‘If you can make it there, you’ll make it anywhere’ is a memorable line from one of the world’s most famous anthems, New York/New York. It’s the ultimate measure of success in the world’s most iconic city.
But behind the grandeur and magnificence of the Big Apple are just as many stories of those who didn’t make it, those lives who got caught between the cracks of the American Dream.
One Million American Dreams is a film about them.
Less than 16 miles from central Manhattan lies Hart Island, a 101-acre cemetery and the final resting place of over 1 million New Yorkers. This is no ordinary cemetery, however, but the last stop on the often-tragic journey of the city’s unclaimed dead.
Hart Island is run by the city’s Department of Correction and is strictly off limits to the public. Inmates from nearby Rikers Island, paid 50 cents an hour, carry out the weekly burials.
ONE MILLION AMERICAN DREAMS follows the story of 4 families trying to reconcile themselves with the stories of their loved ones who ended up in a cheap pine coffin at the bottom of a Hart Island trench.
A father in economic exile from his family back in Cuba, a Vietnam Vet’s premature twin daughter, a New Jersey father lost to drink and drugs, and a Puerto Rican mother who didn’t have the money to give her son a proper burial after 9 hours of a short life.
ONE MILLION AMERICAN DREAMS takes a look behind the curtain of one of the world’s most iconic cities and in doing so explores the underbelly of the American dream.