Through the lens of independent films, this series tells the many stories of a transforming American culture and its broad diversity. It takes an unfiltered look at relevant domestic topics (healthcare, immigration, the workplace, and politics) with personal storytelling tied to programming social themes. The series showcases films that will give viewers a "snapshot" of the transforming American life - the guts, the glory, the grit of a new and changing America. From contemporary life on Native American reservations to stories of recovery on the Gulf, from hardships and revitalization in towns big and small, to stories from city streets across the country, these independent, personal and opinionated films document the times in which we live.
America Reframed Previous Broadcasts
Drivers Wanted (Episode #211)
KQED World: Wed, Feb 26, 2014 -- 5:00 AM
This program reveals the impossibly eclectic community inhabiting a taxi garage in Queens, New York. Each day, a million New Yorkers depend on the anonymous faces behind the wheels, the men who tirelessly drive the city that doesn't sleep. The film follows Eric, a new immigrant from China with a fresh start in America. With dreams of his own business, and a wife and two young sons to support, he turns to a simple job - driving a taxicab. But the easy route proves to be a Herculean struggle for Eric, who can neither speak the language of his customers nor navigate the city's 6,174 miles of streets. Along for Eric's ride, we meet classic New York personalities, including the city's oldest taxi driver, the rumored inspiration behind Danny DeVito's Louie DePalma, and a melting pot of immigrants with dreams of making it in America.
- KQED World: Wed, Feb 26, 2014 -- 11:00 AM
Code of the West (Episode #205)
KQED World: Wed, Feb 19, 2014 -- 5:00 AM
At a time when the world is rethinking its drug policies large and small, one state rises to the forefront. Once a pioneer in legalizing medical marijuana, the state of Montana may now become the first to repeal its medical marijuana law. Set against the sweeping vistas of the Rockies, the steamy lamplight of marijuana grow houses, and the bustling halls of the State Capitol, this program follows the political process of marijuana policy reform and the recent federal crackdown on medical marijuana growers across the country. Chronicling the opinions and reactions of patients, growers, politicians, activists, and community members on both sides of the issue, the story paints an image of what happens when federal and state governments clash with communities in the crossfire, and the individuals involved who ultimately pay the price.
- KQED World: Sun, Feb 23, 2014 -- 6:00 AM
- KQED World: Sun, Feb 23, 2014 -- 12:00 AM
- KQED World: Wed, Feb 19, 2014 -- 11:00 AM
The Prep School Negro (Episode #212)
KQED World: Wed, Feb 12, 2014 -- 5:00 AM
Andre Robert Lee and his sister grew up in the ghettos of Philadelphia. Their mother struggled to support them by putting strings in the waistbands of track pants and swimsuits in a local factory. When Andre was 14 years old, he received what his family believed to be a golden ticket, a full scholarship to attend one of the most prestigious prep schools in the country. Elite education was Andre's way up and out, but at what price? Yes, the exorbitant tuition was covered, but this new world cost him and his family much more than anyone could have anticipated.
In this program, Andre takes a journey back in time to revisit the events of his adolescence while also spending time with current day prep school students of color and their classmates to see how much has really changed inside the ivory tower. What he discovers along the way is the poignant and unapologetic truth about who really pays the consequences for yesterday's accelerated desegregation and today's racial naivete.
- KQED World: Sun, Feb 16, 2014 -- 6:00 AM
- KQED World: Sun, Feb 16, 2014 -- 12:00 AM
- KQED World: Wed, Feb 12, 2014 -- 11:00 AM
The New Public (Episode #204)
KQED World: Wed, Feb 5, 2014 -- 6:00 AM
This program follows the lives of the ambitious educators and lively students of Bed Stuy's new Brooklyn Community Arts and Media High School (BCAM) over the course of the founding year, with the filmmakers returning three years later to again document the senior year of that first graduating class. Beginning in August 2006, just days before BCAM will open its doors for the first time. Dr. James O'Brien, former D.J. and point guard turned first-time principal, and his faculty of eight, take to the streets in Bed Stuy, Brooklyn to recruit students. Their enthusiasm is infectious and enticing: strong support for the individual student, a rigorous academic curriculum and unconventional arts electives taught by local artists. While at first running smoothly, as months go by, conflicts arise, and by the end of freshman year, the school's idealistic vision is addressing some issues, but aggravating others. Flash-forward to September 2010, the first day of senior year, the school is complete with 4 grades and 450 students, with a faculty that has grown from 8 to 50. Of the 104 students in their founding class, almost half have transferred or dropped out, leaving a senior class of 60 and only 30 on track to graduate. BCAM has made major adjustments, most notably, more disciplinary structure and no arts electives for seniors. What happens in the 4 years is both compelling and frustrating, and it's what makes The New Public a critical document of the complexities, frustrations and personal dramas that put public education at the center of national debate. What makes a kid or a school succeed are a series of complicated, interconnected dynamics, including, a re-evaluation of how we define success.
- KQED World: Sun, Feb 9, 2014 -- 6:00 AM
- KQED World: Sun, Feb 9, 2014 -- 12:00 AM
- KQED World: Wed, Feb 5, 2014 -- 12:00 PM
The Pruitt-Igoe Myth (Episode #209)
KQED World: Sun, Feb 2, 2014 -- 12:00 AM
This program tells the story of the transformation of the American city in the decades after World War II, through the lens of the infamous Pruitt-Igoe housing development and the St. Louis residents who called it home. At the film's historical center is an analysis of the massive impact of the national urban renewal program of the 1950s and 1960s, which prompted the process of mass suburbanization and emptied American cities of their residents, businesses, and industries. Those left behind in the city faced a destitute, rapidly de-industrializing St. Louis, parceled out to downtown interests and increasingly segregated by class and race. The residents of Pruitt-Igoe were among the hardest hit. Their gripping stories of survival, adaptation, and success are at the emotional heart of the film.
- KQED World: Sun, Feb 2, 2014 -- 6:00 AM