Sorry

I learn America

A documentary film by Jean-Michel Dissard & Gitte Peng

At the International High School at Lafayette, a Brooklyn public high school dedicated to newly arrived immigrants from all over the world, five teenagers strive to master English, adapt to families they haven’t seen in years, and create a future of their own while coming of age in a new land.

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The Issue

TODAY IN AMERICA...


Nearly one in four children is an immigrant or the children of immigrants.

Our classrooms are meeting a growing influx of students who speak little to no English, who are unfamiliar with American culture, and, in some cases, who lack formal education.

The children of immigration are here to stay. How we fare in welcoming them will define who we are for years to come.

SCHOOLS - the first and ultimate hope for integration – are generally ill-equipped to serve immigrant teenagers. The traditional paradigm relegates them to the sidelines. Yet, it is in school that the children of immigration determine where they belong in the reality and imagination of their new culture.

WHO ARE OUR NEW AMERICANS?

The Students

BRANDON

After ten years apart, Brandon made the perilous journey from Guatemala to America to reunite with his mother. Crossing the desert by himself was easy compared to getting to know his mom again.

"When I came to America, my first goal was to see my mother. But after ten years it's totally different. For ten years she didn't know me. It was kind of like putting two persons in a room, kind of to meet each other."

Sing is a refugee from Myanmar who recently relocated to Brooklyn, leaving his family behind. He feels isolated and angry and barely speaks English.

"What I want to say, I have in my brain, but ... I can't speak in English. It makes me sometimes confused."

SING
ITRAT

ITRAT came to America from Pakistan to join a father she hardly knew after the passing of her mother. What kind of future is waiting for her in America?

"I am part of Pakistan because I was born there and I was raised in the beginning part of my life. But at the same time I was only eleven days and my dad came here. And I started hearing, 'America ... America ... America'. And, 'This country has everything'. Now I'm divided. In two parts."

SANDRA is a tomboy from Poland, undocumented and a class leader. She and Dominican-born JENNIFFER, her sassy classmate, are inseparable – “like a flower with water.”

"Being different is like a part time job. You are half yourself and half the time you try to be someone better for the people to show how you want to be. I want to be myself. I want to open the eyes and hearts to really show I am still the same person inside with the same feelings, same identity and the same human rights as anybody else in this world."
-Sandra

SANDRA & JENNIFFER

The School

In Brooklyn, New York, the International High School at Lafayette serves newly arrived immigrants from more than 50 different countries. This high school is part of a growing network of small public schools where new immigrant students are valued and nurtured in the challenge to participate fully in the American Dream. The model uses heterogeneous and collaborative learning to give students the rigor and support they need to achieve academically, socially, and linguistically.

"We need to serve these students. Regardless of how you may feel about the immigration issue, they are children, and they did not choose to come here. But they are here. So the options are to serve them, nurture them, and educate them, or not.Then what?"
-Principal Michael Soet

The School

Screenings

  • Date
  • City
  • Venue
  • More Info
  • 11/09/2016
  • STATEN ISLAND, NY
  • St John's University
  • Link
  • 11/04/2016
  • DENVER, CO
  • TESOL Conference
  • Link
  • 10/20/2016
  • NEW YORK, NY
  • St Francis Migrant Film Festival
  • Link
  • 10/06/2016
  • TAMPA, FL
  • Hillsborough Public Schools
  • Link
  • 10/05/2016
  • TAMPA, FL
  • Hillsborough County Public Schools
  • Link
  • 10/04/2016
  • SEMINOLE COUNTY, FL
  • Seminole County Public Schools
  • Link
  • 10/03/2016
  • SEMINOLE COUNTY, FL
  • Seminole County Public Schools
  • Link
  • 09/30/2016
  • PALM BEACH, FL
  • Public Schools of Palm Beach County
  • Link
  • 09/29/2016
  • PALM BEACH, FL
  • Public Schools of Palm Beach County
  • Link
  • 09/28/2016
  • PALM BEACH, FL
  • School District of Palm Beach County
  • Link
  • 09/28/2016
  • UNION, NJ
  • Kean University
  • Link
  • 09/23/2016
  • LANGLEY, MD
  • Intl High School @ Langley
  • Link
  • 09/22/2016
  • LARGO, MD
  • Intl High School @ Largo
  • Link
  • 09/20/2016
  • KANSAS CITY, MO
  • Kansas City Public Schools
  • Link
  • 09/19/2016
  • KANSAS CITY, MO
  • Kansas City Public Schools
  • Link
  • 09/16/2016
  • SUMMIT, NJ
  • YMCA Auditorium
  • Link
  • 06/01/2016
  • CLIFTON PARK, NY
  • Shenendehowa HS
  • Link
  • 05/19/2016
  • ELIZABETH, NJ
  • Kean University
  • Link
  • 05/18/2016
  • FORT LAUDERDALE, FL
  • Bronward County Schools
  • Link
  • 05/17/2016
  • FORT LAUDERDALE, FL
  • Broward County Schools
  • Link
  • 05/16/2016
  • ORLANDO, FL
  • Seminole County Schools
  • Link
  • 05/14/2016
  • WASHINGTON DC
  • DC TESOL
  • Link
  • 05/13/2016
  • RALEIGH, NC
  • NC State University
  • Link
  • 05/11/2016
  • BRONX, NY
  • High School for Teaching and the Professions
  • Link
  • 05/03/2016
  • BOSTON, MASS
  • Kennedy Center
  • Link
  • 04/28/2016
  • FRANCE
  • Rennes
  • Link
  • 04/27/2016
  • INDONESIA
  • UIN Ar Raniry
  • Link
  • 04/25/2016
  • FRANCE
  • Toulouse
  • Link
  • 04/09/2016
  • KANSAS CITY
  • Kansas City Schools
  • Link
  • 03/30/2016
  • QUEENS, NY
  • John Adams HS
  • Link
  • 03/30/2016
  • GUATEMALA
  • Quetzaltenango
  • Link
  • 03/29/2016
  • GUATEMALA
  • Totonicapan
  • Link
  • 03/05/2016
  • STATEN ISLAND, NY
  • Port Richmond HS
  • Link
  • 03/03/2016
  • ELIZABETH, NJ
  • KEAN University
  • Link
  • 02/29/2016
  • STATEN ISLAND, NY
  • Port Richmond HS
  • Link
  • 02/26/2016
  • FLORENCE, AZ
  • Poston Butte HS
  • Link
  • 02/25/2016
  • PHOENIX, AZ
  • Central HS
  • Link
  • 02/24/2016
  • TEMPE, AZ
  • ASU Tempe Campus
  • Link
  • 02/24/2016
  • MESA, AZ
  • Dobson HS
  • Link
  • 02/23/2016
  • TEMPE, AZ
  • ASU's Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College
  • Link
  • 02/19/2016
  • DENVER, CO
  • UC Denver
  • Link
  • 02/16/2016
  • LOWELL, MASS
  • Umass Lowell
  • Link
  • 02/16/2016
  • LAWRENCE, MASS
  • Lawrence HS
  • Link
  • 02/08/2016
  • BROOKLYN, NY
  • St Joseph College
  • Link
  • 02/05/2016
  • MARSEILLE, FRANCE
  • Lycees St Charles
  • Link
  • 02/05/2016
  • MARSEILLE, FRANCE
  • College Rosa Parks
  • Link
  • 02/04/2016
  • MARSEILLE, FRANCE
  • College Jacques Prevert
  • Link
  • 02/02/2016
  • NOISSY LE GRAND, FRANCE
  • College Intl
  • Link
  • 02/02/2016
  • St DENIS, FRANCE
  • Lycee Surge
  • Link
  • 01/29/2016
  • PARIS, FRANCE
  • UGC Rosa Parks, 19eme Arrond.
  • Link
  • 01/16/2016
  • OUIDAH, BENIN
  • Lycee de Jeunes Filles de Ouidah
  • Link
  • 01/07/2016
  • COTONOU BENIN
  • Link
  • 01/07/2016
  • BAYONNE, NJ
  • Bayonne HS
  • Link
  • 12/15/2015
  • MARSEILLE, FRANCE
  • Musee d'Histoire de Marseille
  • Link
  • 12/13/2015
  • BROOKLYN, NY
  • National Immigrant Integration Conference
  • Link
  • 12/10/2015
  • TOULOUSE, FRANCE
  • Lycee Raymond Naves
  • Link
  • 12/03/2015
  • NEW YORK, NY
  • Jewish Museum/Movies that Matters Film Fest
  • Link
  • 11/21/2015
  • TEMPE, AZ
  • ASU Tempe Campus
  • Link
  • 11/21/2015
  • PHOENIX, AZ
  • ASU West Campus
  • Link
  • 11/19/2015
  • QUEENS, NY
  • St John University
  • Link
  • 11/17/2015
  • MESA, AZ
  • ASU Polyprep
  • Link
  • 11/16/2015
  • MESA, AZ
  • Mesa Arts Center
  • Link
  • 11/04/2015
  • WASHINGTON DC
  • IRC Cultural Orientation Leadership workshop
  • Link
  • 10/27/2015
  • ALBANY, NY
  • NYSUT, Albert Shanker Conference Center
  • Link
  • 10/27/2015
  • DULUTH, MN
  • University of Minnesota
  • Link
  • 10/24/2015
  • WASHINGTON DC
  • Greater Washington Immigration Film Festival
  • Link
  • 10/21/2015
  • GREENSBORO, NC
  • University of North Carolina
  • Link
  • 10/01/2015
  • UTICA, NY
  • Unspoken Film Festival (Mohawk Valley Resource Center for Refugees)
  • Link
  • 09/30/2015
  • SYRACUSE, NY
  • Grant Middle School
  • Link
  • 09/30/2015
  • SYRACUSE, NY
  • Syracuse University
  • Link
  • 09/29/2015
  • FREDONIA, NY
  • Dunkirk High School
  • Link
  • 09/24/2015
  • BAYONNE, NJ
  • BAYONNE HIGH SCHOOL
  • Link