Filmmakers Joe Brewster and Michele Stephenson discuss their film project "American Promise."
Joe Brewster is the co-producer and co-director of American Promise. He and his partner, Michèle Stephenson, have produced and directed award winning feature documentaries and narrative films. Brewster is a Harvard/Stanford educated psychiatrist who specialized in organizational analysis, the use of psychoanalytical principals to understand and improve organizations. He traveled to New York City in 1985 to pursue media studies in the service of social change. In 1992, Brewster sold his first screenplay to the Jackson-McHenry group under the Warner Brothers imprint. In 1996 Brewster wrote and directed The Keeper, which was an official selection in the dramatic narrative competition section of the Sundance Film Festival and garnered numerous national and international awards including a Spirit Award nomination.
Michèle Stephenson is the co-producer and co-director of American Promise. A graduate of McGill University and Columbia University School of Law, Stephenson uses her background in critical studies, race and human rights to inform her documentary work. Her Panamanian and Haitian heritage has also fueled her passion to tackle stories on communities of color and human rights. An early pioneer in the Web 2.0 revolution, Stephenson used video and the internet to structure human rights campaigns and train people from across the globe in video internet advocacy. Her work has appeared on PBS, Showtime, MTV and other outlets. Stephenson’s honors include: Silverdocs International Documentary Film Festival Diversity Award; and the Henry Hampton Award for Excellence in Film and Digital Media.