Off and Running: A Very American Coming of Age Story

Avery is an adopted daughter in Brooklyn. She is on a quest to meet her birth mother in Texas and to uncover the missing pieces of her identity.

Off and running 01
Premiere Date
September 7, 2010
60 minutes
Funding Initiative
Open Call
  • Nominated laurels-r Created with Sketch.
    2011 News and Documentary Emmy Awards-Outstanding Informational Programming
  • Opper nicole filmmaker bio

    Nicole Opper

    Nicole Opper directed and produced Off and Running, a co-production of ITVS in association with the National Black Programming Consortium, American Documentary/P.O.V., and the Diverse Voices Project, with major funding provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. The film is distributed theatrically by First Run Features and will Show more broadcast on P.O.V. in Fall 2010. It was an Audience Favorite Finalist at The 2009 Tribeca Film Festival, winner of the Jury Award for Outstanding Documentary at Outfest, Best Documentary at the Milan International Women’s Film Festival, Best Documentary at Philadelphia Qfest, winner of the Silverdocs WGA Award for Best Documentary Screenplay and winner of the Audience Award at Ann Arbor Film Festival. Opper also produced Emmy-nominated The Killer Within (Toronto International Film Festival, Discovery Channel); Sacco and Vanzetti (Full Frame Film Festival, Winner of Best Historical Film by American Historical Society); and Here TV’s five-part documentary series, LSS. She is pursuing her Masters in Media, Culture and Communication at NYU’s School of Education and holds a degree in filmmaking from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. She was selected for Filmmaker Magazine‘s annual 25 New Faces of Independent Film in 2009 and for Heeb Magazine’s list of “100 Jews You Need To Know About” in 2008. Opper is currently a Fulbright Fellow in Mexico, where she in production on The Ipo Boys (working title), a documentary about an innovative group home for abandoned youth. Show less

    Bullock sharese filmmaker bio

    Sharese Bullock-Bailey

    Sharese Bullock is strategic partnerships and marketing manager afort ListenUp!, a global youth media network. She has more than 10 years of experience in brand building, event production, sponsorship marketing, and community organizing to pioneer partnerships for Listen Up!'s global network. Sharese received a BA in Communications at The Show more University of Pennsylvania, then participated in the Financial Analyst program at Goldman Sachs. In 2002 she created a brand management consultancy, which services for-profit and non-profit organizations with technical writing, production, fundraising, and brand management. Sharese has led service and international education programs including filmmaking exchanges for young producers throughout the UK with the Experiment in International Living (2005, 2006). Sharese serves on the board of directors for the National Alliance for Media Arts and Culture (NAMAC). Show less

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    The Film

    With white Jewish lesbians for parents and two adopted brothers — one mixed-race and one Korean — Brooklyn teenager Avery grew up in a unique and loving household. But when her curiosity about her African American roots grows, she decides to contact her birth mother. This choice propels Avery into her own complicated exploration of race, identity, and family that threatens to distance her from the parents she’s always known.

    She begins staying away from home, starts skipping school, and risks losing her shot at the college track career she had always dreamed of. But when Avery decides to pick up the pieces of her life and make sense of her identity, the results are inspiring. Off and Running follows Avery to the brink of adulthood, exploring the strength of family bonds and the lengths to which people must go to become themselves.