In an increasingly fractured America, the family photo album is bringing us together.

Family Pictures USA Trailer

Family Pictures USA is a documentary-style magazine show, filmed before a live studio audience, that journeys through a rapidly changing landscape where the foundations of a familiar and idealized “AMERICA” are being transformed. As ordinary Americans begin to discover their hidden family histories, stashed in boxes in dusty attics or on old floppy disks and new smartphones, they will unpack more than artifacts and ephemera. They will re-meet their relatives and old friends —fascinating characters, brought back to life by images and stories —giving them a new home in our collective consciousness, and introducing us to a more nuanced and diverse story of our common history, shared present and evolving future. Family Pictures USA will mine this rich treasure trove of personal narratives to reveal roots, connections, and provocative parallels that will surprise us and illuminate the path toward a new America for a 21st Century.

StoryCorps MEETS Antiques Roadshow

Like StoryCorps, Family Pictures USA guides participants through a personal narrative in a short interaction with a host/producer, but using photographs and images as the primary medium of the story. Like Antiques Roadshow, Family Pictures USA travels to different locations within a given community, town or region and the surprise is in uncovering little known and unusual personal stories and connecting them to a larger narrative that better contextualizes a particular locale. The value revealed is in how these images inform our larger understanding of the culture, beyond mere family memoir.

To date, we have held over 47 live events, in over 35 cities, partnering with local community
organizations, including: universities, libraries, historical societies, public housing authorities, social service organizations and museums. We have developed a model which surfaces unique hyper- local content with which to deeply engage local, regional and national audiences. Using our touring live events, we can fashion a national series of 10-15 episodes that also provides content for local public TV broadcasters at a price point they can afford.

The local public TV stations would be our media partners and broadcast outlets for the local content generated by the events and provide local production resources. In addition, we would work with their digital and social media outreach staff to craft local community outreach and engagement around the live events, which could also be used by the stations to augment their own audience development and diversity activities. Filming for the pilot will begin in Detroit in May and conclude on July 21st.

Family Pictures USA will be broadcast nationally on WORLD Channel. Each episode will illuminate connections among and between individual family narratives to create an inclusive new Digital American Family Album, exposing threads of history that enrich and enlarge our understanding of our nation and its diverse people and expanding our ideas of who we are as a people. It continues the work of the series’ award-winning Executive Producer, Thomas Allen Harris, to bridge inter- generational and cross-cultural differences and bring communities closer together by transforming strangers into family.

Funding Opportunities

Family Pictures USA is a unique transmedia television series that will live across platforms – traditional broadcast TV , online, mobile, social media and digital video, in addition to touring live events. Family Pictures USA is in current dialogues for additional series engagements in Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Richmond, Memphis, Charleston (SC) and Los Angeles. We welcome inquires from funders interested in supporting the series and its local engagement as it tours the nation.