Wiki-Wednesday – The New Americans

10 10 2007

The New Americans

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The New Americans is a seven-hour American documentary that was originally broadcast on American television over three nights on the Public Broadcasting System (PBS) in late March 2004.

The observational documentary, which includes minimal voice-over narration and very little direct interviewing of its subjects (and none in which the interviewer’s voice is heard), follows the lives of a series of immigrants to the United States over the course of four years. The series was filmed between 1998 and 2001, although not all of its subjects were filmed during that entire length of time. The immigrants were filmed both in their countries of origin before immigrating as well as in the United States. The filming during this period was extensive and occurred in the subjects’ homes, at their places of work, in government offices, and in a number of other situations, many of them quite intimate. As a result, The New Americans offers an unusually personal and comprehensive look at the people it profiles.

The immigrants profiled and filmed in The New Americans include a group of baseball players from the Dominican Republic hoping to secure a career in Major League Baseball; a computer programmer from India and his wife; a family with six children from a farming community in the state of Guanajuato, Mexico; a family of Ogoni refugees from Nigeria; and a woman from Palestine who moves to the United States to be with her new husband, a first-generation Palestinian-American who grew up in Chicago.

The locations shown in the documentary include not only each of the immigrants’ countries of origin, but also many places in the United States where the immigrants settled or traveled, including Chicago (the Palestinian and Nigerian immigrants), the Silicon Valley of California (the Indian immigrants), Garden City, Kansas and Mecca, California (the Mexican immigrants), and Florida, Georgia and Montana (the Dominican immigrants).

The New Americans was executive produced by Steve James (who also produced the acclaimed 1994 documentary Hoop Dreams) and Gordon Quinn, both of Kartemquin Films. It was broadcast on PBS as part of the series Independent Lens, in association with the Independent Television Service (ITVS).

The program was broadcast in the United Kingdom on the cable network BBC Four in early April 2004.

New Americans” is also a generic term used to describe immigrants to the United States, although this term is used less often than its counterpart term in Australia, where “New Australians” is a relatively commonly-used phrase.


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