Through the eyes of funeral director Isaiah Owens, the beauty and grace of African-American funerals are brought to life. Filmed at Owens Funeral Home in New York City’s historic Harlem neighborhood, Homegoings takes an up-close look at the rarely seen world of undertaking in the black community, where funeral rites draw on a rich palette of tradition, history and celebration.
Read what critics and journalists have to say about the POV film that premieres on PBS Monday, June 24 at 10 PM ET, and will be streaming for free online June 25 to July 24.
“The morbid meets the deeply spiritual in Christine Turner’s assured documentary. . . . Ms. Turner captures the intimacy of solemn, heartfelt moments, and salutes a man who honors their value.”
— Andy Webster, The New York Times
“Homegoings brings to life the beauty and grace of African-American funerals.”
— The Chicago Tribune
“A tender PBS documentary. . . . Watching [funeral director Isaiah Owens’] gentle face . . . and hearing him explain that his interest in laying the dead to rest . . . we know instinctively that his presence on earth is a gift to all who meet him, living or dead.”
— Nancy deWolf Smith, The Wall Street Journal
“Exquisitely tender. . . . one of those rare opportunities to go toward the thing we fear most—death—and realize how much joy and comfort there is in it, when handled with grace and care. Thoughtful and enlightening.”
— Hank Stuever, The Washington Post
“There were time I laughed out loud and giggled, then there were times I was teary-eyed. . . .
— Anne-Marie Green, host, CBS News “Up To the Minute”
“A lyrical, life-affirming film on the African-American way of death.”
— Robert Lloyd, Los Angeles Times
“A lovely documentary. . . . ‘I’ve been called to do this work by a higher power,’ Isaiah feels certain. . . . It’s this sense of justice and continuity that Homegoings makes especially vibrant.”
— Cynthia Fuchs, PopMatters.com
“A poetically crafted exploration . . . poignant, inspirational and unexpectedly uplifting.”
— Lauren Wissot, Filmmaker Magazine
On June 24, at 10 PM, POV will present the national broadcast premiere of Homegoings on PBS (Check local listings). The film will be available for streaming on the POV website starting June 25, 2013 through July 24, 2013. Visit the Homegoings companion site to join the conversation about the film, get an update on the subjects, watch deleted scenes and read background information on the funeral industry and the rich tradition of African-American funeral directors.