NPT’s ‘Next Door Neighbors: Becoming American’ Documentary Premieres June 23



Across the United States, mid-sized cities like Nashville are experiencing unprecedented growth in their international populations. Together these communities are redefining the traditional international city on a smaller local scale. Nashville Public Television’s Next Door Neighbors series of documentaries looks at the challenges faced and the contributions made by people who have come from other countries to make their home in Nashville and Middle Tennessee.

Next Door Neighbors: Becoming American, the ninth documentary in NPT’s award-winning series, premieres Thursday, June 23, at 8 p.m. The film will then be available for viewing online at

The 30-minute program shares the stories of four individuals who faced resettlement in the U.S. to escape the atrocities of war and the burden of poverty.

They are: Sisavanh Pouthavong Houghton, an artist and MTSU professor who barely escaped war-ravaged Laos as a young girl and now makes arts that reflects her journey; Brendali Menjivar, who survived violence and poverty in El Salvador; and Eh and Zahraa, classmates at John Overton High School from Burma and Iraq, respectively, who are now balancing American cultural norms with those of their families and homelands.

“That first generation of immigrant students have to enter into the new American culture, yet keep those ties,” says Gini Pupo-Walker, Conexión Américas senior director of education policy and strategic growth, in the documentary.

Through these stories of pursuing the American dream, Next Door Neighbors: Becoming American examines how age, education, family and culture affect one’s ability to succeed in the United States.

NDN BecomingAmerican titleNext Door Neighbors: Becoming American was produced by Shawn Anfinson and Ed Jones, both of whom have previously produced long-form and short projects in NPT’s Next Door Neighbors and Next Door Neighbors: Storytellers series.

NPT’s Next Door Neighbors: Becoming American is made possible by the generous support of The Nissan Foundation.

Additional broadcast times for Next Door Neighbors: Becoming American are below; the documentary will also be available for online viewing on our website,

  • Monday, June 27, at 8 a.m. on NPT2
  • Tuesday, June 28, at 1 p.m. on NPT2
  • Monday, July 4, at 11:30 p.m. on NPT
  • Saturday, July 16, at 9 p.m. on NPT2
  • Sunday, July 17, at 5 p.m. on NPT2
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