TPUUF Hosting Movie Screening of Upcoming Film, Dream On

Thomas Paine Unitarian Universalist Fellowship host(s) special screening of Dream On, a new film with Political Comedian John Fugelsang, about the perilous state of the American Dream, followed by a moderated town-hall discussion at TPUUF, 3424 Ridge Pike, Collegeville PA 19426 beginning at 7:00PM on Friday August 26th.

From Bernie Sanders to Donald Trump, the 2016 presidential candidates share one thing in common: a conviction that they can revitalize the American Dream. Pinned between stagnant wages and the soaring costs of housing, education and healthcare, millions of Americans are struggling to make ends meet. To address these urgent issues before the critical election next year, Thomas Paine Unitarian Universalist Fellowship will host a preview screening of DREAM ON before it airs on PBS, followed by a panel discussion with [any prominent speakers] at 3424 Ridge Pike, Collegeville PA on Friday, August 26th at 7:00PM.

DREAM ON features political comedian John Fugelsang as he retraces the journey of Alexis de Tocqueville, whose study of our young country in 1831 came to define America as a place where anyone could climb the ladder of economic opportunity. Following in the Frenchman’s footsteps, Fugelsang speaks with fast-food workers and retirees, prisoners and entrepreneurs, undocumented immigrants and community organizers about their hopes, dreams, and daily struggles. DREAM ON explores whether the optimistic spirit of the American Dream that Tocqueville observed is alive and well in the twenty-first century, or whether George Carlin was right when he famously quipped, “It’s called the American Dream because you have to be asleep to believe it.”

In recent years the venerable American Dream has become an empty promise for increasing numbers of Americans. Millions of middle class Americans are now unable to maintain the standard of living that they took for granted growing up, and more low-income families are unable to lift themselves out of poverty. As countless Americans struggle with diminished prospects for the future, our core beliefs about the value of work, the inevitability of progress, the fairness of the system, and America’s standing in the world are being shaken. Reviving the American Dream has now become one of the most critical challenges facing our nation.

 

Thomas Paine Unitarian Universalist Fellowship (TPUUF) brings together people of all ages, many backgrounds, and many beliefs to create spirituality and community beyond boundaries and to work for more justice and more love in our own lives and in the world. We are affiliated with the Unitarian Universalist Association, which affirms and promotes seven Principles grounded in the humanistic teachings of the world’s religions. Our spirituality is unbounded, drawing from scripture and science, nature and philosophy, personal experience, and ancient tradition.

 

“Most Americans believe that the term ‘working poor’ should be an oxymoron: if you work full time, you should not be poor,” says director Roger Weisberg. “But today, one in four American workers, 30 million people, earn less than the federal poverty level for a family of four. Rather than taking a conventional documentary approach to the problem of rising income inequality and declining social mobility, I decided to adopt the cherished American film tradition of the road trip and follow the journey of Alexis de Tocqueville, whose seminal work, Democracy in America, helped plant the seeds for what later became known as the American Dream. By revisiting the places he wrote about in 1831 and capturing the stories of a diverse group of Americans struggling to climb the economic ladder, we were able to put an intimate human face on the endangered American Dream.”

John Fugelsang says, “Tocqueville didn’t want to create a simple travelogue, and neither did we.  He wanted to understand how America worked, and we wanted to see how America could keep working. We found that the divisions and dysfunction in the areas Tocqueville reported on—in commerce, government, religion, and race relations—were still prevalent and festering today. We wanted to report on the whole of America in all her imperfect splendor. And by not turning away from her defects, we wanted to find new reasons to hope. The old adage—that hard work will lead to prosperity—may no longer be true for the majority of Americans. Yet, most of the people I met on my Tocqueville journey still believed in the dream, even when their daily struggles made it feel impossibly out of reach.”

John Fugelsang’s reflections on his Tocqueville odyssey are captured in a stand-up comedy monologue woven throughout the documentary. Fugelsang was the host of America’s Funniest Home Videos and has appeared on CNN, CNBC, MSNBC, Fox News, HBO, and NPR.  Currently, Fugelsang currently hosts a daily political comedy program called “Tell Me Everything” on the new SiriusXM Insight Channel. As a comedian, actor, writer, talk show host, and pundit, Fugelsang’s eclectic background allows him to bring equal doses of wit and wisdom to our search for the increasingly elusive American Dream.

DREAM ON is the 32nd documentary produced and directed by Roger Weisberg for national public television.  His previous films have won over one-hundred-and-fifty awards including Emmy, duPont, and Peabody awards, as well as two Academy Award nominations. DREAM ON builds on this extensive body of work and represents the culmination of nearly four decades of reporting on ways to remove barriers and expand opportunities for disadvantaged Americans.

DREAM ON is a production of Public Policy Productions, Inc., in association with Thirteen/WNET New York Produced and directed by Roger Weisberg; Written by John Fugelsang and Roger Weisberg; Edited by Pascal Akesson and Sandra Christie; Cinematography by Sandra Chandler and John Hazard; Sound by Alan Barker; Additional Field Production by Jeff Seelbach; Music composed by Richard Fiocca; Design and Animation by Bill Bergeron; Production Management by Suzanne Beffa; For WNET, Executive-in-Charge Stephen Segaller.

Major funding was provided by the JPB Foundation. Additional support was provided by the Alda Foundation, Charles A. Frueauff Foundation, Mitzvah Foundation, O Fund, Park Foundation, Silverweed Foundation, and Spunk Fund, Inc.

Festival awards include the Remi Special Jury Award, Political/International Issues at Worldfest-Houston, Houston, TX, April 2015, and the Leigh Whipper Silver Award, Philafilm: Philadelphia International Film Festival, Philadelphia, PA, June 2015.

 

DREAM ON was an official selection at the following film festivals:

San Luis Obispo International Film Festival, San Luis Obispo, CA, March 2015
Palm Beach International Film Festival, Boca Raton, FL, March 2015
Worldfest-Houston, Houston, TX, April 2015
New Jersey International Film Festival, New Brunswick, NJ, June 2015
Philafilm: Philadelphia International Film Festival, Philadelphia, PA, June 2015

Tiburon Film Society, Tiburon, CA, July 2015
Massachusetts Independent Film Festival, Boston, MA, August 2015
Harlem International Film Festival, New York, NY September 2015
LA INDIE Film Festival, Hollywood, CA, September 2015
Wine Country Film Festival, Sonoma, CA September 2015
New York City Independent Film Festival, New York, NY, October 2015
Ojai Film Festival, Ojai, CA October 2015
Kansas International Film Festival, Kansas City, KS, November 2015
Marda Loop Justice Film Festival, Calgary, Canada, November 2015

For further information about DREAM ON please visit the web site at http://www.pppdocs.com or email us at pppinfo@pppdocs.com.