A film by Erick Stoll, Chase Whiteside
2018, 75 minutes
No. 202

Three brothers confront the chasm between adolescent yearning and adult responsibilities when brought together to care for their charismatic ninety-three year old grandmother in this wondrous and extraordinary documentary debut from directors Erick Stoll & Chase Whiteside.

Diego is a young circus artist living away from his family in a dull landscape of tourist beaches and all-inclusive resorts when he must return home suddenly. His grandmother, América, fell from her bed, causing his father to be jailed under accusation of elder neglect.

Diego sees poetry and purpose in this tragedy. He believes América, despite her immobility and advanced dementia, fell willfully, to bring the separated family back together. He reunites with his estranged brothers and leaves his old life behind.

But now they face the considerable challenges of freeing their father from an opaque court system bereft of moral authority, and learning to be caretakers for someone who may not understand who they are.

And yet the greatest challenge might be learning to work together. As the brothers clash over money and the distribution of labor, difficult questions take the foreground – who decides what becomes of América? and how long will they put their lives on hold to care for her?

Winner, Emerging Artist Award, Full Frame
Winner, Special Jury Mention, CPH:DOX
Winner, Best Documentary, Ashland Film Festival
Winner, Illuminate Award, Sheffield Doc Festival
Wiiner, Best Documentary, Reykjavik International Film Festival
Winner, Best Cinematography, Tacoma Film Festival
Official Selection, True/False Film Festival
Ofifical Selection, International Documentary Festival Amsterdam
Official Selection, BAMcinemaFest
Official Selection, Camden Film Festival
Official Selection, Maryland Film Festival
Official Selection, Sarasota Film Festival

“A sublime, magical masterpiece. It is rare to see so much life on screen.” – Joshua Oppenheimer, director of The Act of Killing and The Look of Silence

"Critic's Pick! an artful, winning documentary... This is an exemplary, moving, show-don’t-tell record of family tenacity." - Glenn Kenny, The New York Times

“The film is a knockout. Full of vibrant characters, confrontation and love, and one which also challenges us to think both critically and personally about the ways we and society care for those at the ends of their lives.” – Scott Macaulay, Filmmaker Magazine

“Four Stars! Shot over a three-year period with an affectionate, watchful eye, it blows up an intimate family portrait on to a large, cinematic canvas.” – Simran Hans, The Guardian

“One of those rare non-fiction treasures that seems so effortless yet so complex.” – Stephen Seito, Moveable Feast

“An honest, intimate treatise on kindness. America is a film about what it means to have the best years of your life interrupted by the duty of care, and what’s more, to want that to happen.” – Matt Turner, Little White Lies

"Guided and distinguished by an alert mindfulness, an emotional intelligence determining where the camera needs to be and has the right to be." – Nick Pinkerton, Artforum

"Reverberates with deep emotion. Finds beauty, humour and tenderness in circumstances that might otherwise be devoid of hope.” - Jordan Smith, Sense of Cinema

"A tour de force that depicts nearly every emotional high and low of caregiving." - Anna McFarlane, Journal of Medical Humanities