Screening of The New Americans Episode 1: The Nigerians by Steve James. In this series, Steve James, co-producer of the acclaimed documentary Hoop Dreams, turns his camera on the struggles of the Nwidor family, Nigerians forced to flee their home due to military oppression. Israel, a former chemical engineer, his wife Ngozi and their two children have been waiting 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.
Part of Becoming American: A Documentary Film and Discussion Series on Our Immigration Experience. The Becoming American series is a three-month public program featuring documentary film screenings and moderated discussions designed to encourage an informed discussion of immigration issues against the backdrop of our immigration history.