POV and WORLD Channel to Stream 30 Films for 30 Days; Marathon Includes the National TV Debut of 500 YEARS from POV veteran filmmaker Pamela Yates
Longest Running Independent Documentary Series on American Television; Winner of Oscars, Emmys, and Dozens of Other Major Awards
New York, N.Y. — Dec. 1, 2017 — Capstoning a year of celebrations for the documentary showcases’ 30th anniversary, PBS television series POV is excited to announce its first-ever documentary marathon. Premiering on public television’s WORLD Channel, the binge-worthy marathon will showcase films from POV’s rich and diverse history of character-driven stories over a 24-hour period. Kicking off on New Year’s Eve, the marathon will also run 30 films for 30 days on the POV streaming service at pov.org, pbs.org, and the PBS Anywhere app. POV is the longest running independent documentary series on American television.
The marathon will also include the television premiere of the film 500 Years by Emmy-nominated and veteran POV filmmaker Pamela Yates, which will broadcast twice on January 1, 2018 at 8/7 p.m. Eastern Time and at 9 p.m. Pacific Time on the WORLD Channel. The film will also begin streaming on Amazon Prime Video on December 1. 500 Years had its world premiere at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival.
The marathon will begin broadcasting on the WORLD Channel at 10 p.m. on Saturday, December 31, kicking off with the three-time Emmy-nominated American Promise, which received a top prize at the Sundance Film Festival in 2013. The television marathon will continue until 10 p.m. on January 1, 2018.
Following the one-day marathon, 30 films from the POV catalog will be available to stream online for free for 30 days. The films can be streamed on any device through the PBS app, or accessed on pov.org and worldchannel.org.
POV films have won 37 Emmy Awards, 19 George Foster Peabody Awards, 12 Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Awards and three Academy Awards. A production of American Documentary, POV airs Mondays on PBS during the summer and fall, while its sister series America ReFramed airs year-round on WORLD. POV’s last broadcast of the 30th season will premiere on Monday, February 12, 2018, with Do Not Resist.
Spanning POV’s 500-film archive, the titles streaming in January include classics such as Jonathan Demme’s I’m Carolyn Parker, Marshall Curry’s Street Fight, Natalia Almada’s Al Otro Lado: To the Other Side and Whitney Dow’s and Marco Williams’ Two Towns of Jasper. American Tongues, POV’s first-ever film to broadcast, will also stream in January.
“WORLD Channel is honored to usher in a new year of thoughtfully produced and carefully curated programming with a celebration of POV’s impressive milestone,” said Chris Hastings, executive producer of WORLD Channel for WGBH. “POV continues to set the standard for presenting documentary films to public media audiences. We are excited to expand our partnership with American Documentary as it celebrates 30 years of presenting award-winning stories.”
“Given our extraordinary collection of films, we thought there was no better way of celebrating 30 years of groundbreaking documentaries than bringing them to the public through broadcast and streaming,” said Eliza Licht, vice president of content strategy and engagement. “These films showcase the rich diversity of topics, subjects and filmmakers that have graced our screens since 1988. Neither this marathon nor our past 30 seasons would have been possible without the work of our talented filmmakers.”
POV executive producer Chris White added: “The film marathon on the WORLD Channel is a milestone event for POV. It’s our first-ever televised film marathon, and we owe special thanks to our partners at WGBH and the WORLD Channel. We are proud to build on our existing relationship around America ReFramed. As we move beyond our 30th season, we will continue exploring new ways to bring strong, independent documentaries to the public.”
To learn more about the broadcast premiere of 500 Years or about the 30 films streaming for 30 days, continue below, or visit pbs.org/pov/30marathon.
About the Film 500 Years (Jan. 1 at 8 p.m. and Jan. 2 at 12 a.m. on WORLD Channel)
By Pamela Yates
From a historic genocide trial to the ousting of a president, 500 Years tells a sweeping story of mounting resistance played out in Guatemala’s recent history, through the actions and perspectives of the majority indigenous Mayan population, who now stand poised to re-imagine their society.
In 500 Years, the Mayans lead Guatemala to a historical tipping point, from the genocide trial of former dictator General Rios Montt to the citizens’ uprising that toppled President Otto Pérez Molina. While indigenous peoples of Guatemala are no strangers to oppression, change finally seems possible with these recent popular movements.
500 Years also introduces the music of up-and-coming Mayan singer/songwriter Sara
Curruchich, who sings Ralk’wa’l ulew (Children of the Land in Mayan language Kaqchikel) at the close of the film.
As witness to this heroic moment in Guatemalan history, 500 Years documents the beginning of the end of a culture of impunity and a society ready for change. Focusing on universal themes of justice, racism, power and corruption, 500 Years resonates throughout the Americas, from Canada to Tierra del Fuego.
About the Filmmaker of 500 Years
Pamela Yates, Director
Pamela Yates is a co-founder and current creative director of Skylight, a media company dedicated to creating feature length documentary films and digital media tools that advance awareness of human rights and the quest for justice. Her previous directing credits include When the Mountains Tremble and State of Fear: The Truth About Terrorism.
POV’s 30th Anniversary Marathon Broadcast Schedule
(All films will also be available for streaming for 30 days on pov.org and WORLD Channel)
American Promise, (Dec. 31 at 10 p.m. on WORLD Channel)
By Joe Brewster and Michèle Stephenson, premiered on POV in 2014
American Promise spans 13 years as Joe Brewster and Michèle Stephenson, middle-class African-American parents in Brooklyn, N.Y., turn their cameras on their son, Idris, and his best friend, Seun, who make their way through Dalton, one of the most prestigious private schools in the country. Chronicling the boys’ divergent paths from kindergarten through high school graduation, this provocative, intimate documentary presents complicated truths about America’s struggle to come of age on issues of race, class and opportunity. A co-production of Rada Film Group, ITVS and POV’s Diverse Voices Project, with funding provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB). Part of American Graduate: Let’s Make It Happen, made possible by CPB. Produced in association with American Documentary | POV. A co-presentation with the National Black Programming Consortium.
When I Walk (Jan. 1 at 12 a.m.)
By Jason Dasilva, premiered on POV in 2014
Jason DaSilva was 25 years old and a rising independent filmmaker when a diagnosis of multiple sclerosis changed everything — and inspired him to make another film. When I Walk is a candid and brave chronicle of one young man’s struggle to adapt to the harsh realities of M.S. while holding on to his personal and creative life. With his body growing weaker, DaSilva’s spirits, and his film, get a boost from his mother’s tough love and the support of Alice Cook, who becomes his wife and filmmaking partner. The result is a life-affirming documentary filled with unexpected moments of joy and humor.
American Aloha (1:30 a.m.)
By Lisette Marie Flanary, premiered on POV in 2003
Few American icons are as well known for their popular kitsch as the hula dance. From old Hollywood movies to entertainment for tourists, the hip-swaying girls in grass skirts and colorful lei have long masked an ancient cultural tradition. Now, after years of being shadowed by stereotypes, the hula is experiencing a rebirth that celebrates Hawaiian culture across the American mainland.
Cutie and the Boxer (2:30 a.m.)
By Zachary Heinzerling
The Academy Award®-nominated and Emmy-Award winning 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.
Made in L.A. (4 a.m.)
By Almudena Carracedo and Robert Bahar, premiered on POV in 2007
Follow the remarkable story of three Latina immigrants working in Los Angeles sweatshops as they embark on a three-year odyssey to win basic labor protections from a trendy clothing retailer. In intimate verité style, Made in L.A. reveals the impact of the struggle on each woman’s life as they are gradually transformed by the experience. Compelling, humorous, deeply human, Made in L.A. is a story about immigration, the power of unity and the courage it takes to find your voice. A co-production with the Independent Television Service (ITVS). A Diverse Voices Project co-production. A co-presentation with Latino Public Broadcasting.
Al Otro Lado: To The Other Side (5 a.m.)
By Natalia Almada, premiered on POV in 2006
The proud Mexican tradition of corrido music — captured in the performances of Mexican band Los Tigres del Norte and the late Chalino Sanchez — provides both heartbeat and backbone to this rich examination of songs, drugs and dreams along the U.S./Mexico border. Al Otro Lado follows Magdiel, an aspiring corrido composer from the drug capital of Mexico, as he faces two difficult choices to better his life: to traffic drugs or to cross the border illegally into the United States.
Last Train Home (6:30 a.m.)
By Lixin Fan, premiered on POV in 2011
Every spring, China’s cities are plunged into chaos as 130 million migrant workers journey to their home villages for the New Year in the world’s largest human migration. Last Train Home takes viewers on a heart-stopping journey with the Zhangs, a couple who left infant children behind for factory jobs 16 years ago, hoping their wages would lift their children to a better life. They return to a family growing distant and a daughter longing to leave school for unskilled work. As the Zhangs navigate their new world, Last Train Home paints a rich, human portrait of China’s rush to economic development. An EyeSteelFilm production in association with ITVS International. A co-presentation with the Center for Asian American Media.
From This Day Forward (8 a.m.)
By Sharon Shattuck, premiered on POV in 2016
From This Day Forward is a moving portrayal of an American family coping with one of life’s most intimate transformations. When director Sharon Shattuck’s father came out as transgender and began living as Trisha, Sharon was in the awkward throes of middle school. Her father’s transition to female was difficult for her straight-identified mother, Marcia, to accept, but her parents stayed together. As the Shattucks reunite to plan Sharon’s wedding, she seeks a deeper understanding of how her parents’ marriage, and their family, survived intact.
In The Light of Reverence (9:30 a.m.)
By Toby McLeod, premiered on POV in 2001
Devils Tower. The Four Corners. Mount Shasta. All places of extraordinary beauty — and impassioned controversy — as Indians and non-Indians struggle to coexist with very different ideas about how the land should be used. For Native Americans, the land is sacred and akin to the world’s greatest cathedrals. For others, the land should be used for industry and recreation. Narrated by Peter Coyote and Tantoo Cardinal (Metis), In the Light of Reverence is a beautifully rendered account of the struggles of the Lakota in the Black Hills, the Hopi in Arizona and the Wintu in California to protect their sacred sites. An Independent Television Service (ITVS) & Native American Public Telecommunications (NAPT) Co-presentation and a Television Race Initiative (TRI) Selection.
I’m Carolyn Parker (11 a.m.)
By Jonathan Demme, premiered on POV in 2012
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. Produced in association with American Documentary | POV.
Where Soldiers Come From (12:30 p.m.)
By Heather Courtney, premiered on POV in 2011
From a snowy, 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 graduating from high school. As it chronicles the young men’s transformation from restless teenagers to soldiers looking for roadside bombs to 23-year-old combat veterans trying to start their lives again, the film offers an intimate look at the young Americans who fight our wars, the families and towns they come from — and the way one faraway conflict changes everything. A co-production of Quincy Hill Films and ITVS in association with American Documentary | POV, with funds provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.
My American Girls (2 p.m.)
By Aaron Matthews, premiered on POV in 2001
In vivid vérité detail, My American Girls: A Dominican Story captures the joys and struggles over a year in the lives of the Ortiz family, first generation immigrants from the Dominican Republic. Matthews’ film captures the rewards — and costs — of pursuing the American dream. From hard-working parents, who imagine retiring to their rural homeland, to fast-tracking American-born daughters, caught between their parent’s values and their own, the film encompasses the contradictions of contemporary immigrant life. A Latino Public Broadcasting (LPB) Co-presentation.
Two Towns of Jasper (3 p.m.)
By Whitney Dow and Marco Williams, premiered on POV in 2003
In 1998 in Jasper, Texas, James Byrd, Jr., a black man, was chained to a pick-up truck and dragged to his death by three white men. The town was forever altered, and the nation woke up to the horror of a modern-day lynching. In Two Towns Of Jasper, two film crews, one black and one white, set out to document the aftermath of the murder by following the subsequent trials of the local men charged with the crime. The result is an explicit and troubling portrait of race in America, one that asks how and why a crime like this could have occurred. An Independent Television Service (ITVS) and National Black Programming Consortium (NBPC) Co-presentation and a Television Race Initiative (TRI) selection.
The Overnighters (4:30 p.m.)
By Jesse Moss, premiered on POV in 2015
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.
Street Fight (6:30 pm)
By Marshall Curry, premiered on POV in 2005
Street Fight covers the turbulent campaign of Cory Booker, a 32-year old Rhodes Scholar/Yale Law graduate running for mayor of Newark, N.J., against Sharpe James, the four-term incumbent twice his age. An urban David and Goliath story, the film chronicles the young man’s struggle against the city’s entrenched political machine, which routinely uses strong-arm tactics to hold onto power. The battle sheds light on important questions about democracy, power, poverty and race. When the mayor accuses the Ivy League-educated challenger of not being “really black,” the campaign forces voters to examine how we define race in America.
500 Years (Jan. 1 at 8 p.m. and Jan. 2 at 12 a.m. on WORLD Channel)
By Pamela Yates,
From a historic genocide trial to the ousting of a president, 500 YEARS tells a sweeping story
of mounting resistance played out in Guatemala’s recent history, through the actions and
perspectives of the majority indigenous Mayan population, who now stand poised to re-imagine their society.
Additional Films Available to Stream:
A Healthy Baby Girl
By Judith Helfand, premiered on POV in 1997
Filmmaker Judith Helfand turns the camera on herself to document her battle with cancer caused by DES, a drug prescribed to her mother during pregnancy. Refusing to confine the tears, rage, laughter and hope to dinner table conversations, Helfand invites us to witness her personal journey from radical hysterectomy patient to vocal opponent of toxic exposure. From her suburban home to the halls of Congress, the intensely private becomes widely public, and an American family is transformed and strengthened.
All the Difference
By Tod Lending, premiered on POV in 2016
The largely invisible and often crushing struggles of young African-American men come vividly — and heroically — to life in All the Difference, which traces the paths of two teens from the South Side of Chicago who dream of graduating from college. Statistics predict that Robert and Krishaun will drop out of high school, but they have other plans. Oscar®-nominated producer/director Tod Lending’s intimate film, executive produced by author Wes Moore, follows the young men through five years of hard work, sacrifice, setbacks and uncertainty. As they discover, support from family, teachers and mentors makes all the difference in defying the odds. A co-production of American Documentary | POV; Part of American Graduate: Let’s Make It Happen, made possible by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.
By Grace Lee, premiered on POV in 2014
Grace Lee Boggs, 98, is a Chinese American philosopher, writer, and activist in Detroit with a thick FBI file and a surprising vision of what an American revolution can be. Rooted for 75 years in the labor, civil rights and Black Power movements, she challenges a new generation to throw off old assumptions, think creatively and redefine revolution for our times. A co-presentation with the Center for Asian American Media (CAAM).
By Louis Alvarez and Andrew Kolker, premiered on POV in 1988
Rich in humor and regional color, this sometimes hilarious film uses the prism of language to reveal our attitudes about the way other people speak. From Boston Brahmins to Black Louisiana teenagers, from Texas cowboys to New York professionals, American Tongues elicits funny, perceptive, sometimes shocking, and always telling comments on American English in all its diversity.
The Education of Shelby Knox
By Marion Lipschutz and Rose Rosenblatt, premiered on POV in 2005
The swift rise in federally funded, abstinence-only sex education under the Bush administration sparked an intense national debate about our responsibility to teach teens the facts of life. Those supporting an abstinence-only approach say that teaching anything but abstinence just encourages teens to experiment with sex. Opponents say that withholding information about condom use and birth control will only lead to unwanted pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases. Into the culture wars steps 15-year-old Shelby Knox of Lubbock, Texas. A self-described “good Southern Baptist girl,” Knox herself has pledged abstinence until marriage. When she finds that Lubbock has some of the highest rates of teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases in the state, and her county’s high schools teach abstinence as the only safe sex, she becomes an unlikely advocate for comprehensive sex education, profoundly changing her political and spiritual views along the way.
Ella Es El Matador
By Gemma Cubaro and Celest Carrasco, premiered on POV in 2009
For Spaniards — and for the world — nothing has expressed their country’s traditionally rigid gender roles more powerfully than the image of the male matador. So sacred was the bullfighter’s masculinity to Spanish identity that a 1908 law barred women from the sport. Ella Es el Matador reveals the surprising history of the women who made such a law necessary and offers fascinating profiles of two female matadors currently in the arena: the acclaimed Mari Paz Vega and neophyte Eva Florencia. These women are gender pioneers by necessity. But what emerges as their truest motivation is their sheer passion — for bullfighting and the pursuit of a dream. A co-presentation with Latino Public Broadcasting (LPB).
The End of the Nightstick
By Peter Kuttner, Cyndi Moran and Eric Scholl, premiered on POV in 1994
This startling expose unravels a history of abuse of suspects by the Chicago police. For more than a decade, the press and authorities turned a blind eye to allegations of torture — including the use of electric shocks — until persistent grass roots organizations exerted enough pressure to prompt an official investigation, and eventually the dismissal of a ranking police commander.
By Annie Goldson and Peter Wells, premiered on POV in 2003
Born George, one-time prostitute-turned-politician Georgina Beyer was elected to New Zealand’s Parliament in 1999, becoming the world’s first transgender person to hold a national office. Amazingly, a mostly white, conservative, rural constituency voted this former sex worker of Maori descent into office. Chronicling Georgina’s transformations from farm boy to celebrated cabaret diva to grassroots community leader, Annie Goldson and Peter Wells’ Georgie Girl couples interviews and images of Beyer’s nightclub and film performances with footage showing a day in the life of this New Zealand Member of Parliament. The film presents a remarkable account of Beyer’s precedent-setting accomplishment, revealing her intelligence, charisma and humor.
Granito: How to Nail a Dictator
By Pamela Yates, premiered on POV in 2012
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 — and 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. A co-production of ITVS with funding provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. A co-presentation with Latino Public Broadcasting.
Lost Boys of Sudan
By Megan Mylan and Jon Shenk, premiered on POV in 2003
The genocide in the Darfur region of Sudan is the most recent violent episode in a country where a 20-year civil war has killed an estimated two million people and displaced more than four million. The Dinka tribe has been hardest hit. Lost Boys of Sudan follows two young Dinka refugees, Peter and Santino, through their first year in America. As small boys, Peter and Santino lost their families to the war and were forced to flee their homes. Along with 20,000 other boys, they wandered hundreds of miles across the desert seeking safety. After a decade in a Kenyan refugee camp, nearly 4,000 “Lost Boys” have come to the U.S. as part of a refugee resettlement effort. Peter and Santino set out to make new lives for themselves in Houston and in Kansas City. Their struggle asks us to rethink what it means to be an American. An Independent Television Service (ITVS) co-presentation.
Love & Diane
By Jennifer Dworkin, premiered on POV in 2004
Jennifer Dworkin’s Love & Diane is a frank and astonishingly intimate real-life drama of a mother and daughter desperate for love and forgiveness, but caught in a devastating cycle. During the 1980s, a crack cocaine epidemic ravaged and impoverished many inner city neighborhoods. As parents like Diane succumbed to addiction, a generation of children like Love entered the foster care system. Shot over ten years, the film centers on Love and Diane after the family is reunited and is struggling to reconnect. Now 18 and a mother herself, Love must reconcile her anger and confront the ways in which her mother’s past mistakes haunt her life. Diane, in turn, makes new choices for herself, seeking to break the treadmill of addiction and poverty. Powerful and immediate, Love & Diane is an epic film that shatters stereotypes and offers hope amidst seemingly impossible odds. An Independent Television Service (ITVS) co-presentation.
By Yoruba Richen, premiered on POV in 2010
Though apartheid ended in South Africa in 1994, economic injustices between blacks and whites remain unresolved. As revealed in Yoruba Richen’s incisive Promised Land, the most potentially explosive issue is land. The film follows two black communities as they struggle to reclaim land from white owners, some of whom who have lived there for generations. Amid rising tensions and wavering government policies, the land issue remains South Africa’s “ticking time bomb,” with far-reaching consequences for all sides. Promised Land captures multiple perspectives of citizens struggling to create just solutions. A co-production of the National Black Programming Consortium, American Documentary/POV and the Diverse Voices Project, with funding provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.
Rabbit in the Moon
By Emiko Omori, premiered on POV in 1999
Like many Japanese Americans released from WWII internment camps, the young Omori sisters did their best to erase the memories and scars of life under confinement. Fifty years later acclaimed filmmaker Emiko Omori asks her older sister and other detainees to reflect on the personal and political consequences of internment. From the exuberant recollections of a typical teenager, to the simmering rage of citizens forced to sign loyalty oaths, Omori renders a poetic and illuminating picture of a deeply troubling chapter in American history.
Thank You For Playing
By David Osit and Malika Zouhali-Worrall, premiered on POV in 2016
When Ryan Green, a video game programmer, learns that his young son Joel has cancer, he and his wife begin documenting their emotional journey with a poetic video game. Thank You for Playing follows Ryan and his family over two years creating “That Dragon, Cancer,” which evolves from a cathartic exercise into a critically acclaimed work of art that sets the gaming industry abuzz. Lauded as “unimaginably intimate” by The New Yorker, the film is a testament to the resilience of the human spirit and the unique ways that art and technology can help us share profound experiences. A co-production of American Documentary | POV and ITVS.
William Kunstler: Disturbing The Universe
By Emily Kunstler and Sarah Kunstler, premiered on POV in 2010
William Kunstler: Disturbing the Universe examines the life of this radical attorney from a surprising angle. Kunstler’s two daughters from his second marriage grew up lionizing a man already famous for his historic civil rights and anti-war cases. Then, in their teens, they began to be disillusioned by a stubborn man who continued representing some of the most reviled defendants in America — this time accused rapists and terrorists. In this intimate biography, Emily Kunstler and Sarah Kunstler seek to recover the real story of what made their late father one of the most beloved, and hated, lawyers in America. A co-production of ITVS.