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The New Americans

The New Americans

7 Episodes

The New Americans follows four years in the lives of a diverse group of contemporary immigrants and refugees as they journey to start new lives in America. We follow an Indian couple to Silicon Valley through the dot-com boom and bust. A Mexican meatpacker struggles to reunite his family in rural Kansas. Two families of Nigerian refugees (including the sister of slain Ogoni activist, Ken Saro-Wiwa) escape government persecution. Two Los Angeles Dodgers prospects follow their big dreams of escaping the barrios of the Dominican Republic. A Palestinian woman who marries into a new life in Chicago only to discover in the wake of September 11, she cannot leave behind the pain of her homeland's conflict.

Kartemquin assembled a team of talented directors including the creators of Hoop Dreams, Who Killed Vincent Chin, and Vietnam, Long Time Coming. The detailed portraits that resulted were woven into a seven-hour miniseries that presents a kaleidoscopic picture of immigrant life and a first impression of the U.S. that few born in America can imagine.

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The New Americans
  • The New Americans - Episode 1

    Episode 1

    Directed by Laura Angelica Simon • Documentary • 2003 • 55 minutes

    We first meet the Nwidor and Lawani families, members of a small tribal minority known as the Ogonis, in a refugee camp in Benin, West Africa. The Ogoni people had opposed Nigeria’s military government and the Shell Oil Corporati...

  • The New Americans - Episode 2

    Episode 2

    Directed by Laura Angelica Simon • Documentary • 2003 • 55 minutes

    We continue to follow the Nwidors and Lawanis from the United Nations refugee camp through their first few months in Chicago. It proves to be a tumultuous time for the Nwidors as they struggle with low-paying jobs in the hotel in...

  • The New Americans - Episode 3

    Episode 3

    Directed by Laura Angelica Simon • Documentary • 2003 • 55 minutes

    Despite her former prestige in her homeland, Barine Wiwa-Lawani is unable to escape the same working plight as Israel and Ngozi. She juggles three part-time jobs at hotels as a cook’s assistant: “…work I would have done twenty ye...

  • The New Americans - Episode 4

    Episode 4

    Directed by Laura Angelica Simon • Documentary • 2003 • 55 minutes

    Pedro Flores has been in Garden City, Kansas for 13 years, separated from his wife, Ventura, and their six children by poverty, necessity and immigration law. He works as a meatpacker and lives frugally in a boarding house, tryin...

  • The New Americans - Episode 5

    Episode 5

    Directed by Laura Angelica Simon • Documentary • 2003 • 55 minutes

    In the crowded city of Bangalore, India, we meet Anjan Bacchu, a successful computer programmer who is planning to apply for a position in the U.S. But first, the practical Anjan wants to find and marry a traditional Indian wife....

  • The New Americans - Episode 6

    Episode 6

    Directed by Laura Angelica Simon • Documentary • 2003 • 55 minutes

    On an H1-B visa in the U.S., Anjan Bacchu easily finds employment during the dot.com boom, often working for 16 to 18 hours a day. Since Harshini’s visa does not allow her to work, she fills her days with taking care of the apart...

  • The New Americans - Episode 7

    Episode 7

    Directed by Laura Angelica Simon • Documentary • 2003 • 55 minutes

    When the dot.com bust devastates the high-tech industry in 2000, Anjan Bacchu loses his job. Shortly afterwards, Harshini becomes pregnant and Anjan scrambles to find new employment.

    For the Flores Family, now living in Mecca, C...