Downloads: Press Release
Documentaries Spotlight Passionate Individuals Who Transform Themselves And Their Communities
Vince Lombardi famously said, “It’s not whether you get knocked down, it’s whether you get up.” The 15 compelling films in the new season of PBS’s award-winning documentary series POV (Point of View) introduce extraordinarily strong and determined individuals. Subjects including an artist jailed for speaking freely and members of the Syrian resistance willing to lose their lives exhibit incredible resilience when, time and again, they fight to get back on their feet.
The 28th season of POV begins on Monday, June 22, 2015 at 10 p.m. (check local listings) on PBS and continues through the fall. POV is American television’s longest-running independent documentary showcase and the recipient of a 2013 MacArthur Foundation Award for Creative and Effective Institutions.
This summer, POV films take viewers into the lives of characters on the front lines of current events. The season launches with Out in the Night, a powerful documentary about four African-American lesbians who stand their ground as they face law enforcement, the criminal justice system and media bias after being accused of gang assault. The Tribeca Film Festival award-winner Point and Shoot tracks a young man from Baltimore as he drops into the middle of the Libyan Revolution, while the Sundance award-winning Return to Homs witnesses the transformation of peaceful Syrian protesters into armed insurgents.
Closer to home, The Overnighters reveals the toll taken on a small town at the center of a modern-day gold rush, where thousands of workers seek a fresh start in the North Dakota oil fields. The theme of new beginnings continues in Tough Love, where persistent parents navigate the legal system and Child Protective Services, battling to regain custody of their children. Don’t Tell Anyone (“No Le Digas a Nadie”) is a portrait of a brave young woman, tired of living in the shadows, who comes out as “undocumented and unafraid.”
Three special presentations slated for the fall explore how art shapes identity, and will be paired with other arts-related PBS programs. In the Oscar®-nominated Cutie and the Boxer, two visual artists depict themselves, each other and their embattled 40-year marriage in their work, and in Ai Weiwei: The Fake Case, the Chinese government’s attempt to silence the titular artist only serves to give him a stronger voice. In Art and Craft, an art forger is so expert that he blurs the line between original and copy–and perhaps between himself and the masters whose work he reproduces.
“This year’s films feature strong individuals viewers won’t easily forget,” said POV Executive Producer Chris White. “Intimate and urgent, these are the stories of our times. We are proud to present a slate of films that challenge, enlighten and inspire.”
POV 2015 Schedule (All programs air Mondays at 10 p.m. unless otherwise indicated; check local listings):
June 22: Out in the Night by blair dorosh-walther
In 2006, under the neon lights of a gay-friendly neighborhood in New York City, a group of African-American lesbians were violently threatened by a man on the street. The women fought back and were later charged with gang assault and attempted murder. The tabloids quickly dubbed them a gang of “Killer Lesbians” and a “Wolf Pack.” Three pleaded guilty to avoid a trial, but the remaining four–Renata, Patreese, Venice and Terrain–maintained their innocence. The award-winning Out in the Night examines the sensational case and the women’s uphill battle, revealing the role that race, gender identity and sexuality play in our criminal justice system. A co-production of ITVS. A co-presentation with the National Black Programming Consortium (NBPC).
June 29: The Overnighters by Jesse Moss
Chasing the American dream, thousands of workers flock to a North Dakota town where the oil business is booming. But instead of well-paying jobs, many find slim work prospects and a severe housing shortage. Pastor Jay Reinke converts his church into a makeshift dorm and counseling center, allowing hundreds of men, some with checkered pasts, to stay despite the congregation’s objections and neighbors’ fears. When opposition to the “overnighters” reaches a boiling point, Pastor Jay makes a decision with shattering consequences. A modern-day Grapes of Wrath, The Overnighters tells an electrifying story about the promise of redemption and the limits of compassion. Winner, Special Jury Award for Intuitive Filmmaking: Documentary, 2014 Sundance Film Festival.
Airing with The Overnighters are three short films, including two StoryCorps animated shorts: In A More Perfect Union, Theresa Burroughs recalls her persistence during the Jim Crow era in the South. In The Last Viewing, Allen Hoe remembers a trip to Washington, D.C. for Memorial Day to remember his son Nainoa, killed in Iraq. Major funding provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. Produced in association with American Documentary | POV.
Theo Rigby and Kate McLean’s short film The Caretaker is a portrait of two women who are outsiders in the place they call home: Haru, a 95-year-old Japanese-American migrant who was interned during World War II, and Joesy, an undocumented worker from Fiji who tenderly cares for her.
July 6: Tough Love by Stephanie Wang-Breal
What makes a good parent? How do you prove you are responsible after you’ve been deemed unfit? Having lost custody of their children to Child Protective Services, two parents–one in New York City and one in Seattle–fight to win back the trust of the courts and reunite their families in Stephanie Wang-Breal’s moving film. Acknowledging their past parenting mistakes due to poverty, poor choices and addiction, both Hannah and Patrick contend with a complex bureaucracy to prove they deserve a second chance. A co-production of ITVS. A co-presentation with the Center for Asian American Media (CAAM).
July 13: Web Junkie by Shosh Shlam and Hilla Medalia
Internet addiction has been declared a national health crisis in China, the first country in the world to classify this evolving diagnosis. Web Junkie follows the treatment of three Chinese teenagers, obsessive gamers whose preference for the virtual world over the real one is summed up in one jarring statement: “Reality is too fake.” Israeli filmmakers Shosh Shlam and Hilla Medalia gained extraordinary access to a three-month military-style rehab program in Beijing, illuminating a process that, while stern, may help set a standard as the wider world comes to grips with the devastating consequences of excessive Internet use. Official Selection of the 2014 Sundance Film Festival.
July 20: Return to Homs by Talal Derki
War changes people, including 19-year-old Basset Saroot, who went from star goalkeeper for the Syrian national soccer team to peaceful advocate for Arab Spring reforms to armed insurgent. Return to Homs, which focuses on Basset and his ragtag group’s transformation and struggles, is a heart-stopping, often wrenching study of the brutal war President Bashar al-Assad’s regime has waged against the Syrian people–a war fought mostly out of camera range that has produced epic heroism and tragedy. Winner of Sundance’s 2014 World Cinema Grand Jury Prize for Documentary, this is an unprecedented view inside a conflict that many accuse the world of overlooking. Winner of the first George Polk Documentary Film Award.
July 27: Tea Time by Maite Alberdi
Ritual is often associated with powerful and impersonal institutions, but for five Chilean women, ritual centers on a monthly gathering that has sustained them through 60 years of personal and societal change. Tea Time is a charming and poignant look at how a seemingly mundane routine of tea and pastries has helped the well-heeled participants commemorate life’s joys and cope with infidelity, illness and death. A celebration of the small things that help us endure, Tea Time, filmed over five years, illuminates a beautiful paradox: As familiar worlds slip away, friendships grow ever stronger and more profound. A co-production of ITVS International. A co-presentation with Latino Public Broadcasting.Official Selection of the 2014 International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam.
Aug. 3: Beats of the Antonov by hajooj kuka
Sudan has been in an almost constant state of civil war since it achieved independence in 1956, and it split into a pair of sovereign states in 2011. On the border between the two, Russian-made Antonov planes indiscriminately drop bombs on settlements in the Nuba Mountains below. Yet, incredibly, the people of the Blue Nile respond to adversity with music, singing and dancing to celebrate their survival. Beats of the Antonov explores how music binds a community together, offering hope and a common identity for refugees engaged in a fierce battle to protect cultural traditions and heritage from those trying to obliterate them. Winner, Grolsch People’s Choice Documentary Award, 2014 Toronto International Film Festival.
Aug. 10: Encore Presentation — When I Walk by Jason DaSilva
Jason DaSilva was 25 and a rising filmmaker when he was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis and inspired to film this forthright–and surprisingly uplifting–look at his new life. He searches for a cure, yet a different miracle comes his way. Official Selection of the 2013 Sundance Film Festival. A co-production of ITVS. A co-presentation with CAAM.
Aug. 17: Neuland by Anna Thommen
Meet the young students in Mr. Zingg’s integration class, who came to Switzerland by planes, trains and automobiles–and even by rubber boats. Separated from their families and in many cases traumatized by events in their home countries, these migrants from Afghanistan, Cameroon, Serbia and Venezuela already have long and arduous journeys behind them. Neuland (“New Territory”) follows the adolescents over two years as they struggle to learn a new language, prepare themselves for employment and reveal their innermost hopes and dreams. But as the end of school draws near, each student must face the same difficult question: Is there a place for me in this country?
Aug. 24: Point and Shoot by Marshall Curry
Two-time Oscar® nominee Marshall Curry celebrates his 10th anniversary with POV with the amazing tale of Matt VanDyke. A timid 26-year-old with obsessive-compulsive disorder, Matt left home in Baltimore in 2006 for what he called a “crash course in manhood.” He bought a motorcycle and a video camera and set off to film himself on a multi-year, 35,000-mile odyssey through North Africa and the Middle East. When revolution broke out in Libya, he joined the rebels fighting Muammar Gaddafi, but was captured, sending his adventure in a frightening new direction. Point and Shoot joins Matt’s wild ride, exploring how in the age of the selfie we use cameras not just to capture our stories, but to craft them. A co-production of Marshall Curry Productions, American Documentary | POV and ITVS. Winner, Best Documentary Feature Award, 2014 Tribeca Film Festival.
Aug. 31: The Storm Makers by Guillaume Suon
More than half a million Cambodians work abroad, and a staggering number of those become slaves. Many are young women, held prisoner and forced to work in horrific conditions, sometimes as prostitutes. A chilling exposé of Cambodia’s human trafficking underworld, The Storm Makers weaves the story of Aya, a young peasant sold into slavery at age 16, with that of two powerful traffickers (known as “storm makers” for the havoc they wreak) who use deception to funnel a stream of poor and illiterate people across the country’s borders. French-Cambodian filmmaker Guillaume Suon presents an eye-opening look at the cycle of poverty, despair and greed that fuels this brutal modern slave trade.
Sept. 19: Cutie and the Boxer by Zachary Heinzerling
The Academy Award®-nominated Cutie and the Boxer is a moving account of the chaotic and unconventional 40-year love affair and creative partnership between action painter Ushio Shinohara and his wife, Noriko, also an artist. Ushio, who punches canvases with paint-laden gloves, is famous in Japan and in Manhattan’s art circles, yet wider recognition has eluded him. Noriko, 21 years his junior, put her artistic ambitions on hold to be a wife and mother–and an assistant to her demanding husband. Now, Noriko’s acclaimed “Cutie” series of drawings, depicting the relationship between the title character and a volatile figure named Bullie, is turning their world upside down. Winner, Directing Award: U.S. Documentary, 2013 Sundance Film Festival.
Sept. 21: Don’t Tell Anyone by Mikaela Shwer
Since the age of 4, Angy Rivera has lived in the United States with a secret that threatens to upend her life: She is undocumented. Now 24 and facing an uncertain future, Rivera becomes an activist for undocumented youth with a popular advice blog and a YouTube channel boasting more than 27,000 views. She steps out of the shadows a second time to share her story of sexual abuse, an experience all too common among undocumented women. Don’t Tell Anyone (“No Le Digas a Nadie”) follows Rivera’s remarkable journey from poverty in rural Colombia to the front page of The New York Times. A co-presentation with Latino Public Broadcasting.
Sept. 25: Art and Craft, directed by Sam Cullman and Jennifer Grausman; co-directed by Mark Becker
Mark Landis is one of the most prolific art forgers of the modern era–and he isn’t in it for the money. In the last 30 years he’s copied hundreds of pieces, from 15th-century icons to works by Picasso and even Dr. Seuss, then donated them to museums across the country. When a tenacious registrar discovers the ruse, Landis must confront his legacy and a chorus of duped professionals intent on stopping him. But Landis is a diagnosed schizophrenic, driven to escape “the life of a mental patient,” and ending the con isn’t so simple. A cat-and-mouse caper told with humor and compassion, Art and Craft uncovers the universal in one man’s search for connection and respect. Official Selection of the 2014 Tribeca Film Festival and International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam. Named a Top 5 Documentary by the National Board of Review. Produced in association with American Documentary | POV.
Oct. 2: Ai Weiwei: The Fake Case by Andreas Johnsen
Weiwei has a serious problem with authority: The Chinese government not only kidnapped and imprisoned the world-renowned artist in a secret location for protesting its repressive policies, but after his release it conducted a show trial on baseless charges of tax evasion and pornography. Ai Weiwei: The Fake Case, a stunning and stirring documentary by Andreas Johnsen, dissects the persecution and shows how the government’s attempts to silence Ai Weiwei have turned him into China’s most powerful artist and an irrepressible voice for free speech and human rights around the globe. Official Selection of the 2013 International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam.
POV 2014 At-a-Glance
(All programs air Mondays at 10 p.m.; check local listings.)
June 22 Out in the Night
June 29 The Overnighters
July 6 Tough Love
July 13 Web Junkie
July 20 Return to Homs
July 27 Tea Time
Aug. 3 Beats of the Antonov
Aug. 10 When I Walk (Encore)
Aug. 17 Neuland
Aug. 24 Point and Shoot
Aug. 31 The Storm Makers
Fall 2015 (date/time TBA) Ai Weiwei: The Fake Case
Fall 2015 (date/time TBA) Art and Craft
Fall 2015 (date/time TBA) Cutie and the Boxer
Fall 2015 (date/time TBA) Don’t Tell Anyone
POV Series Credits:
Executive Producers: Chris White, Simon Kilmurry
Associate Producer: Nicole Tsien
Coordinating Producer: Nikki Heyman
Produced by American Documentary, Inc., POV is public television’s premier showcase for nonfiction films. The series airs Mondays at 10 p.m. on PBS from June to September, with primetime specials during the year. 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.
POV films have won 32 Emmy® Awards, 18 George Foster Peabody Awards, 12 Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Awards, three Academy Awards®, the first-ever George Polk Documentary Film Award and the Prix Italia. The POV series has been honored with a Special News & Documentary Emmy Award for Excellence in Television Documentary Filmmaking, two IDA Awards for Best Continuing Series and the National Association of Latino Independent Producers (NALIP) Award for Corporate Commitment to Diversity. More information is available at www.pbs.org/pov.
POV Community Engagement and Education (www.pbs.org/pov/engage)
POV’s Community Engagement and Education team works with educators, community organizations and PBS stations to present more than 650 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.
POV Digital (www.pbs.org/pov/)
Since 1994, POV Digital has driven new storytelling initiatives and interactive production for POV. The department created PBS’s first program website and its first web-based documentary (POV’s Borders) and has won major awards, including a Webby Award (and six nominations) and an Online News Association Award. POV Digital continues to explore the future of independent nonfiction media through its digital productions and the POV Hackathon lab, where media makers and technologists collaborate to reinvent storytelling forms. @povdocs on Twitter.
American Documentary, Inc. (www.amdoc.org/)
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.
Major funding for POV is provided by PBS, The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Corporation for Public Broadcasting, and National Endowment for the Arts. Additional funding comes from Nancy Blachman and David desJardins, Bertha Foundation, The Fledgling Fund, Marguerite Casey Foundation, Ettinger Foundation, New York State Council on the Arts, New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, Ann Tenenbaum and Thomas H. Lee, and public television viewers. POV is presented by a consortium of public television stations, including KQED San Francisco, WGBH Boston and THIRTEEN in association with WNET.ORG.