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POV documentaries have won awards in three distinguished competitions: the Peabody Awards, the Christopher Awards and the Cinema Eye Honors for Nonfiction Filmmaking. The award-winning films, Campaign, Inheritance and Up the Yangtze, had their national broadcast premieres on POV in 2008. POV (Point of View), which begins its 22nd season on PBS in June, is American television’s longest-running independent documentary series.

POV films have won19 Emmy Awards, 12 Peabody Awards, eight Alfred I. duPont-Columbia Broadcast Journalism Awards, four Independent Spirit Awards, three Academy Awards®, two Christopher Awards, 36 Cine Golden Eagles and the Prix Italia.

Campaign is the recipient of a Peabody Award. Kazuhiro Soda’s film provides a startling insider’s view of Japanese electoral politics in this portrait of a man plucked from obscurity by the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) to run for a critical seat on a suburban city council. Kazuhiko “Yama-san” Yamauchi’s LDP handlers are unconcerned that he has zero political experience, no charisma, no supporters and no time to prepare. What he does have is the institutional power of Japan’s modern version of Tammany Hall pushing him forward. Yama-san allows his life to be turned upside down as he pursues the rituals of Japanese electioneering — with both tragic and comic results. The film is a co-presentation with the Center for Asian American Media (CAAM). See the full film on the POV website

The 68th Annual Peabody Awards will be presented on Monday, May 18 at New York City’s Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in a ceremony hosted by Brian Williams. Thirty-six winners, chosen by the Peabody Board as the best in electronic media for 2008, were announced on April 1 by the University of Georgia’s Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication. The Peabody Awards are the oldest honor in electronic media.

James Moll’s Inheritance is the winner of a Christopher Award. Imagine watching “Schindler’s List” and knowing that the sadistic Nazi camp commandant played by Ralph Fiennes was your father. Inheritance is the story of Monika Hertwig, daughter of mass murderer Amon Goeth. Hertwig has spent her life in the shadow of her father’s sins, trying to come to terms with her “inheritance.” She seeks out Helen Jonas, who was enslaved by Goeth and who is one of the few living eyewitnesses to his unspeakable brutality. The women’s raw, emotional meeting unearths terrible truths and lingering questions about how the actions of our parents can continue to ripple through generations.

James Moll, Monika Hertwig and Helen Jonas appeared at a special screening of Inheritance at the Museum of Jewish Heritage in New York. Watch an edited version of their conversation. POV’s website for Inheritance also features “Art Spiegelman and the making of Maus” about the landmark book that told the story of Spiegelman’s father’s survival and the author’s own experience as the son of Holocaust survivors. The slideshow features audio interviews with Spiegelman conducted in the late 1980s and early 1990s about the creation of Maus.

The 60th Annual Christopher Awards ceremony will take place on Thursday, April 16 at the McGraw-Hill Building in New York. The Christophers, a nonprofit organization, is rooted in the Judeo-Christian tradition of service to G-d and humanity, guided by the ancient Chinese proverb “It’s better to light one candle than to curse the darkness.” The Christopher Awards, first presented in 1949, annually honor writers, producers, directors and illustrators in publishing, film and television whose work “affirms the highest values of the human spirit.”

Yung Chang’s Up the Yangtze received two awards — Debut Feature Film and Audience Choice Award — at the second annual Cinema Eye Honors for Nonfiction Filmmaking. Nearing completion, China’s massive Three Gorges Dam is altering the landscape and the lives of people living along the fabled Yangtze River. Countless ancient villages and historic locales will be submerged, and 2 million people will lose their homes and livelihoods. The Yu family desperately seeks a reprieve by sending their daughter to work in the cruise ship industry that has sprung up to give tourists a last glimpse of the legendary river valley. With cinematic sweep, Up the Yangtze explores lives transformed by the biggest hydroelectric dam in history, a hotly contested symbol of the Chinese economic miracle. The film, an Official Selection of the 2008 Sundance Film Festival, is an EyeSteelFilm/National Film Board of Canada production in association with American Documentary / POV It is a co-presentation with CAAM.

Listen to a podcast with filmmakers Yung Chang, Ellen Perry (Great Wall Across the Yangtze), David Redmon (Mardi Gras: Made in China) on the challenges and rewards of filming in the ever-changing landscape of contemporary China.

The Cinema Eye Honors were founded in 2007 to celebrate nonfiction films and filmmakers, recognizing the breadth of the genre including the crafts of cinematography, editing, producing and directing. Filmmaker AJ Schnack and Thom Powers, documentary programmer for the Toronto International Film Festival, are the co-chairs. The 2009 Honors were presented at the New York Times Center in New York on March 29.

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POV Pressroom
Produced by American Documentary, Inc., POV is public television’s premier showcase for nonfiction films. Since 1988, POV has been the home for the world’s boldest contemporary filmmakers, celebrating intriguing personal stories that spark conversation and inspire action. Always an innovator, POV discovers fresh new voices and creates interactive experiences that shine a light on social issues and elevate the art of storytelling. With our documentary broadcasts, original online programming and dynamic community engagement campaigns, we are committed to supporting films that capture the imagination and present diverse perspectives.