NEW YORK — April 27, 2023 – Firelight Media announced today the new season of the documentary shorts series Homegrown: Future Visions. The season comprises eight documentary short films made by emerging BIPOC filmmakers that illuminate the living histories, cultures, and prospective futures of the American Midwest. The first episode in the series, Black Strings, premieres Thursday, May 4, 2023, across PBS digital platforms including the PBS YouTube Channel, PBS Digital Studios, and the PBS app, with subsequent episodes in the series premiering each Thursday thereafter.
Watch the exclusive trailer for the new season
“We are pleased to partner with PBS and CAAM on this series and look forward to sharing the new season of Homegrown: Future Visions with audiences,” said Firelight Media Co-Founder Stanley Nelson. “It’s been a pleasure to see this series evolve as it expands so nicely on the mission of our regional artist program Groundwork, which has been supporting filmmakers of color in underrepresented regions in the U.S. for many years.”
“We are excited to bring Homegrown: Future Visions, eight new stories about life, history, and culture from the American Midwest to PBS’s digital platforms in collaboration with Firelight Media and the Center for Asian American Media,” said Sylvia Bugg, Chief Programming Executive and General Manager, General Audience Programming at PBS. “Across platforms, PBS is committed to supporting diverse voices and perspectives and elevating storytelling that reflects the full range of the American experience.”
“Although Asian American communities are thought of as being more recent and located on the east or west coasts, the Midwest is a region with a long and rich history of Asian Americans,” says CAAM Executive Director Stephen Gong. “CAAM’s support of Homegrown: Future Visions represents our commitment to uplifting these undertold narratives.”
Homegrown (piloted in 2020 as Hindsight) is produced in partnership with PBS with support from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. The series is also presented as part of Firelight Media’s Regional Initiatives, which, along with the Groundwork Regional Lab, is designed to support filmmakers of color from underrepresented regions in the U.S. and U.S. territories. The Homegrown: Future Visions filmmakers, who were selected by Firelight Media, PBS, and the Center for Asian American Media, received mentorship from established independent filmmakers and were paired with a local public media station for editorial and audience engagement support within their respective communities.
Homegrown: Future Visions had its festival premiere at the Cleveland International Film Festival in March and also screened at the Milwaukee Film Festival on April 22. Individual films from the series have screened or will screen at festivals including the Big Sky Film Documentary Film Festival, Maoriland Film Festival in New Zealand, Freep Film Festival in Detroit, and the Doc 10 Film Festival, among others.
The eight episodes of Homegrown: Future Visions, in order of their planned release schedule, are:
- Black Strings, directed by Marquise Mays
A string orchestra in Milwaukee, Wisconsin redefines what it means to be a first responder.
- Seed Warriors, directed by Rebekka Schlichting
Pawnee seed keepers work with Nebraska farmers to revive their sacred and ancient corn.
- Detroit We Dey, directed by Ozi Uduma
A Nigerian community in Detroit explores the past and future of their vibrant social club.
- Lifetimes, directed by Amber Love
A third-generation community leader in Lansing, Michigan continues the fight for racial equity.
- Here, Hopefully, directed by Hao Zhou
A Chinese, nonbinary aspiring nurse seeks to build a gender-affirming life in Iowa.
- Guaranteed in Gary, directed by Darryl Parham
A guaranteed income experiment in Gary, Indiana helps to stabilize the lives of residents.
- Silsilad (Sequence), directed by Tariq Tarey
Explore the Soomaal House of Art in Minneapolis, the nation’s first Somali-American art center.
- Language Keepers, directed by Ajuawak Kapashesit
Indigenous people in Minnesota attempt to revitalize their language through technology.
About Firelight Media
Firelight Media is a premier destination for non-fiction cinema by and about communities of color. Firelight Media produces documentary films, supports filmmakers of color, and cultivates audiences for their work. Firelight Media’s programs include the Documentary Lab, an 18-month fellowship that supports emerging filmmakers of color; Groundwork Regional Lab, which supports filmmakers in the American south, midwest, and U.S.-controlled Territories; and the William Greaves Research and Development Fund for mid-career nonfiction filmmakers from racially and ethnically underrepresented communities. Firelight Media also produces digital short films, including the recently announced collection HOMEGROWN: Future Visions.
PBS, with more than 330 member stations, offers all Americans the opportunity to explore new ideas and new worlds through television and digital content. Each month, PBS reaches over 120 million people through television and 26 million people online, inviting them to experience the worlds of science, history, nature, and public affairs; to hear diverse viewpoints; and to take front row seats to world-class drama and performances. PBS’s broad array of programs has been consistently honored by the industry’s most coveted award competitions. Teachers of children from pre-K through 12th grade turn to PBS for digital content and services that help bring classroom lessons to life. Decades of research confirms that PBS’s premier children’s media service, PBS KIDS, helps children build critical literacy, math, and social-emotional skills, enabling them to find success in school and life. Delivered through member stations, PBS KIDS offers high-quality educational content on TV — including a 24/7 channel — online at pbskids.org, via an array of mobile apps, and in communities across America. More information about PBS is available at PBS.org, one of the leading dot-org websites on the internet, Facebook , or through our apps for mobile and connected devices. Specific program information and updates for press are available at pbs.org/pressroom or by following PBS Communications on Twitter.
About PBS Digital Studios
PBS Digital Studios produces original, digital programming designed to engage, enlighten, and entertain online audiences. The PBS Digital Studios network has more than 30 million subscribers on YouTube, generating an average of 50 million views each month. In 10 years, it has launched over 70 original series and has accumulated over four billion lifetime views on YouTube. Series include the Webby Award-winning BE SMART and SOUND FIELD, as well as popular series such as WEATHERED, EONS, MONSTRUM and PBS SPACE TIME. For more information on PBS Digital Studios, visit PBS.org.
The Center for Asian American Media (CAAM) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to presenting stories that convey the richness and diversity of Asian American experiences to the broadest audience possible. We do this by funding, producing, distributing and exhibiting works in film, television and digital media. For 40 years, CAAM has exposed audiences to new voices and communities, advancing our collective understanding of the American experience through programs specifically designed to engage the Asian American community and the public at large.