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Source:  Los Angeles Times

Some documentary film makers are adept at addressing the structural forces that govern society, and others are skilled at emotional, character-driven storytelling, but few do both simultaneously with the richness and precision of Steve James.

James’ 1994 nonfiction epic, “Hoop Dreams,” is generally considered one of the greatest sports movies ever made, and he received an Oscar nomination for last year’s “Abacus: Small Enough to Jail,” which is in the process of being remade as a Hollywood courtroom drama.

James has directed a series of deeply personal films, but his extraordinary 10-part documentary series “America to Me,” which premiered earlier this month on Starz, hits especially close to home.

The docuseries follows the experiences of 12 students and their families over the course of the 2015-16 academic year at Oak Park and River Forest High School, a diverse, well-resourced school in a comfortable Chicago suburb that nevertheless has failed over and over in its attempts to address the achievement gap between white and black students.

Oak Park is James’ home, and Oak Park and River Forest High School is where he sent his three children. The series does not pull its punches in depicting Oak Park’s racial inequities.

Read the story at the Los Angeles Times. 

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