American Teen

Directed by Nanette Burstein
  • USA
  • 95 minutes
  • 2007

American Teen intimately follows the  lives of four teenagers in one small town  in Indiana through their senior year of  high school. Using cinema vérité footage,  interviews, and animation, it presents  a candid portrait of being 17 and all that  goes with it. We see the insecurities, the  cliques, the jealousies, the first loves and  heartbreaks, the experimentation with sex  and alcohol, the parental pressures, and the  struggle to make profound decisions about  the future. 

Nanette Burstein filmed daily for 10 months,  developing a remarkably close rapport with  these students and their families. The kids  open up in her presence and lay bare their  lives. The end result is a film that goes  beyond the stereotypes of high school –  the nerd and the jock, the homecoming  queen and the arty misfit – to capture the  complexity of young people trying to make  their way into adulthood. 

Sundance Film Festival Programme


This film is part of the Real to Reel documentary season. You can see this and the 17 other films in the season for just €100. Go to the booking page for details of the other films or to purchase this season package.


This film is no longer available but will be screening at the IFI shortly. Click here for more details