How do learn about American culture?  If you’re like most people around the world, it’s through American TV shows and movies.  The State Department would like to offer you different glimpse at American life through film courtesy of the American Documentary Showcase.  This is a touring program of prestigious contemporary U.S. documentaries and filmmakers that give a unique glimpse into parts of American society. 

Join us on Friday, April 24 at Kino Rejs (Krakowskie Przedmiescie 21 ) to see four documentaries and meet three of their creators.   
17:00 – “Empowering the Yard” (11min)
           “One Bridge to the Next” (27 min)
18:00 – “Made in LA” (70 min)
20:00 – “Street Fight” (83 min)


Director: Emily Kirsch, Erin Persley, Vincent Horner
Running Time: 11 Min., Year Completed: 2007

Synopsis: The film profiles an inspiring project at a women’s prison in Oklahoma and introduces five prisoners who work as peer educators, conducting training for fellow prisoners on preventing HIV, aids and other diseases. The project serves as rehabilitation, job training and effective public health outreach because the five prisoners gain both public health knowledge and skills as educators while also delivering a powerful and important message to their peers.  Officials are hoping to replicate the program across Oklahoma’s prisons.
— Director Kirsch: is a graduating senior from San Francisco State University majoring in urban health, justice and sustainability.
— Director Persley: is working on her master’s thesis dealing with women who have been released from prison.
–Director Horner: is completing his final year in the undergraduate cinema program at San Francisco State
: Kim Snyder
Running Time: 27 Min., Year: 2008

Synopsis: in 1992, Dr. Jim Withers began doing night rounds on the streets of Pittsburgh, offering medical assistance and support to the homeless. Fifteen years later, the organization he founded, Operation Safety Net, is a pioneering model in a growing movement to provide healthcare to the homeless. Dr. Withers and his team navigate riverbanks, bridges, and alleyways to bring medical help and social justice to those who have fallen through the cracks of society.

: Almudena Carracedo
Running Time: 70 Min., Year: 2007

Synopsis: Follows the remarkable story of Latina immigrants working in Los Angeles garment sweatshops as they embark on a three-year odyssey to win basic labor protections from trendy clothing retailer ‘forever 21.’ — Director Carracedo: now a U.S. citizen, worked as a television director in Spain before coming to the U.S. as an international scholar to work on her doctoral dissertation at UCLA film school.

Director: Marshall Curry
Running Time: 83 Min., Year: 2005 won awards at the
Tribeca Film Festival, Silverdocs, and Hotdocs and was nominated for an Academy Award and Writers Guild of America Award, among many others.

Synopsis: the film follows the bare-knuckles race for mayor of Newark, NJ between 32 year old African American Rhodes Scholar/Yale graduate and four-term incumbent, the undisputed champion, also an African American, of New Jersey politics.  Fought in Newark’s neighborhoods and housing projects, the battle pits the young challenger against an old style political machine.

— Director Curry: in addition to directing the film, was also producer, director of photography, and editor. He and the film have won much acclaim, and curry has been guest lecturer at Harvard, Duke, NYU, and other colleges and has served on festival juries.
Speakers – Short Bios

Betsy McLane, Ph.D. is the director emerita of the International Documentary Association. She is the coauthor with Jack C. Ellis of A New History of Documentary Film. Learn more at

Chuck Workman has been involved in filmmaking and theater for over thirty years as an award-winning director, writer, editor, and producer. Workman’s theatrical short, Precious Images (1986), made for the Directors Guild of America, won an Academy Award for Best Live Action Short and has become the most widely shown short in film history. It is one of five of his films circulating in the collection of The Museum of Modern Art in New York. More at:

David O’Shields has been a working member of the production community since 1985. In addition to his work in public television, he has extensive experience as a cameraman and director in commercial television. David founded New Light Media in 1995 to pursue his dream of making important and engaging documentary films. New Light Media’s goal is to develop a diverse and distinctive body of documentaries. The natural environment, democracy, race and American History are primary areas of interest. The company is based in Cedar Falls, Iowa and has offices in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Exceptional writing, extraordinary cinematography and piercingly beautiful original scores are the hallmarks of David’s work.