Q&A with: Steve James (Oscar®-nominated American film producer/director), Jessica Stovall (teacher/cast), and Holly Gordon (Participant Media’s Chief Impact Officer).
Moderated by: Liz Shannon Miller (Freelance TV Journalist)
America to Me, the groundbreaking 10-part docuseries from Oscar®-nominated filmmaker Steve James, fearlessly tackles issues of race, equity, culture and privilege as it follows one year in the life of students, teachers and administrators at Chicagoland’s Oak Park and River Forest High School. Inspired by this powerful series, hear how Participant Media’s innovative “Real Talk” campaign helped seed a nationwide conversation around race and equity – offering tools, strategies, resources and training to disrupt every day racism in our schools and communities.
Steve James most recent film, Abacus: Small Enough to Jail, was nominated for an Academy Award®, a Directors Guild of America Award, was named Best Political Documentary at the Critics’ Choice Awards and won numerous festival awards. James’ other award-winning work includes Hoop Dreams, winner of every major critics prize including a Peabody and Robert F. Kennedy Award; Stevie, winner of the Sundance Cinematography Award, IDFA Grand Jury Prize and the Yamagata Mayor’s Prize, among others; the Independent Documentary Association Award-winning miniseries “The New Americans”; Tribeca Grand Prize winner The War Tapes, which James produced and edited; At the Death House Door, co-directed with Peter Gilbert, and winner of numerous festival awards; “No Crossover: The Trial of Allen Iverson” for ESPN’s Peabody winning “30 for 30” series; The Interrupters, which won an Emmy®, Independent Spirit Award and the DuPont Columbia Journalism Award; and Life Itself, which won an Emmy and was named the best documentary of the year by over a dozen critics associations, Rotten Tomatoes, The Critics’ Choice Awards, The National Board of Review, and The Producers Guild of America.
Jessica Stovall is a first-year PhD student in Stanford’s Graduate School of Education’s Race Inequality and Language in Education program . Previously she taught English 11 years at Oak Park River and Forest High School (OPRFHS) in Oak Park Illinois where she worked to interrupt systemic racial achievement disparities. Her work at OPRFHS is featured in Steve James’ 2018 documentary series America to Me on the Starz network. In 2014 Jessica was recognized with a Fulbright Distinguished Award in Teaching and since her return Jessica has embarked on ambitious education projects focused on racial equity.
Holly Gordon is Chief Impact Officer for Participant Media. In her role, she oversees all development and execution of Social Impact campaigns for Participant, further strengthening the company’s mission to create entertainment that compels and inspires social change. These global, multi-year campaigns are driven by the company’s content and powered by strategic partnerships to address the most important issues of our time. Before joining Participant, Gordon co-founded Girl Rising, a global campaign for girls’ education. Selected by Fast Company as a member of the League of Extraordinary Women and named by Newsweek/Daily Beast as one of 125 Women of Impact, Gordon is also an Executive Producer for the Girl Rising film at the center of the movement.
Liz Shannon Miller is a Los Angeles-based writer and editor, and has been talking about television on the Internet since the very beginnings of the Internet. She recently spent five years as TV Editor at Indiewire, and her work has also been published by the New York Times, Comedy Central, Nerve, Vulture, Variety, the Hollywood Reporter, the Verge, and Thought Catalog. She is also a produced playwright, a host of podcasts, and a repository of "X-Files" trivia. Follow her on Twitter at @lizlet.
John Condne, Risé Sanders-Weir
Jessica Stovall, Ke'Shawn Kumsa, Kendale McCoy, Chanti Relf, Grant Lee, Brendan Barrette, Diane Barrios-Smith, Jada Buford, Charles Donalson, Caroline Robling-Griest, Terrence Moore, Tiara Oliphant, Gabriel Townsell, Aaron Podolner