Steve James returns to Sundance this week to present the first half of his ten-part miniseries America to Me, set to premiere in full this fall. James tells the story of Oak Park and River Forest High School, a well-funded, diverse public school in suburban Chicago, through the experiences of several of its students. By immersing viewers in the lives of his subjects, who encompass a range of personality types and grade levels, James vies for a comprehensive portrait of the school’s ecosystem, with particular attention given to its disparities across racial and academic backgrounds. In this episode of The Film Comment Podcast, James sits down with Eric Hynes, FC contributor and Curator of Film at the Museum of the Moving Image, to talk about the production process and his own experiences living in the community in which it’s set. America to Me screens in installments on January 22 and 23, and again in full on January 25 and 27.

The Film Comment Podcast from Sundance is sponsored by Autograph Collection Hotels.