Can't Hold Me Back follows Fernando Parraz as he becomes the first in his family to earn a high school diploma — his ticket out of the struggles of inner-city poverty and violence. With a mountain of roadblocks stacked against his educational achievement, Fernando finds support from an unlikely figure: his father — a former gangster who has suffered the costs of his own mistakes.
Madeleine Bair and Betty Bastidas founded Maracuya Productions to document stories of inspiration and injustice. Bair has carried a microphone since belonging to the pioneering youth media organization, Children’s Express. Since then, she has taught journalism to teens, worked at Chicago Public Radio, and produced multimedia for Human Rights Watch. Bair's reporting has taken her to Senegal, the Caribbean, and throughout Latin America. At the international video advocacy organization, WITNESS, she curates the Human Rights Channel for YouTube.
Bastidas came to New York from Ecuador at the age of nine. When her father gave her a camera two years later, it became a tool to navigate her two worlds — American and Latino. Her eyes have not strayed far from a viewfinder ever since, and her work has appeared in the New York Times, Vibe, and Esquire. Betty is currently finishing production on her feature documentary on Afro-Ecuadorian soccer players.
The Independent Television Service (ITVS) funds, presents, and promotes award-winning documentaries and dramas on public television and cable, innovative new media projects on the Web, and the Emmy Award-winning weekly series Independent Lens Monday nights at 10:00 PM on PBS. Can't Hold Me Back is part of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting's American Graduate Initiative. Find out more here, www.americangraduate.org.