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Prolific filmmaker and ethnographer Yale Strom (The Last Klezmer, Carpati, L'Chayim Comrade Stalin! and many others) has turned his attention to an early American political hero: Eugene Victor Debs.

Bernie Sanders inspired a generation – but who inspired him? Most people in America don't know that the contemporary political movement to address income inequality began over 100 years ago with Debs.

American Socialist: The Life and Times of Eugene Victor Debs is the culmination of five years of research and production. Its inspiration was the use of the word "socialist" as a political epithet, and Strom wanted to define and contextualize the term. In doing so, his film traces the history of American populism with the man who inspired progressive ideas – from FDR's New Deal to Bernie's presidential campaign. Here is an objective but passionate history of the movement as founded and championed by Debs, a movement that continues to have an impact on our lives today.