After a childhood of economic highs and lows,
American Dream the Movie director Joel McEwen
madly chased and successfully attained the dream of
material abundance. It was only then that he began
to pay attention to how consumer obsessions have
consumed our spirits, communities, and planet—even,
like a snake eating its tail, the American dream itself.
Joel armed himself with a camera and took to the road
with a list of questions: Where did we lose our way?
How did we arrive at a moment when materialism and
inequality fuel nearly every crisis we face? Rather than
approaching these as unrelated issues, the film reveals
how they are driven by misplaced values we must shift
away from in order to survive.
In his passion to make this film, Joel experienced
the kind of dire economic disenfranchisement many
people he met filming struggled with. That’s when the
film’s role as a mirror became clear, and with it, the
understanding that, before we can change the world,
we have to change ourselves.
American Dream has attracted a diverse cast including historian Howard Zinn in one of his final appearances; Danny Glover; economist David Korten; environmental artist Chris Jordan; rapper Sage Francis; and gang member turned peace negotiator, Aqeela Sherrills.