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American Bear

HD   Unrated Closed Captioning

Greg Grano & Sarah Sellman

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About the Movie

Sarah and Greg set out to critically explore American culture, compassion, and fear by relying on the kindness of strangers for a home each night. Traveling through 30 states in 60 days, they spend every day in a new town, learning why people may or may not be willing to open their homes.Sarah and Greg spend time getting to know their hosts – each uniquely, culturally American – while the film raises questions about how we define American identities. Sarah and Greg’ s own social location – white, young, middle class, heterosexual – guides the way they interact with strangers, complicating the hospitality they receive.American Bear captures Americans yearning for face-to-face connections and navigating the risks inherent in sharing their stories with strangers. Each character’ s voice tells a unique story: from the daughter of the last warrior woman of the Cheyenne mountain tribe whose grandson still faces bigotry in Montana; to the single mother in Oklahoma rebuilding a relationship with her mother after a history of drug abuse; to young friends in Chicago finding new ways to articulate what modern segregation looks like; each character is facing obstacles that share a unique side of the multifaceted post-9/11 American identity. At times funny, heartbreaking, and inspirational, these individual stories reflect the daily choices we make to trust, to confide, to care for, and to sympathize. How do we develop relationships and navigate the barriers in society and in ourselves to actually form connections? While American Bear and its characters suggest some answers, the film offers many more questions, encouraging the viewer to take their own journey of reflection and discovery.

Customer Reviews


What a great insight into America, preconcieved notions and shattering them, and a great story about two kids traveling the country. A great watch

Americana at its Best!

This is an authentic, unscripted story about fascinating individuals living in different corners of modern America. Each person the filmmakers feature is living a life that is so specifically American, but also so different from the others.

Yet even with all these intriguing characters, I am most interested in Sarah and Greg. They are smart, critical, creative and brave, yet feel so ordinary, in a really beautiful way.

I saw this film when it came to my college and the filmmakers, Sarah and Greg really wanted to have a serious conversation with us about all of the complications in their project. The film itself is full of amazing stories, but there are so many more to tell!

You can tell its their first feature though, part of it even explores how young they were when they made it; but there is something really neat about the way the camera work gets better as the film goes along. It's almost like a visual representation of what they are learning. About America, Americans, but definitely also about themselves.

I liked it!

Moving, Funny, Inspiring Look at Compassion in America

This is a moving, often funny, very inspiring film about kindness and compassion in America. The people who take in Sarah and Greg are so real - so honest - I especially loved Jolene, the Cheyenne grandmother in Montana who opens up about her community's persecution, yet also shares so much love with Sarah and Greg. It's also a blast to see the country, so many amazing landscapes!

Made me feel great pride about this country - but also great criticism. I was lucky to see this movie during the American Bear screening tour, where Sarah and Greg did a Q&A. I was glad to hear them talk about their identities and their privilege - both white, heterosexual, young, college students - and how their experience depended on that. Not everyone would have had the "luck" that they had - or maybe it would have just been different people who would have hosted. Seeing the Q&A especially made the movie so thought-provoking - I was thinking about for many days afterward, and questioning how I interact with people I don't know... It made me want to be more open-hearted, open-minded, and really give my positive energy to anyone I encounter.

This is the filmmakers' first big movie, and it's definitely a little rough around the edges, but I thought that was part of its charm, you just feel like you're right there with these young adults, learning about the world through their eyes. Plus, the music is a great set of folk tunes that just keep the road trip rolling along.

Definitely check this out (and support indie filmmakers)!

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Customer Ratings