Remarkable Individuals Challenge Authority and Their Own Limitations to Indict a Dictator, Keep Investigative Journalism Alive, Rebuild After Katrina and Find Strength in Love

Award-winning Documentary Series Moves to Thursday Nights in 2012; New Season Premieres June 21, 2012 at 10 p.m. on PBS

Launched in 1988 to showcase new and challenging point-of-view documentaries on PBS, POV (Point of View) has grown to become American television’s longest-running series dedicated to contemporary nonfiction programming. POV films have won virtually every major film and broadcasting honor, including Academy Awards®, Emmys® and Peabodys. In its 25 years on public television, POV has featured dramatic and provocative accounts of contemporary life that — like the season opener, My Reincarnation— provide unparalleled access to half-hidden worlds of timely interest. Some, like this season’s Granito: How to Nail a Dictator, even alter the course of history.

POV moves this year from Tuesdays to Thursdays on PBS, and the series begins its 25th season on Thursday, June 21, 2012 at 10 p.m. (check local listings) with award-winning filmmaker Jennifer Fox’s My Reincarnation, the story of a father’s spiritual persistence and a son’s spiritual awakening. The regular season runs through Thursday, Oct. 25 and continues with two special presentations in 2013: Reportero on Monday, Jan. 7 at 10 p.m., which conveys the urgent story of journalists risking their lives to expose the truth; and Girl Model, a cautionary tale that follows a complex supply chain of young models that stretches across Siberia, Japan and the United States (date and time to be announced).

Also this season, El Velador (The Night Watchman), Nostalgia for the Light and The City Dark push the boundaries of the documentary genre to unlock the secrets of the night sky—through the silence that follows the violence of Mexico’s drug war; to a Chilean desert, where astronomers explore the universe and women reclaim their dead; and in America’s cities, where the glare of technology just might be making darkness a thing of the past. And Oscar®-winning director Jonathan Demme, whose Cousin Bobby premiered on POV in 1993, returns with I’m Carolyn Parker: The Good, the Mad and the Beautiful, a story of personal triumph after Hurricane Katrina.

Watch POV Season 25 Preview on PBS. See more from POV.

"After 25 years, POV is entering an especially creative and important time for documentary filmmaking in America," says Simon Kilmurry, executive producer of POV. "POV has been the showcase for the work of such documentary greats as Errol Morris, Jonathan Demme, Albert and David Maysles, Michael Moore, Freida Lee Mock and Frederick Wiseman. Programming this series is as exciting as ever. The ability and drive of independent filmmakers to capture the realities of our time is higher than ever, as is the public’s interest in their work—on television, online and across an ever-increasing number of platforms."

"Since POV went on the air on 1988 with Louis Alvarez and Andrew Kolker’s American Tongues, our mission has been to champion the documentary art form by offering filmmakers a venue where they can take creative risks, maintain editorial control and reach a diverse audience," adds Cynthia López, POV co-executive producer. "We are so proud that 25 years later, POV continues to be a destination where viewers in search of critical, in-depth information and personal stories about today’s social issues can find content, and where filmmakers can make an impact on the social, political and cultural landscape."

POV 2012 Schedule (All 2012 programs air Thursdays at 10 p.m.; check local listings):

June 21My Reincarnation by Jennifer Fox

Filmed over 20 years by acclaimed documentarian Jennifer Fox, My Reincarnation chronicles the epic story of exiled Tibetan Buddhist master Chögyal Namkhai Norbu and his Western-born son, Yeshi. As Norbu rises as a teacher in the West, Yeshi, recognized from birth as the reincarnation of a famed Buddhist master, breaks away to embrace the modern world. Can the father convince his son to keep the family’s spiritual legacy alive? With intimate access to both the family and H.H. the Dalai Lama, Fox distills a decades-long drama into a universal story about love, transformation and destiny. Winner, Top 20 Audience Award, 2010 International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam (IDFA). Produced in association with American Documentary | POV.

June 28 Granito: How to Nail a Dictator by Peter Kinoy, Pamela Yates and Paco de Onís

In a stunning milestone for justice in Central America, a Guatemalan court recently charged former dictator Efraín Rios Montt with genocide for his brutal war against the country’s Mayan people in the 1980s – Pamela Yates’ 1983 documentary, When the Mountains Tremble, provided key evidence for bringing the indictment. Granito: How to Nail a Dictator tells the extraordinary story of how a film, aiding a new generation of human rights activists, became a granito—a tiny grain of sand—that helped tip the scales of justice. An Official Selection of the 2011 Sundance Film Festival. A co-production of ITVS.

July 5 The City Dark by Ian Cheney

Is darkness becoming extinct? When filmmaker Ian Cheney moved from rural Maine to New York City and discovers the streets awash in light and skies devoid of stars, he embarks on a journey to America’s brightest and darkest corners, asking astronomers, cancer researchers and ecologists what is lost in the glare of city lights. Blending a humorous, searching narrative with poetic footage of the night sky, The City Dark provides a fascinating introduction to the science of the dark and an exploration of our relationship to the stars.

July 12 Guilty Pleasures by Julie Moggan

Every four seconds a romance novel published by Harlequin or its British counterpart, Mills & Boon, is sold somewhere in the world. Julie Moggan’s Guilty Pleasures takes an amusing and touching look at this global phenomenon. Ironies abound in the contrasts between the everyday lives of the books’ readers and the fantasy worlds that offer them escape. Guilty Pleasures portrays five romance novel devotees who must, ultimately, find their dreams in the real world. An Official Selection of the 2010 IDFA.

July 19 The Light in Her Eyes by Julia Meltzer and Laura Nix

Houda al-Habash, a conservative Muslim preacher, founded a Qur’an school for girls in Damascus, Syria, 30 years ago. Every summer, her female students immerse themselves in a rigorous study of Islam. A surprising cultural shift is underway and women are claiming space within the mosque. Shot right before the uprising in Syria erupted, The Light in Her Eyes offers an extraordinary portrait of a leader who challenges the women of her community to live according to Islam, without giving up their aspirations. An Official Selection of the 2011 IDFA.

July 26 Up Heartbreak Hill by Erica Scharf

Thomas and Tamara are track stars at their rural New Mexico high school. Like many teenagers, they are torn between the lure of brighter futures elsewhere and the ties that bind them to home. For these teens, however, home is an impoverished town on the Navajo reservation, and leaving means separating from family, tradition and the land that has been theirs for generations. Erica Scharf’s Up Heartbreak Hill is a moving look at a new generation of Americans struggling to be both Native and modern. A co-production of Long Distance Films, Native American Public Telecommunications, ITVS, POV’s Diverse Voices Project and New Mexico PBS, with funding provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (cpb).

POV is preempted on Aug. 2, and returns the following week.

Aug. 9POV Short Cuts

Short is sweet as POV presents brief documentary encounters, including an Academy Award nominee, a Student Academy Award® winner and the return of StoryCorps:

  • The Barber of Birmingham: Foot Soldier of the Civil Rights Movement by Gail Dolgin and Robin Fryday — In this 2012 Oscar-nominated short film, Alabama barber and civil rights veteran James Armstrong experiences the fulfillment of an unimaginable dream: the election of the first African-American president. An Official Selection of the 2011 Sundance Film Festival. 21 minutes.
  • Sin País (Without Country) by Theo Rigby — Winner of a 2011 Student Academy Award, this short film explores one family’s complex and emotional journey involving deportation. 19 minutes.
  • StoryCorps by The Rauch Brothers — The Peabody Award-winning oral-history project StoryCorps brings intimate conversations among friends and families to life in touching, often humorous animated shorts that tell universal stories. Funded by CPB.
    • 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. 2minutes.
    • Facundo the Great — Ramón "Chunky" Sanchez recounts how the new kid at school became a hero when his teachers could not find a way to anglicize his name. 1 minute.
    • A Family Man — Sam Black talks to his wife about his father, an enduring lesson and the power of a look. 3 minutes.

From Aug. 16Sept. 13, during PBS Pledge Break, the Republican and Democratic National Conventions and special programming, POV reprises five acclaimed films:

Aug. 16 — Encore presentation: Steam of Life by Joonas Berghäll and Mika Hotakainen

From Finland comes Steam of Life, a moody, comic and moving study of men as framed by the national obsession with the sauna, where they come together to sweat out not only the grime of contemporary life, but also their grief, hopes, joys and memories. The acclaimed film provides a surprising glimpse into the troubled and often reticent hearts of contemporary Western men.

Aug. 23 — Encore presentation: Presumed Guilty, a film by Roberto Hernández and Layda Negrete, directed by Roberto Hernández and Geoffrey Smith

Imagine being picked up off the street, told you have committed a murder you know nothing about and then finding yourself sentenced to 20 years in jail. In 2005 this happened to Toñ Zúñiga in Mexico City and, like thousands of others, he was wrongfully imprisoned. Presumed Guilty is the story of two young lawyers and their struggle to free Zúñiga. With no background in film, Roberto Hern´ndez and Layda Negrete set about recording the injustices they were witnessing, enlisting director Geoffrey Smith (The English Surgeon, POV 2009) to tell this dramatic story. Winner, 2011 News & Documentary Emmy Award, Outstanding Investigative Journalism—Long Form. A co-presentation with Latino Public Broadcasting (LPB).

Aug. 30 — Encore presentation: Better This World by Kelly Duane de la Vega and Katie Galloway

The story of Bradley Crowder and David McKay, accused of intending to firebomb the 2008 Republican National Convention, is a tale of idealism, loyalty, crime and betrayal. Better This World follows the radicalization of these boyhood friends from Midland, Texas, under a revolutionary activist. The results: eight homemade bombs, multiple domestic terrorism charges and an entrapment defense hinging on a controversial FBI informant. Winner, 2012 Writers Guild Award for Best Documentary. A co-production ITVS, with funding provided by CPB. Produced in association with American Documentary | POV.

Sept. 6 — Encore presentation: Where Soldiers Come From by Heather Courtney

From a small town in northern Michigan to the mountains of Afghanistan, Where Soldiers Come From follows the four-year journey of childhood friends who join the National Guard after high school. As the young men transform from restless teenagers to soldiers looking for roadside bombs to 23-year-old combat veterans, the film offers an intimate look at the Americans who fight our wars and the families and towns they come from. Winner, Best Documentary Feature Editing Award, 2011 SXSW Film Festival. A co-production of Quincy Hill Films and ITVS in association with American Documentary | POV, with funding provided by CPB.

Sept. 13 — Encore Presentation: Kings of Pastry by Chris Hegedus and D A Pennebaker

When Chris Hegedus and D A Pennebaker, award-winning filmmakers of The War Room and Don’t Look Back, turn their sights on the competition for the Meilleurs Ouvriers de France awards, the country’s Nobel Prize for pastry, you’re in for a treat. In Kings of Pastry, 16 chefs, including Jacquy Pfeiffer, co-founder of Chicago’s French Pastry School, whip up the most gorgeous, delectable, gravity-defying concoctions and edge-of-your-seat drama as they deliver their spun-sugar desserts to the display table. The inevitable disasters and successes prove both poignant and hilarious. An Official Selection of the 2009 IDFA.

POV returns with regularly scheduled film premieres the following week:

Sept. 20I’m Carolyn Parker: The Good, the Mad, and the Beautiful by Jonathan Demme

In 2005, Academy Award-winning director Jonathan Demme set out to document the devastation wreaked by Hurricane Katrina and the rebuilding of New Orleans’ Lower Ninth Ward. When he met Carolyn Parker, what began as a historical documentary morphed into a vibrant character study of the courage and resiliency of this fearless matriarch and civil rights activist. I’m Carolyn Parker: The Good, the Mad, and the Beautiful is Demme’s intimate account of Parker’s five-year crusade to rebuild her beloved neon-green house, her church, her community — and her life. Official Selection of the 2011 IDFA and Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF). Produced in association with American Documentary | POV.

Sept. 27El Velador (The Night Watchman) by Natalia Almada

Award-winning director Natalia Almada (Al Otro Lado, POV 2005; El General, POV 2009) returns with a beautiful and mesmerizing new film. From dusk to dawn, El Velador (The Night Watchman) accompanies Martin, a guard who watches over the extravagant mausoleums of some of Mexico’s most notorious drug lords. In the labyrinth of the cemetery, this film about violence without violence, amid the turmoil of a drug war that has claimed more than 50,000 lives, ordinary existence persists in Mexico and quietly defies the dead. Official Selection of the 2011 Cannes Directors’ Fortnight, New Directors/New Films and IDFA. A co-production of Altamura Films, LPB and American Documentary | POV, with funding provided by CPB. A co-presentation with LPB.

Oct. 4Give Up Tomorrow by Michael Collinsand Marty Syjuco

As a tropical storm beats down on an island in the Philippines, two sisters leave work and never make it home. Paco Larrañaga, a 19-year-old student, is sentenced to death for their rape and murder, despite overwhelming evidence of his innocence. Give Up Tomorrow exposes shocking corruption within the judicial system of the Philippines in one of the most sensational trials in the country’s history. Two grieving mothers, entangled in a case that ends a nation’s use of capital punishment but fails to free an innocent man, dedicate more than a decade to executing or saving him. Winner, Audience Award, 2011 Tribeca Film Festival. An Official Selection of the 2011 IDFA. A co-production of ITVS, the Center for Asian American Media (CAAM) and POV’s Diverse Voices Project, with funding provided by CPB in association with the BBC. A co-presentation with CAAM.

As the vice-presidential debate takes place the following week, POV offers an encore presentation and subsequently returns with film premieres:

Oct. 11 — Encore presentation: If a Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front by Marshall Curry

If a Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front, nominated for a 2012 Oscar, explores two of America’s most pressing issues—environmentalism and terrorism—by lifting the veil on a radical environmental group the FBI calls America’s "No. 1 domestic terrorism threat." Former ELF member Daniel McGowan faces life in prison for two multimillion-dollar arsons in Oregon. What turned this working-class kid from Queens into an eco-warrior? Marshall Curry (Oscar-nominated Street Fight, POV 2005; Racing Dreams, POV 2012) tells the provocative story. Winner, Best Documentary Editing Award, 2011 Sundance Film Festival. A co-production of ITVS in association with American Documentary | POV, with funding provided by CPB.

Oct. 18Sun Kissed by Maya Stark and Adi Lavy

When a Navajo couple discovers their children have a disorder that makes exposure to sunlight fatal, they also learn their reservation is a hotbed for this rare genetic disease. Why? Sun Kissed follows Dorey and Yolanda Nez as they confront cultural taboos, tribal history and their own unconventional choices to learn the shocking truth: the consequences of the Navajos’ Long Walk—their forced relocation by the U.S. military in 1864—are far from over. A co-production of ITVS, with funding provided by CPB. A co-presentation with NAPT.

Oct. 25 Nostalgia for the Light by Patricio Guzmán

Patricio Guzm´n’s Nostalgia for the Light is a remarkable meditation on memory, history and eternity. Chile’s remote Atacama Desert, 10,000 feet above sea level, provides stunningly clear views of the heavens. But it also holds secrets from the past in its arid soil: human remains, from pre-Columbian mummies to the bones of political prisoners "disappeared" during the Pinochet dictatorship. In this otherworldly place, earthly and celestial quests meld: Archaeologists dig for ancient civilizations, women search for their loved ones and astronomers scan the skies for new galaxies.An Official Selection of the 2010 Cannes Film Festival. Winner, 2011 International Documentary Association Award for Best Feature. A co-presentation with LPB.

Monday, Jan. 7, 2013, 10 p.m. — Special Presentation: Reportero by Bernardo Ruiz

Reportero follows veteran reporter Sergio Haro and his colleagues at Zeta, a Tijuana-based independent newsweekly, as they stubbornly ply their trade in one of the deadliest places in the world for members of the media. In Mexico, more than 40 journalists have been slain or have vanished since December 2006, when President Felipe Calderón came to power and launched a government offensive against the country’s powerful drug cartels and organized crime. As the drug war intensifies and the risks to journalists become greater, will the free press be silenced? An Official Selection of the 2012 Full Frame Documentary Film Festival. A co-production of Quiet Pictures, ITVS and LPB, with funding provided by CPB. A co-presentation with LPB.

Winter 2013 Special Presentation — (date and time TBA) Girl Model by A. Sabin and David Redmon

Girl Model strips away the facade of the modeling industry by following two people whose lives intersect because of it. Ashley is a deeply conflicted American model scout, and 13-year-old Nadya, plucked from a remote Siberian village and promised a lucrative career in Japan, is her latest discovery. As the young girl searches for glamour and an escape from poverty, she confronts the harsh realities of a culture that worships youth—and an industry that makes perpetual childhood a globally traded commodity. Official Selection of the 2011 IDFA and TIFF. Winner, 2011 POV | Alpha Cine Award. Produced in association with American Documentary | POV.

Produced by American Documentary, Inc. and celebrating its 25th season on PBS in 2012, the award-winning POV series is the longest-running showcase on American television to feature the work of today’s best independent documentary filmmakers. Airing June through October with primetime specials during the year, POV has brought more than 325 acclaimed 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. Visit

Major funding for POV is provided by PBS, The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, New York State Council on the Arts, New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, the desJardins/Blachman Fund and public television viewers. Funding for POV’s Diverse Voices Projectis provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts. Special support provided by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. POV is presented by a consortium of public television stations, including KQED San Francisco, WGBH Boston and THIRTEEN in association with WNET.ORG.

POV Digital (

POV’s award-winning website extends the life of our films online with interactive features, interviews, updates, video and educational content, as well as listings for television broadcasts, community screenings and films available online. The POV Blog is a gathering place for documentary fans and filmmakers to discuss their favorite films and get the latest news.

POV Community Engagement and Education(

POV’s Community Engagement and Education team works with educators, community organizations and PBS stations to present more than 600 free screenings every year. In addition, we distribute free discussion guides and standards-aligned lesson plans for each of our films. With our community partners, we inspire dialogue around the most important social issues of our time.

American Documentary, Inc. (

American Documentary, Inc. (AmDoc) is a multimedia company dedicated to creating, identifying and presenting contemporary stories that express opinions and perspectives rarely featured in mainstream media outlets. AmDoc is a catalyst for public culture, developing collaborative strategic engagement activities around socially relevant content on television, online and in community settings. These activities are designed to trigger action, from dialogue and feedback to educational opportunities and community participation.

POV Communications: 212-989-7425. Emergency contact: 646-729-4748
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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.