Documentary Film FAQ

America to Me FAQ

What is America to Me
A 10-part documentary series about race that was filmed at Oak Park and River High School during the 2015-2016 school year. The series, directed by Academy Award-nominee Steve James, an Oak Park resident whose three children attended OPRF, follows a year in the life of a dozen OPRF students. According to Mr. James' original proposal for the film, the goal was to produce a series "that examines race and equity and their impact on the quest for racial parity at Oak Park River and Forest High School….This documentary aims to look at the history of a struggle that goes back several decades, and the efforts to confront it in the present on the part of administrators, teachers, and students and their parents.”

When was the series filmed? Three years ago, during the 2015-2016 school year.

How can I see the series? We're hosting community viewings and discussions for each episode here at OPRF; see schedule at the right. The Starz channel, which owns the series, is airing episodes on Sundays, Aug. 26 - Oct. 28. Episodes 1-3 air at 9:00 p.m. CST, and episodes 4-10 air at 8:00 p.m. CST. You also can view the series using the Starz app.

Why did the Board of Education approve filming at the high school? The Board viewed the documentary as a learning tool for the school community. The Board thought that the film would give the OPRF community additional insight into what's happening at school and factor into what we're doing differently. (To see the minutes of Board discussions prior to approval, please click here and here. To see the complete proposal, click here.)

How were students chosen to be subjects in the film? All referrals and requests for interviews were made by either students themselves or by a parent/guardian; the school did not suggest any students. In order to abide by student-privacy requirements of the Illinois School Student Records Act and the federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, the filmmakers were not permitted to approach students directly, nor were faculty and staff able to refer the filmmakers to specific students. Doing so might have inadvertently revealed aspects of a student’s history or record that should remain confidential. 

Was the school compensated in any way? No. The high school did not receive any financial compensation for participating in the series.

What are you doing to promote racial equity? A lot! OPRFS is committed to action to achieve racial equity. All our students must feel that OPRF is their high school. Click here to see some of our work.

Episode 1
Community Viewing + Discussion
Sunday, Aug. 26, 2018
7:00 p.m., 
OPRF Auditorium

Episodes 2 - 10
Join Us at OPRF for
Viewings + Discussions

Tuesday, Sept. 4, 7:00 p.m.
Monday, Sept. 10, 7:00 p.m.
Monday, Sept. 17, 7:00 p.m.
Monday, Sept. 24, 7:00 p.m.
Monday, Oct. 1, 7:00 p.m.
Monday Oct. 8, 7:00 p.m.
Monday, Oct. 15, 7:00 p.m.
Monday, Oct. 22, 7:00 p.m.
Sunday, Oct. 28, 7:00 p.m.