It was the summer of 2016, an election year with unrest rumbling through America. There were countless triggers – the murder videos of Philando Castille and Alton Sterling, the counter punch of Alt-Right and Fake News, Black Lives Matter, Russian meddling – a discordant national cauldron ready to boil over. It was the birth of Trumpism, but no one knew it yet. Then, Colin Kaepernick took a knee and America lost its mind. Kaep’s knee touched down on the divide between America’s Black and White tectonic plates, creating an earthquake in the eternal race debate. The aftershocks of his singular gesture have already rippled through our country for years.
Kaepernick himself answered any and all thoughtful questions for a time, then stopped talking. And the resulting quiet has allowed for a thoughtful examination of the man and his story. It reveals layer upon layer of surprises and contradictions. Raised in a white family, he became a Black quarterback, while in fact, he is an adopted, biracial man. Inherently shy, he became the center of attention. The man everyone was talking about was mostly silent. He took a stand by taking a knee.
Kaepernick & America examines the man and his protest, exploring the remarkable conflict stirred by such a symbolic gesture.
Tommy Walker is an esteemed producer and director of documentary film and television who has devoted his life to stories about race and identity. His most recent film was Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am, an artful and intimate meditation on the legendary Nobel and Pulitzer Prize-winning author. He co-directed and produced the feature length theatrical documentary, God Grew Tired of Us, which won Best Documentary and the Audience Award at the Sundance FF. Ross Hockrow is a rising star in the documentary world, bringing his myriad filmmaking skills to a range of projects. Kaepernick & America is his latest effort, on which he is credited as director and editor.