Edge of America (Showtime)
Edge of America is the story of an African-American teacher who transfers to a rural American Indian reservation school in Utah and reluctantly agrees to coach the winless girls’ basketball team. Unfamiliar with American Indian culture, Kenny Williams, played by James McDaniel, is forced to learn about Native traditions in order to better motivate his team. His players, most of whom have never seen a black man, struggle with 21st century attitudes toward authority while trying to stay true to cultural traditions and their elders. Together, team and coach advance to the state finals and learn that success comes from a mutual respect for their cultural differences. On the surface, Edge of America may sound like a formulaic triumph-over-tragedy sports drama. However, this docudrama, inspired by true events, is more than a basketball movie. It is a story of trial and redemption that explores the world of racial conflict between two marginalized cultures. Directed and co-produced by acclaimed Native American filmmaker Chris Eyre and written and co-produced by playwright Willy Holtzman, Edge of America brilliantly captures the Native American voice by creating characters that do not fall prey to stereotype or caricature. Tim Daly and Steve Burleigh serve as executive producers, while a host of Native American actors, including Irene Bedard, Wes Studi, and Delanna Studi, lend authenticity to the story. For providing an astute look at race relations and shedding light on a culture that is often misrepresented in the media, a Peabody Award goes to Edge of America.
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