American Documentary, Inc., producer of PBS’s acclaimed independent documentary series POV, will present a third season of the True Lives limited series to public television stations starting in March 2008. The new season will showcase five documentary films that originally had their national broadcast premieres on POV PBS stations have the option to schedule the films from March 2008 — December 2009. The series will be distributed by the National Educational Telecommunications Association (NETA).
True Lives revisits classic films from the POV archive, providing evergreen programs on contemporary themes that keep these award-winning programs within the public television system. The third season of True Lives features a diverse lineup that stations may use in their heritage-month programming commemorating Asian/Pacific, Native American, Latino and African American history, gay pride and more. The 2008 True Lives strand features American Aloha: Hula Beyond Hawai’i, Boomtown, My American Girls, Silverlake Life: The View From Here and Sweet Old Song.
“We’re delighted to bring True Lives back for a third year, and welcome NETA as our new distributor,” says Simon Kilmurry, executive producer of True Lives and POV “The series offers stations an additional opportunity to highlight their commitment to presenting diverse, entertaining and informative programming.”
Funding for True Lives is provided by the Tides Foundation. Simon Kilmurry is executive producer of True Lives, which is produced by American Documentary, Inc.
2008 TRUE LIVES FILMS
American Aloha: Hula Beyond Hawai’i by Lisette Marie Flanary and Evann Siebens (2003)
(May – Asian Pacific American Heritage Month)
For Hawaiians, the hula is not just a dance, but a way of life. While most Americans know only the stereotypes of grass skirts and coconut bras, the hula is a living tradition that tells of the rich history and spirituality of Hawai’i through music, language, and dance. American Aloha: Hula Beyond Hawai’i discovers a renaissance of Hawaiian culture as it continues to grow in California. Following three kumu hula, or master hula teachers, the film celebrates the perpetuation of a culture — from the very traditional to the contemporary — as it evolves on distant shores. Revealing the survival of Hawai’i’s indigenous culture from near-destruction, American Aloha is a reminder of the power of reclaiming tradition for communities creating a home away from home. (1 hour)
Boomtown by Bryan Gunnar Cole (2002)
(July – Independence Day; November – National American Indian Heritage Month)
Boomtown is a lively visit to the Suquamish Nation, near Seattle, where selling fireworks has become a tradition for some Suquamish tribal members. For 30 years, this part of Indian country has sold fireworks that are officially banned off the reservation, attracting non-Indian buyers from near and far. On July 4th, the Suquamish tribe plays host to one of the most enjoyable and unpredictable fireworks shows around. In a place where federal, state and local policies routinely collide with Native sovereignty, Boomtown focuses on this animated enterprise, offering a special glimpse into contemporary Indian life, where Native tradition meets today’s economic realities with uniquely successful results. (1 hour)
My American Girls: A Dominican Story by Aaron Matthews (2000)
(September/October – Hispanic Heritage Month)
In vivid verite 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. Both funny and touching, 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 parents’ values and their own, the film encompasses the contradictions of contemporary immigrant life. (1 hour)
Silverlake Life: The View From Here by Tom Joslin and Peter Friedman (1993)
(June – Gay/Lesbian Pride Month; December – AIDS Awareness Month)
Winner of over 10 International Awards including the Prix Italia and the Sundance Grand Jury Prize, Silverlake Life: The View From Here is an extraordinary video diary about living with AIDS. This landmark film documents, with guts and humor, the love and dedication of longtime companions Tom Joslin and Mark Massi. From the emotional challenge of living with a fatal illness to the frustration of maintaining daily routines, this is a powerful tale of love, commitment, mortality and the strength of the human spirit. (2 hours)
Sweet Old Song by Leah Mahan (2002)
(February – Black History Month; May – Older Americans Month; October – National Arts and Humanities Month)
Howard “Louie Bluie” Armstrong was a performer for most of his 94 years, ever since his father carved his first fiddle from a wooden crate. Sweet Old Song plays like one of the ballads that flowed effortlessly from the funny and irrepressible Armstrong, who passed away in 2003. At the film’s center are the two great loves of Howard’s life: his music and artist Barbara Ward, age 60. Their two-decade romance was a creative partnership yielding new work and an outpouring of memories. Their experiences are captured in Armstrong’s lively paintings and stories of nearly a century of American life. As they take on life’s challenges, Howard and Barbara defy our most basic assumptions about what it means to grow older. (1 hour)