Downloads: Media Alert

Special Broadcast of Critical Condition on Sept. 30 Looks at America’s Uninsured, Followed by MacNeil/Lehrer Election Special; On Oct. 1, In the Family Spotlights DNA Testing through the Eyes of a Young Woman Carrying the ‘Breast Cancer Gene’

New York and Los Angeles Screening Premieres Sept. 15 and 23

National Air Dates: Special broadcast of Critical Condition on Tuesday, Sept. 30, 2008 at 9 p.m. on PBS, followed at 10:30 p.m. by the MacNeil/Lehrer special “Rx for Change,” which explores the presidential candidates’ proposals for health care reform. In the Family airs the following evening, Wednesday, Oct. 1 at 10 p.m. on PBS. (Check local listings.) POV (a cinema term for “point of view”), now in its 21st year, is the longest-running independent documentary showcase on television.

Local Screenings: On Monday, Sept. 15 at 6:30 p.m., the Playboy Foundation will host the New York premiere of In the Family at the Paley Center. Christie Hefner, Chairman and CEO of Playboy Enterprises, Inc., will host the event, which features a panel discussion with filmmaker Joanna Rudnick; Tania Simoncelli, Science Advisor, ACLU, Dr. David Fishman, Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Director of the Division of Gynecologic Oncology at NYU School of Medicine; and Luis Pedraza, whose wife, Linda, was one of the women in the film. Contact Matthew Pakula, Playboy, 312-373-2435,

In Los Angeles, UCLA will host a screening of Critical Condition followed by panel discussion on Tuesday, Sept. 23 at 5 p.m. Panel to include Dr. Patrick Dowling, chair of UCLA Family Medicine and Carlos Benitez, Los Angeles-area patient (both featured in documentary); Dr. David Feinberg, CEO, Reagan UCLA Medical Center; Mary Mazur, executive vice president programming and production, KCET/Los Angeles; and additional experts. Contact Caitlin Petre, Fenton Communications, 212-584-5000,

Tuesday, September 30 on PBS: Critical Condition by Roger Weisberg What happens if you fall sick and are one of 47 million people in America without health insurance? Critical Condition by Roger Weisberg (Waging a Living, POV 2006) puts a human face on the nation’s growing health care crisis by capturing the harrowing struggles of four critically ill Americans who discover that being uninsured can cost them their jobs, health, home, savings, even their lives. Filmed in vérité style, Critical Condition offers a moving and invaluable exposé at a time when the nation is debating how to extend health insurance to all Americans. A production of Public Policy Productions in association with Thirteen/WNET New York and American Documentary / POV

Immediately following the 90-minute broadcast, PBS’s MacNeil/Lehrer Productions will present a half-hour special, “Rx for Change,” exploring the presidential candidates’ proposals for health care reform. Susan Dentzer, health correspondent for The NewsHour With Jim Lehrer, will moderate the discussion, which includes spokespersons for the candidates and distinguished health policy experts.

In the Family bravely explores the emotional implications of predictive genetic testing for breast and ovarian cancer…”

—Elizabeth Edwards

Wednesday, Oct. 1 on PBS: In the Family by Joanna Rudnick
How much would you sacrifice to survive? When Chicago filmmaker Joanna Rudnick tested positive for the “breast cancer gene” at age 27, she knew the information could save her life. And she knew she was not only confronting mortality at an early age, but also was going to have to make heart-wrenching decisions about the life that lay ahead of her. Should she take the irreversible preventive step of having her breasts and ovaries removed or risk developing cancer? What would happen to her romantic life, her hopes for a family? In the Family documents Rudnick’s efforts to reach out to other women while facing her deepest fears. A co-production of Joanna Rudnick, Kartemquin Films and Independent Television Service (ITVS).

Says Elizabeth Edwards: “In the Family bravely explores the emotional implications of predictive genetic testing for breast and ovarian cancer. It challenges the stigma and secrecy associated with familial disease, while defending the rights of all populations to access genetic information and receive equitable health care. It is a sensitive, provocative and important film.”

Roger Weisberg, Director/Producer, Critical Condition
Veteran documentary filmmaker Weisberg’s 30 previous films have earned over 100 awards, including Emmy, duPont-Columbia and Peabody awards, as well as two Academy Award nominations (in 2001 for “Sound and Fury” and in 2003 for “Why Can’t We Be a Family Again?”). He has made the American health care system a special focus of his work with such films as “What’s Ailing Medicine,” “Our Children at Risk,” “Borderline Medicine,” “Who Lives-Who Dies” and “Can’t Afford to Grow Old.”

Joanna Rudnick, Director, In the Family
In the Family is Joanna Rudnick’s directorial debut. Other credits include co-producing “Robert Capa: In Love and War” for PBS’s American Masters series and the BBC. She had earlier worked for American Masters on the films “Julliard,” “Ella Fitzgerald: Something to Live For” and “Joe Papp: In Six Acts.” She is the director of development for Kartemquin Films in Chicago and is currently producing “Prisoner of Her Past,” the story of one woman’s late-life reliving of her Holocaust childhood. Joanna received a master’s degree in science and environmental journalism from New York University and a bachelor’s degree from Northwestern University.

POV Web: The companion websites for Critical Condition and In the Family offer streaming video trailers, interviews with filmmakers a list of related websites, organizations and books; downloadable discussion guides and classroom activities and special features.

Outreach: POV is working with public television stations and national and community-based groups across the country to foster community dialogue around the issues presented in Critical Condition and In the Family. For a list of upcoming screening and discussion events, go to:

Pressroom: Visit POV’s pressroom,, for press releases, downloadable art, filmmaker biographies, transcripts and special features.

POV: Produced by American Documentary, Inc. and celebrating its 21st season on PBS in 2008, the award-winning POV series is the longest-running showcase on television to feature the work of America’s best contemporary-issue independent filmmakers. Airing June through October, with primetime specials during the year, POV has brought more than 250 award-winning documentaries to millions nationwide, and has a Webby Award winning online series, POV’s Borders. Since 1988, POV has pioneered the art of presentation and outreach using independent nonfiction media to build new communities in conversation about today’s most pressing social issues. More information about POV is available at

Major funding for POV is provided by PBS, The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, The Educational Foundation of America, The Fledgling Fund, New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, New York State Council on the Arts, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, The September 11th Fund, and public television viewers. Funding for POV’s Diverse Voices Project is provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. POV is presented by a consortium of public television stations, including KCET Los Angeles, WGBH Boston and Thirteen/WNET New York.

DVD REQUESTS: Please note that a broadcast version of this film is available upon request, as the film may be edited to comply with new FCC regulations.

Media Sponsor: WNYC

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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.