Far From Home

A film by Rachel Tsutsumi

2005 | 40 minutes | Color | DVD | Order No. 06900

SYNOPSIS

While busing may be a rapidly fading memory in most American schools, it continues to be a reality for more than 3,000 Boston students every year. FAR FROM HOME spotlights Kandice, an insightful, precocious African-American teenager participating in METCO, a voluntary Boston school integration program. Since kindergarten, she has risen before dawn each day to be bused to Weston, an affluent, predominantly white suburb. Now in her last two years of high school, she takes us inside her personal triumphs and daily negotiations: serving as the first black class president, playing the college admissions game, defying stereotypes she feels from white society, living up to her family’s tradition of activism. Kandice’s grandfather, a civil rights activist murdered in 1968, helped found the busing program and her mother was among the first black students bused to the suburbs in the late 1960s. Through cinema verité and interviews, the film weaves together Kandice’s current school life with a family history that has been profoundly shaped by racially integrated educational experiences.

With more than fifty years separating Kandice’s story from the landmark Brown vs. the Board of Education decision, this compelling film illustrates the ways in which a truly desegregated education system is still an unachieved goal in this country.

PRESS

Recommended. [Kandice’s] experience[s] of what it is like being a black student in a white community are told honestly and candidly. More than a story of busing and race it is a personal story worth watching.”

Educational Media Reviews Online

“a triumph… an understated, compelling, deeply human film… Explores our deepest and still most vexing questions about race, belonging and identity...a wonderful teaching tool.”

Susan E. Eaton Author of "The Other Boston Busing Story"

“Issues of race, busing, and segregation in America’s schools are seldom addressed in such a straightforward and honest manner... This powerful and moving portrait of an African-American teenager is a wake-up call and must be seen by teenagers and anyone who works with them.”

Maura Minsky Scenarios USA (a youth filmmaking organization)

“Extraordinary film…poignant…”

Rhonda Stewart Boston Globe

“..a rich source of ideas for bringing some difficult discussions to the forefront …an excellent professional development source for our work on anti-bias teaching and learning practices … as we strive to promote high standards and achievement for all students. ”

Dr. Alan Oliff Weston Public Schools

“Juxtaposing discussions with her class mates about the impact of affirmative action against conversations with her family about the murder of her grandfather, an integration activist and one of the founders of METCO, this film documents the distances- socially, culturally, and academically- between the educational opportunities available to children in America.”

Kendra Winner Harvard Graduate School of Education

“A powerful depiction of what a Boston student enrolled in the METCO program endures on a daily basis to succeed.”

Hank Van Putten, Principal Oak Hill Middle School, Newton, MA

“…a compelling and provocative look at the continuing struggle for a truly desegregated educational system more than fifty years after Brown vs. the Board of Education.”

Fred Murphy, History teacher Frederick Douglass Academy high school, NYC

“A poignant coming-of-age story…Touching…engages the viewer as if Kandice were a member of the family.”

Tanisha Ford Black Camera

“An engaging look at an unforgettable young woman.”

Booklist

SCREENING HIGHLIGHTS AND AWARDS

  • CNN/HBO’s “Life Through Your Lens” Grant
  • YALSA, Selected DVD for Young Adults, 2007
  • African Diaspora Film Festival, NYC
  • Go Girls! at Symphony Space
  • Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
  • National Broadcast on CNN Presents
  • Roxbury Film Festival

ABOUT FILMMAKER(S)

Rachel Tsutsumi

Rachel Tsutsumi began her career as an editor of illustrated art books. Following her work in publishing, she worked as a video producer at Teachscape, a company that provides online professional development to public school teachers. During this time she independently produced, directed, and shot the documentary FAR FROM HOME. The film was the winner of CNN/HBO’s Life Through Your Lens grant award and aired on CNN in 2005. Rachel grew up in the Boston area and attended high school in Reading, MA. She is a graduate of Yale University and lives in New York City. (09/09)

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