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.

Film Signature Image
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
  • Producer/Director

    Nicole Opper

    Nicole Opper is an Emmy®-nominated filmmaker who directed and produced the feature documentary Off and Running, an Audience Favorite at Tribeca and winner of ten international awards including Best Documentary at Outfest and Best Documentary Screenplay at Silverdocs. The film was nationally broadcast on P.O.V. in 2010. She received a Fulbright Show more Fellowship to direct Visitor’s Day which is supported by New York State Council on the Arts, Chicken & Egg Pictures and ITVS. She’s also produced films for the Discovery Channel and Here TV, and was selected for Filmmaker Magazine’s annual "25 New Faces of Independent Film." Nicole has taught filmmaking at Stanford University and San Francisco State University, among other schools. Show less

    Other ITVS Films
    The F Word

    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.