There are few genres as All-American as sports films. Rocky, The Blind Side, and Hoop Dreams, to name a few, have long wrestled with big ideas about U.S. culture within the confines of sports. Billy McMillin’s directorial debut, The All-Americans, hopes to join their ranks. This East Los Angeles-set documentary follows four students seeking glory on the field while grappling with personal obstacles and striving to make sense of their community’s place in today’s America. Set amid the nation’s largest Latino immigrant population and focused on arguably the most American of all pastimes, The All-Americans frames its character studies around the East L.A. Classic, the homecoming football game for both James A. Garfield High School and Theodore Roosevelt High School.
Executive produced by Becky G, the doc hopes to ground the experiences of Mario Ramirez, a straight-A Roosevelt student and wide receiver; Joseph Silva, Garfield’s linebacker and a father of a 1-year-old daughter; Sammy Hernandez, Roosevelt quarterback and popular guy; and Steve Williams, a magnet student and would-be Garfield quarterback. Offering varying portraits of Mexican-American and Latino families, their stories paint a picture of contemporary East Los Angeles that feels like a rebuke to much of the anti-immigrant sentiment that the White House and the mainstream media alike like to perpetuate. Combining intimate interviews with thrilling field game footage, McMillin’s doc is as timely as it gets.
“I feel blessed to have had the opportunity to participate in the film The All-Americans,” shared the California-born “Shower” singer and actor. “The story was something that my family and I felt connected immediately and only strengthened the pride I feel for my heritage. I firmly believe that it is very important to tell this story and I am happy to have played a role in helping the team share theirs.”
Take a look at its pulse-pounding trailer below.
The All-Americans opens in select theaters on November 8, 2019.