An American Love Story (Part 1) Synopsis

Jennifer Fox returns to Sundance (her film, Beirut: The Last Home Movie, was the documentary prizewinner in 1988) with an epic and groundbreaking documentary effort. An American Love Story is an intimate and incredibly moving series about a black man and a white woman who struggle against racial stereotypes and societal prejudices to keep their family together. As Fox follows Bill Sims and Karen Wilson over the course of a year and a half, a universal story of family values emerges which celebrates the endurance of love. The first five episodes introduce the Wilson-Simses, a gentle foursome made up of Bill, Karen, and their girls, Cicily (twenty) and Chaney (twelve). This section recounts the parents' love story, Cicily's struggles with being biracial at an elite college, Karen's worsening illness, Cicily's trip to Nigeria, and Chaneys' first date. The final four episodes chronicle the drama of Karen's hysterectomy, Bill's struggle with alcoholism, Cicily's graduation, Bill's attempt to save a son from an earlier union from jail, and the couple's journey back to their beginnings to attend their twenty-fifth high school reunion in Ohio. A truly remarkable accomplishment, An American Love Story succeeds where race theory and civil rights activism often fall short by elegantly connecting national debates about interracial relationships with personal, intimate experience. By finding truth in the minutiae of daily life, Fox gives Americans a way to start talking about the difficult but critical issues of race, poverty, and gender equality while telling an inspirational story of family life.