Possible Selves poster

Possible Selves is an a feature-length documentary that follows two brave teenagers in foster care through their tumultuous high school years and into college. It is the first major documentary to focus on the lived experience of current foster youth themselves.The film intimately shares Alex and Mia’s journeys as they strive to attain a goal that only 3% of adults who grow up in foster care reach: graduating from college.

One reason that the stories of foster youth are so rarely told is that filming with foster youth requires permission from a judge. The Los Angeles County Children's Court granted this access through our partner First Star, a nonprofit that helps foster teens prepare for college. 

 

We meet a 14 year old Alex as he is entering a new foster home and beginning at First Star, a college access program that supports foster youth throughout their high school years. He dreams of going to college and becoming a professional musician. As he gets to know his new family, he struggles with the fundamental uncertainty of foster care: that no matter how much he comes to love them, they can make him leave at any time, for any reason. Alex has regular visits with his biological family, and challenges and conflicts with both of his families put his dreams in danger of slipping away. 

Mia, a survivor of severe abuse, is now living with a supportive and loving foster family. As she prepares to go off to college, past trauma resurfaces--but with the support of her family and community, she begins this new chapter of her life.

While Alex and Mia's gripping stories carry us through the film, we meet other foster youth with contrasting life experience: Alyssa, who lives in a group home; Selvin, who has been incarcerated; Justin, whose poetry transforms trauma into inner strength. 

 

Nearly 400,000 children are currently in foster care in the United States. Foster children who reach adulthood while in foster care are more likely to experience homelessness, economic hardship and incarceration.


 

By Age 25:
• 25% of former foster youth will experience homelessness
• 24% will be unemployed
• 64% of men and 32% of women will have been incarcerated
*Sources: Casey Family Programs/Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago

What We Have Learned
The most important lesson we have learned during this filmmaking process is that children need reliable, caring adults in their lives in order to grow into self-sufficient adults. The statistics are strong evidence that the foster care system is not meeting these needs and should be reformed. This film, however, focuses on the lived experience of real children and reveals how a stronger commitment to caring for them, even within a broken system, can dramatically improve their lives.

PBS Broadcast Dates

Location

Station

Date

Time

Los Angeles/Southern California

PBS SoCal Plus

Saturday, 5/11

9 p.m.

Philadelphia/Wilmington, DE

WHYY

Sunday, 5/12

1 a.m.

Dallas-Ft. Worth

KERA

Sunday, 5/12

12 p.m.

New York

WNYE

Monday, 5/13

12 a.m.

Rhode Island (Statewide)

RI PBS/WSBE

Tuesday, 5/14

2 p.m.

Utah/Salt Lake City

KUEN

Thursday, 5/16

Saturday, 5/18

9 p.m.

2 a.m.

San Francisco Area

KPJK

Thursday, 5/16

Friday, 5/17

8 p.m.

12 a.m.

Pennsylvania/Harrisburg

WITF

Sunday, 5/19

11 a.m.

South Carolina (Statewide)

SCETV

Sunday, 5/19

8 p.m.

Washington, DC/Baltimore

WMPT

Monday, 5/20

8 p.m.

Chicago

WTTW

Sunday, 5/26

Thursday, 5/30

Thursday, 5/30

2:30 p.m.

4 a.m.

12 p.m.

San Diego

KPBS

Tuesday, 5/28

11:30 p.m.

Albuquerque, NM

KENW

Tuesday, 5/28

7 p.m.

Philadelphia/Wilmington, DE

WHYY

Sunday, 6/2

1 a.m.

Washington, DC

WHUT

Friday, 6/7

4 p.m.

Nebraska (Statewide)

KYNE

Wednesday, 6/26

6 p.m.

Denver

PBS12/KBDI

Thursday, 6/27

2:30 a.m.

Possible Selves is opening hearts across the country to a deeper understanding of being in foster care. You can transform lives by becoming a mentor, advocate, foster or adoptive parent, or donor to organizations that offer direct services.


Shaun Kadlec
Producer and Director

A first-generation college graduate, Shaun began filmmaking while on a Fulbright Fellowship in Sri Lanka. His documentary Born This Way, about the LGBTQ+ community in Cameroon, premiered at the Berlin Film Festival before its distribution on Amazon Prime. 

Grace Zahrah
Editor

Emmy® winning, Lebanese-American editor and producer Grace Zahrah's credits include Retrograde, Sirens, Copwatch and The Greatest Love Story Never Told.

 

Jamie Wolf
Executive Producer

Jamie Wolf is a journalist, editor and photographer whose primary occupation currently is executive-producing documentary films. Her recent credits include The Great Hack, Kingmaker, Be Natural: The Untold Story of Alice Guy-Blaché and Newtown.

Bill Resnick 
Executive Producer

Bill Resnick, MD, MBA, is a psychiatrist and philanthropist, as well as a Certified Mindfulness Teacher. He serves on the boards of Awakening Recovery, American Jewish World Service, and is on the advisory board of UCLA’s Resnick Neuropsychiatric Hospital.

Doug Blush 
Producer and Consulting Editor

Two-time Oscar® winner Doug Blush is a director, producer, editor, writer and cinematographer whose work includes over 130 feature and television projects. His credits include the Oscar-winning documentaries The Elephant Whisperer and 20 Feet From Stardom. Doug is a member of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) as well as American Cinema Editors (ACE).

Pablo Bryant 
Cinematographer

Pablo has been the director of photography for four feature documentaries, including his directorial debut Mr. Fish: Cartooning from the Deep End. His camera work can also be seen in HBO’s Cinema Verité, the documentary The Vanishing of the Bees (narrated by Elliot Page), and many other film and television projects.

Theo Popov 
Composer

Theo is a composer of music for the theater stage and film screen. His operas – which include two commissions by the American Lyric Theater – have received multiple productions and awards across the United States. In addition, he has written musicals, choral and orchestral pieces, art songs, chamber and electronic music. He is a graduate of Princeton University.

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