Film: The New Americans
July screenings in the Bank of America Free Thursday Film Series continue Becoming American: A Documentary Film and Discussion Series on our Immigration Experience. This six-week series is a project of City Lore, a cultural center for the arts and humanities based in New York City. It is funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities as part of NEH’s Community Conversations initiative, and features documentary film screenings and scholar-led discussions designed to encourage an informed discussion of immigration issues against the backdrop of our immigration history.
The National Hispanic Cultural Center is one of 24 organizations selected nationwide to participate in the Becoming American project. The scholar/moderator for the screenings and discussions at the Center is Dr. Gabriel Sanchez, Professor of Political Science at the University of New Mexico. The theme for Unit Three, presented on July 12, is “Between Two Worlds: Identity and Acculturation.”
Episode 1, “The Nigerians,” of The New Americans documents the struggles of the Nwidor family, Nigerians forced to flee their homes because of military oppression. Israel, a former chemical engineer, his wife Ngozi and their two children have waited for resettlement for years in a refugee camp in Benin. They share their hopes and humorously acknowledge their exaggerated expectations of new life in America. In their first weeks in low-income housing in Chicago, they are grateful for a dry place to sleep and their first McDonald’s hamburgers, but find much of their new world confusing. Both parents struggle with low-paying jobs in the hotel industry, and the expectations of their family in Nigeria to send money home regularly. We watch as their attempts to adapt and succeed crumble at times into despair, but also share with them moments of hope as they struggle to attain their American Dream. Director Steve James was co-producer of the acclaimed documentary Hoop Dreams,
2004; Steve James; English; 34 minutes; not rated.
Free ticketed event; tickets available one hour before show