Millions of Americans are struggling to stay optimistic about the future, and at the same time struggling to get along with family and friends across the political divide. American Times is a journey in search of hope and healing. If you can relate to this struggle, please join us on this journey.
100 Days of Optimism
Inclusion StatementWe are interviewing women and men across the spectrum of race, ethnicity, sexual orientation and cultural viewpoints. You can see the cast and crew bios and watch the early trailer at www.americantimesfilm.com to learn more about those involved in the project.
About The Project
American Times is director Jon Vander Pol's journey through the deep political divide within his own family in search of understanding and forgiveness. Helping guide the way on this journey are several masters of compassionate communication.
Daryl Davis is an R&B & blues musician, author and band leader. As an African-American he has engaged and befriended many members of the Ku Klux Klan over the last three decades and has helped dozens of KKK members leave the organization. Davis has summed up his advice as: “Establish dialogue. When two enemies are talking, they’re not fighting.”
Dr. Robert Gonzales is a psychologist and leader of nonviolent communication. NVC assumes that we are all compassionate beings and that violence, whether verbal or physical, is a learned behavior. NVC leads to greater authenticity in communication, increased understanding, deepening connection and conflict resolution.
Many people have lost connection with family members and close friends over this divide. We need to start to listening to each other across political and cultural lines again. Millions of Americans are deeply concerned by this situation but not sure how to find common ground again.
Christian Picciolini is a reformed violent white supremacist. His life’s work bears witness to an ongoing and profound need to atone for his past and to make something positive out of it. In 2009, he co-founded Life After Hate, a nonprofit dedicated to helping others counter racism and violent extremism.
Interviewing Nick Diamante in Baltimore, Maryland
No one has to capitulate or forsake their personal values, but if we don’t start findiing some empathy and understanding with those we disagree with there is no hope for reconciliation. After learning these communication techniques, director Jon Vander Pol will meet with family and friends with whom he has had fierce disagreements. This is where the true story of healing and forgiveness takes place.
Director Jon Vander Pol at the Antietam Battlefield Civil War Memorial. 23,000 soldiers were killed, wounded or missing here in a 24 hour battle.
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About This Team
The Pine Drive Pictures team has already completed one award winning documentary, Exported From Michigan. We're passionate about what we do and are committed to the same results this time.Jon Vander Pol's debut feature length documentary, Exported From Michigan, won best documentary honors at three of the seven film festivals it was screened in. Before getting into documentary filmmaking, Jon co-founded Infamous Network with Jeff Daverman, working as an artist, graphic designer and screen printer.
Isaiah Murray has spent over 18 years working in film and television. His lifelong passions include sailing, music and creating compelling visual images for documentary films. He was one of the key cinematographers on Pine Drive Picture’s last documentary, Exported From Michigan.
Peter Simon has been working in film for over 15 years. He’s been a member of the International Cinematographers Guild in New York City (IATSE Local 600). Peter is primarily a camera assistant but has also made two short films, Kerouac’s Denver and Headlong. He is currently writing his first feature-length screenplay.
Will Kingston has edited shows all across the television spectrum, from the Food Network to the Outdoor Channel. He’s also directed multiple award winning short films and knows how to craft a story from start to finish. As an editor he helps guide an audience through the journey without holding their hand, allowing them to draw their own conclusions.
Alexandra Vander Pol has dedicated her career to raising funds and awareness for local and national nonprofit organizations such as American Humane, National Jewish Health and the Special Olympics. Her campaigns and events with diverse organizations and communities have produced sustaining programs for the greater good.
Jeff Daverman is an independent artist, designer and business owner. He co-founded Infamous Network with Jon Vander Pol in 1996 and has been producing the Root Concepts line of original art on stickers, apparel and canvas prints ever since. His many artistic disciplines including painting, drawing, photography and graphic design.
Sam Vail is a music lover who grew up on his parents’ Beatles records. As Sam grew older, his obsession with the guitar grew stronger. After spending years touring and playing in bands, he branched out into producing and recording music. Sam has produced and played with acts including Vailcode and Another Grand Design.
Simon Wilkinson is a musician and composer who creates music for film, television and documentaries. His style is often described as heavily texturally based, combining complex atmospheric ambient soundscapes with often simple melodic structures which attempt to mirror the narrative of the visuals.