Mr. Armstrong from The Barber of Birmingham (Credit: Robin Fryday)

The Barber of Birmingham premieres Thursday, August 9, 2012, on POV. (Photo by Robin Fryday)

The popular POV Short Cuts collection of short documentaries is back on POV.

Premiering Thursday, August 9, 2012, on PBS are diverse films that tell stories of hard-fought and hard-won civil rights battles, a family’s separation after deportation and lessons learned from parents. The five short films include an Academy Award® nominee, The Barber of Birmingham: Foot Soldier of the Civil Rights Movement; a Student Academy Award® winner, Sin País (Without Country); and three new animated shorts — Eyes on the Stars, Facundo the Great and A Family Man — from the Peabody Award-winning StoryCorps oral-history project.

Here’s more about each of the films (and how to watch them!):

The Barber of Birmingham: Foot Soldier of the Civil Rights Movement
by Gail Dolgin and Robin Fryday
In the days before and after Barack Obama’s victory in the 2008 presidential election, an 85-year-old civil rights activist and “foot soldier” looked back on the early days of the movement in this Academy Award®-nominated short. World War II veteran James Armstrong was the proud proprietor of Armstrong’s Barbershop, a cultural and political hub in Birmingham, Ala., for more than 50 years. In his small establishment, where every inch of wall space was covered in newspaper clippings and black-and-white photographs, hair was cut, marches organized and battle scars tended. Armstrong, who carried the American flag across the Selma bridge during the Bloody Sunday march for voting rights in 1965, links the struggles of activists of the past with a previously unimaginable dream: the election of the first African-American president.

View the trailer for the documentary The Barber of Birmingham.
U.S. Broadcast Premiere: Thursday, August 9, 2012, on POV.

Sin País (Without Country)
by Theo Rigby
Winner of a 2012 Student Academy Award®, Sin País (Without Country) explores one family’s experience as members are separated by deportation. Nearly 20 years ago, Sam and Elida Mejia escaped a violent civil war in Guatemala and brought their one-year-old son, Gilbert, to California. The Mejias settled in the Bay Area, worked multiple jobs and saved enough to buy a home. They had two more children, both U.S. citizens, and lived the American Dream.

Two years ago, Sam, Elida and Gilbert, all undocumented, became deeply entangled in the U.S. immigration system. Sin País (Without Country) begins two weeks before the parents’ scheduled deportation date. After a passionate fight to keep their family together, they are deported back to Guatemala. The film chronicles the Mejias’ new reality as a separated family — parents without their children, and children without their parents.

View the trailer for the documentary Sin País.
U.S. Broadcast Premiere: Thursday, August 9, 2012, on POV.

StoryCorps brings its Peabody Award-winning storytelling to POV for a third season. Since 2003, the oral-history project has recorded and preserved the voices and memories of everyday people, one conversation at a time. The Rauch Brothers bring original recordings to visual life in their unmistakable, whimsical animation style. StoryCorps is funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. POV Short Cuts features three animated stories:

Eyes on the Stars — Carl McNair tells the story of his brother Ronald, an African-American kid in the 1950s who set his sights on the stars.

Facundo the Great — Ramòn “Chunky” Sanchez recounts how the new kid at school became a hero when his teachers could not find a way to anglicize his name.

A Family Man — In 1955, John L. Black, Sr. started his job as a janitor for the Cincinnati public school system. He regularly put in 16-hour days to provide for his wife and 11 children. His son Samuel talks with his wife, Edda Fields-Black, about his father’s lasting legacy and the power of a look.

View the trailer for POV Short Cuts.
U.S. Broadcast Premiere: Thursday, August 9, 2012, on POV.

Did you know? Many POV films are available free to stream online and on mobile devices. Visit POV’s Watch Video page or download the PBS mobile app for iPhone or iPad, and see which films are available today!

Published by

POV Staff
POV (a cinema term for "point of view") is television's longest-running showcase for independent non-fiction films. POV premieres 14-16 of the best, boldest and most innovative programs every year on PBS. Since 1988, POV has presented over 400 films to public television audiences across the country. POV films are known for their intimacy, their unforgettable storytelling and their timeliness, putting a human face on contemporary social issues.