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.
Rada Film Group
The Rada Film Group began as a partnership between Joe Brewster and Michèle Stephenson with a mission: to create compelling visual stories that provoke thought about the complex multicultural world we live in. Their current documentary film American Promise was conceived in 1999 as a vehicle to celebrate the importance of diversity and acknowledge the work of British director, Michael Apted. Through their work with American Promise Brewster and Stephenson have been Sundance Documentary Fund fellows, Tribeca All-Access fellows and BAVC Producer's Institute fellows. They have received support from the Ford Foundation, the MacArthur Foundation, Open Society Foundations Campaign for Black Male Achievement, the Kellogg Foundation, the Fledgling Fund, New York State Council on the Arts, the National Black Programming Consortium, ITVS, and the POV Diversity Fund. Brewster and Stephenson are also recipients of the 2012 San Francisco Film Society Documentary Award, the Jerome Foundation film grant, the Tribeca Gucci Fund Award and a 2012 Tribeca New Media Award.
In 2013, their film, American Promise won the US Documentary Special Jury Award for Achievement in Filmmaking at the Sundance Film Festival and Full Frame Festival’s top-prize – the Reva and David Logan Grand Jury Award for feature-length documentary.
All [stories] are about certain minorities: the individual is a minority. The universal in the [story] is reached only through the depiction of the specific man in a specific circumstance.
Ralph Ellison, The Paris Review 1955
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