds, we found that despite shared American values – equality, equal access to opportunity, freedom of speech, etc. – average citizens are abandoning each other.
One thing remains true: Americans across the spectrum want to believe that their country and community will bring them prosperity – the American Dream. Yet, when offered today’s choices in leadership and socioeconomic opportunity, disenfranchised citizens are deciding to “go it alone” for fear of “the other” and of being left behind by leaders who turn a blind eye to their needs. They are choosing to disregard their fellow Americans and the values that have unified America as one nation for over two centuries.
We will build our story on the notion that countries function when they have a shared set of values – the kind that have propelled the United States through revolution, civil war, economic depression and many decades on political roller coasters. Antonio Garcia Martinez writes in Chaos Monkeys that an entire society descends into chaos when they lose their healthy founding “myths.” This is where the problem and our film’s conversation begin…
The story we produce and debut at Sundance 2018 will be the start of a national conversation. Already national leaders are joining our advisory board and local groups are teaming up with us to lead the effort to re-establish a common ground on which we can optimistically march forth into the future.