We are excited to announce that two POV films will have their world premieres at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival next week in Park City, UT. The films are If a Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front by Marshall Curry and Granito by Pamela Yates. Each will have their national broadcast premieres on POV on PBS in 2011 and 2012, respectively.

If a Tree Falls image (courtesy of Creative Capitol)If a Tree Falls is part of the U.S. Documentary Competition; this year’s 16 films were selected from 841 submissions. Curry’s film explores two pressing issues in America today — environmentalism and terrorism — by lifting the veil on the Earth Liberation Front (ELF), a radical environmental group that the FBI calls America’s “No. 1 domestic terrorist threat.” Daniel McGowan, an ELF member, faces life in prison for two multimillion dollar arsons against Oregon timber companies. But who is really to blame?

Granito is in the out-of-competition new Documentary Premieres section of Sundance. In Yates’ new film, her previous documentary When the Mountains Tremble intertwines with Guatemala’s turbulent history and emerges as an active player in a nation’s struggle to heal itself and serve up justice.

“We’re delighted to welcome these two fine filmmakers back to POV,” said Simon Kilmurry, POV’s executive director, who noted that Curry’s Street Fight, which premiered on POV in 2006, was nominated for an Academy Award and that Yates’ The Reckoning: The Battle for the International Criminal Court (POV 2009) was nominated for a Sundance Grand Jury Prize. “Curry explores what drives an environmental activist to join a radical underground organization and ultimately be charged as a domestic terrorist. Yates uses her previous award-winning film to not only explore but change the trajectory of criminal justice in Latin America.”

Film details and schedules:

If a Tree Falls by Marshall Curry
U.S. Documentary Competition, World Premiere

If a Tree Falls tells a timely story of political action and environmental beliefs at loggerheads. Curry’s reconstruction of the recent history and unraveling of the Earth Liberation Front (ELF) is a fascinating exploration of a modern revolutionary movement and its efficacy. Fusing fervent concerns about ecological imbalance and capitalism, ELF members and sleeper cells employed economic sabotage by destroying facilities involved in deforestation to remove the profit potential from companies they felt were wreaking environmental destruction.

Focusing on Daniel McGowan, Curry relates the tale of a mild-mannered, middle-class citizen brought to trial on charges of terrorism for his participation in ELF-related arson plots. Run time: 100 min. A co-production of Marshall Curry Productions, LLC and ITVS. Premiering on POV in 2011.

•Friday, Jan. 21, 3 p.m., Temple Theatre, Park City
•Saturday, Jan. 22, 12:30 p.m., Rose Wagner Performing Arts Center, Salt Lake City
•Saturday, Jan. 22, 10 p.m., Holiday Village Cinema II, Park City – Press and Industry
•Mon, Jan. 24, 4 p.m., Redstone Cinemas 7, Park City
•Wednesday, Jan. 26, 9 p.m., Holiday Village Cinema IV, Park City
•Friday, Jan. 28, 9 a.m., Temple Theatre, Park City
Attending Sundance: Marshall Curry, director; Sam Cullman, co-director/producer; Matt Hamachek, editor; James Baxter, composer; Matt Berninger, lead singer of The National, which contributed four songs to the film.

GRANITO by Pamela Yates
Documentary Premieres, World Premiere

Granito is a story of destinies joined by Guatemala’s past, and how the filmmaker Pamela Yates’ own documentary from 1982, “When the Mountains Tremble,” becomes forensic evidence to help prove a genocide case against a military dictator in Guatemala.

In Granito, the characters sift for clues buried in archives of mind and place and historical memory, seeking to uncover a narrative that could unlock the past and settle matters of life and death in the present. Like a crime thriller, the film travels between present and past, uncovering evidence of massive crimes and bringing accountability to the present. Its characters become integral to the story of wrongs done and justice sought that they have pieced together, each adding a granito, a tiny grain of sand, to the epic tale. Run time: 84 min. A co-production of ITVS. Premiering on POV in 2012.

•Tuesday, Jan. 25, 12 p.m., Temple Theatre, Park City
•Wednesday, Jan. 26, 2 p.m., Holiday Village Cinema II, Park City – Press and Industry
•Thursday, Jan. 27, 6 p.m., Holiday Village Cinema IV, Park City
•Friday, Jan. 28, 10:30 p.m., Screening Room, Sundance Resort
•Saturday, Jan. 29, 9 p.m., Temple Theatre, Park City

Attending Sundance: Pamela Yates, director; Paco de Onís, producer; Peter Kinoy, editor. Film subjects: Naomi-Roht Arriaza, lawyer; Kat Doyle, sr. analyst, National Security Archive; Almudena Bernabeu, lawyer; Rigoberta Menchú, first indigenous woman to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize (1992), currently running for president of Guatemala.

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