Off and Running
Directed by Nicole Opper
Synopsis: With white Jewish lesbians for parents and two adopted brothers – one mixed-race and one Korean – Brooklyn teen Avery grew up in a unique and loving household. But when her curiosity about her African-American roots grows, she decides to contact her birth mother. This choice propels Avery into her own complicated exploration of race, identity, and family that threatens to distance her from the parents she’s always known. She begins staying away from home, starts skipping school, and risks losing her shot at the college track career she had always dreamed of. But when Avery decides to pick up the pieces of her life and make sense of her identity, the results are inspiring. OFF AND RUNNING follows Avery to the brink of adulthood, exploring the strength of family bonds and the lengths people must go to become themselves.
Film Presence, in collaboration with Producer Sharese Bullock, Outreach Producer Pamela Cohn, and Nicole Opper Productions, built relationships with non-profit organizations in order to raise awareness around issues of adoption, race, religion and non-traditional ideas of family. Through Off and Running related educational material, training programs and an innovative approach towards co-hosted theatrical screenings, Off and Running sparked new conversations and strengthened the network of hundreds of interracial and LGBTQ families, as well as the NGO’s invested in the issues brought up in the film. Throughout the outreach process Film Presence brought together a constellation of NGOs, who had never previously worked together, to forge an alliance that will continue to grow through the national broadcast premiere of Off and Running on POV and beyond. The outreach campaign has been highlighted in various press outlets including NBC, NY1 and The Rosie O’Donnell Sirius show, and continues to raise awareness on a national scale about issues of adoption, race and LGBTQ parenting, such that OUT MAGAZINE proclaimed that “[Off and Running] brilliantly redefines the concept of the American family.”
Our national community engagement partners include COLAGE, Be’chol Lashon, The Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute, Spence-Chapin, The Dave Thomas Foundation, Center Kids, Family Equality, SWIRL, The Jewish Child Care Association, Center for Family Connections, Family Equality Council, Families Like Ours, MOSAIC, The Jewish Child Care Association and the Jewish Multiracial Network.
In the spirit of a full collaboration with the film’s teenage protagonist and award-winnning co-writer (Silverdocs 2009), we have also partnered with various youth media organizations such as Listen Up!, Downtown Community Television Center and The Interfaith Youth Corps to share rough cuts of the film and offer media training.