The recent discussion surrounding refugees coming into the US may well be the defining issue of the 2016 election. It's not like it's a problem that will just go away. As many governments (but especially the US) have failed to properly address the problem, and even worse the steps that are taken to bring refugees into new countries are often the only ones ever given, leaving things like housing assistance and job training to private groups.
The Providence Granola Project is one of the most impressive examples of industry recognizing that it has a role to play outside of profit. The Project takes refugees newly arrived to Providence and gives them jobs making granola. It's a great project (and having had some, it's better-than-average granola!) and photo journalist and documentarian David Wells' Blending into the American Dream shines a wonderful light on the program, and the workers it employs.
Through long, simply-constructed shots of the granola making process, along with interviews, we are given the backstory of the project, and are introduced to the workers who have come from Somalia, Iraq, and Nigeria, as well as Keith Cooper, the co-founder of the project. They're a fun group, but the real focus of the documentary, and seemingly all of these people's live, is the Providence Granola Project. That one element, the devotion shown by all the participants in this doc is remarkable, and it's a testament to the power of the project. While maybe it's not quite the absolute visual home run that Wells' other wonderful doc. Quahogging on Narragansett Bay happened to be, it is a loving and simple telling of a heartwarming example of the best kind of promotional video - the kind that shows people's lives being changed for the better. I put this right up with Batkid Begins as the best examples of that kind of work.
You can see Blending Into The American Dream at https://vimeo.com/148578097 and find out more about the work of David Wells at http://davidhwells.com/about/index.php. You can find out more about The Providence Granola Project at http://www.providencegranola.com (and you'll want to order the Cherry Chocolate Granola!)
Klaus at Gunpoint
A Film Journal dedicated to all film.A segment of Office Supply Publishing.