We meet a 14 year old Alex as he is entering a new foster home and beginning at First Star, a college-prep program that supports foster kids 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. Throughout the film, we meet other foster youth whose experiences contrast with Alex's, creating a broader portrait of youth in foster care. Mia, who is fearlessly college bound; Alyssa, who lives in a group home; Selvin, who has been incarcerated; Justin, who is a young poet. With this narrative structure, Alex’s gripping story carries us forward while glimpses into other lives offer a deeper understanding of the many challenges that foster youth face.
Over 420,000 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, foster youth in America:
• 25% 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 themselves. The statistics are strong evidence that the foster care system is not meeting these needs. While this film is not an indictment of the system, it is a window into how it impacts real children and how a greater commitment to caring for them can dramatically improve their lives.
Possible Selves is opening hearts across the country to a deeper understanding of what it is like to be in foster care. Our goal is for people to turn these feelings into action by becoming mentors, advocates, foster and adoptive parents, and donors to organizations that support foster youth.
National PBS Broadcast
Coming in 2024
Producer and Director
A first-generation college graduate, Shaun began filmmaking while on a Fulbright Fellowship in Sri Lanka during the nation’s tragic civil war. His documentary Born This Way, about the LGBTQ+ community in Cameroon, premiered at the Berlin Film Festival before its global distribution. The film’s honors include the grand jury award for best documentary at Outfest.
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, MD, MBA, is a psychiatrist and philanthropist, as well as a Certified Mindfulness Teacher. He currently chairs the board of InsightLA and also serves on the boards of Awakening Recovery, American Jewish World Service, and is on the advisory board of UCLA’s Resnick Neuropsychiatric Hospital.
Grace is a Lebanese-American artist, woodworker and documentary editor. The first feature documentary that she edited, Copwatch, was nominated for best documentary at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2017. A graduate of Carleton College, Grace spent her undergraduate years making short documentaries in Lebanon and Jordan.
Doug Blush is an award-winning director, producer, editor, writer and cinematographer whose work includes over 130 feature and television projects, and is a member of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) as well as American Cinema Editors (ACE). His recent credits include, as consulting editor and co-producer, the 2020 Critics’ Choice Award winning Mr Soul!, the 2019 Academy Award winning Period. End of Sentence, the 2018 Academy Award winning Icarus, and, as supervising editor, the 2013 Oscar winner 20 Feet from Stardom, for which he also received the ACE Eddie Award for Best Documentary Editing.
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 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.