POV (Point of View), public television’s premier showcase for independent documentaries, has received a record-setting 10 nominations in the 30th Annual News & Documentary Emmy® Awards, announced July 14 by the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (NATAS). The nominated POV films are (in alphabetical order): Ars Magna, The Ballad of Esequiel Hernández, Belarusian Waltz, In the Family, Inheritance (two nominations, including Best Documentary), The Judge and the General, Soldiers of Conscience, Traces of the Trade and Up the Yangtze. POV is the second most-nominated program after CBS News’ 60 Minutes.
As in previous years, PBS leads the pack in total nominations among the broadcast and cable networks; this year PBS received 41 nominations. The News & Documentary Emmy Awards will be presented on Monday, Sept. 21 at a ceremony at Frederick P. Rose Hall, Home of Jazz at Lincoln Center, located in the Time Warner Center in New York City. The event will be attended by more than 1,000 television and new media industry executives, news and documentary producers and journalists. Emmy Awards will be presented in 33 categories, including Outstanding Investigative Journalism, Outstanding Interview and Best Documentary, among others.
“It’s thrilling and a great honor to see so many POV films being recognized by the Academy,” said POV Executive Director Simon Kilmurry. “To receive 10 nominations illustrates the outstanding quality of contemporary documentary filmmaking, and POV is very proud to have brought these compelling stories to audiences nationwide on PBS.”
About the Films
Watch a selection of trailers, filmmaker interviews and outtakes from 2009 Emmy nominated films on the POV website.
Ars Magna by Cory Kelley
– Category: New Approaches to News & Documentary Programming: Arts, Lifestyle & Culture
– Nominees: Producer: Sean Roach; Director: Cory Kelley
“Ars Magna,” which means “great art” in Latin, is an anagram of the word “anagrams.” Enter into the obsessive and fascinating world of anagrams with Cory Calhoun, who took the first three lines of Hamlet’s “To Be or Not to Be” soliloquy and made them into what’s been called the “world’s greatest anagram.” Ars Magna was produced as part of the The International Documentary Challenge, a timed filmmaking competition where filmmakers have five days to make a short nonfiction film.
The Ballad of Esequiel Hernández by Kieran Fitzgerald
– Category: Outstanding Investigative Journalism — Long Form
– Nominees: Director: Kieran Fitzgerald; Producer: Brendan Fitzgerald; Co-producer: Shane Slattery-Quintanilla; Executive Producer: Peter Gilbert; Executive Director: Patricia Boero; Executive Producer for American Documentary | POV: Simon Kilmurry
In 1997, U.S. Marines patrolling the Texas-Mexico border as part of the War on Drugs shot and killed Esequiel Hernández Jr. Mistaken for a drug runner, the 18-year-old was, in fact, a U.S. citizen tending his family’s goats with a .22 rifle. He became the first American killed by U.S. military forces on native soil since the 1970 Kent State shootings. The Ballad of Esequiel Hernández, narrated by Tommy Lee Jones, explores Hernandez’s tragic death and its torturous aftermath. His parents and friends, the Marines on patrol, and investigators discuss the dangers of militarizing the border and the death of one young man. A co-presentation with Latino Public Broadcasting. An Official Selection of the 2007 Tribeca Film Festival.
Belarusian Waltz by Andrzej Fidyk
– Category: Outstanding Arts & Culture Programming
– Nominees: Executive Producers: Sally Jo Fifer, Miroslaw Grubek, Therese Jebsen, Simon Kilmurry, Jan Ramstad, Krzysztof Talczewski; Producer: Torstein Grude; Director: Andrezj Fidyk
Belarus has been called “Europe’s last dictatorship.” Since 1994, Alexander Lukashenko has ruled the ex-Soviet republic with a despotic hand, jailing the opposition, shutting down the press and refusing to investigate the assassinations of dissidents. He has virtually silenced his critics — but not one lone performance artist who stages public stunts mocking the dictator’s pretensions. Belarusian Waltz is the story of Alexander Pushkin, whose audacious, comical exploits find him facing the hostility of the police and the consternation of his family. An offbeat tale of post-modern street theater meeting 1930s-style authoritarianism, the film offers a surprising window into the soul of the Belarusian people. A co-production of ITVS International.
In the Family by Joanna Rudnick
– Category: Outstanding Informational Programming — Long Form
– Nominees: Director/Producer: Joanna Rudnick; Executive Producers: Sally Jo Fifer, Simon Kilmurry, Gordon Quinn; Co Producer: Beth Iams
How much would you sacrifice to survive? When Chicago filmmaker Joanna Rudnick tested positive for the “breast cancer gene” at age 27, she knew the information could save her life. And she knew she was not only confronting mortality at an early age, but also was going to have to make heart-wrenching decisions about the life that lay ahead of her. Should she take the irreversible preventive step of having her breasts and ovaries removed or risk developing cancer? What would happen to her romantic life, her hopes for a family? In the Family documents Rudnick’s efforts to reach out to other women while facing her deepest fears. A co-production of Joanna Rudnick, Kartemquin Films and Independent Television Service (ITVS).
Inheritance by James Moll
– Categories: Best Documentary and Outstanding Interview
– Nominees: Director/Producer: James Moll; Executive Producers: Simon Kilmurry, Chris Malachowsky, Ryan Malachowsky; Producer: Christopher Pavlick
Imagine watching Schindler’s List and knowing the sadistic Nazi camp commandant played by Ralph Fiennes was your father. Inheritance is the story of Monika Hertwig, the daughter of mass murderer Amon Goeth. Hertwig has spent her life in the shadow of her father’s sins, trying to come to terms with her “inheritance.” She seeks out Helen Jonas, who was enslaved by Goeth and who is one of the few living eyewitnesses to his unspeakable brutality. The women’s raw, emotional meeting unearths terrible truths and lingering questions about how the actions of our parents can continue to ripple through generations.
The Judge and the General by Elizabeth Farnsworth and Patricio Lanfranco
– Category: Outstanding Historical Programming — Long Form
– Nominees: Director/Producer: Patricio Lanfranco; Executive Producers: Sally Jo Fifer, Simon Kilmurry, Richard Pearce; Producer/Director: Elizabeth Farnsworth; Executive Director: Patricia Boero
When in 1998 Chilean judge Juan Guzmán was assigned the first criminal cases against the country’s ex-dictator, General Augusto Pinochet, no one expected much. Guzmán had supported Pinochet’s 1973 coup — waged as an anti-Communist crusade — that left the democratically elected president, Salvador Allende, and thousands of others dead or “disappeared.” The filmmakers trace the judge’s descent into what he calls “the abyss,” where he uncovers the past — including his own role in the tragedy. The Judge and the General reveals one of the 20th century’s most notorious episodes and tells a cautionary tale about violating human rights in the name of “higher ideals.” A co-production of Independent Television Service (ITVS) in association with Latino Public Broadcasting (LPB).
Soldiers of Conscience by Catherine Ryan and Gary Weimberg
– Category: Outstanding Individual Achievement in a Craft: Editing
– Nominees: Editors: Gary Weimberg, Josh Peterson
When is it right to kill? In the midst of war, is it right to refuse? Eight U.S. soldiers today, some who killed and some who said no, reveal their inner moral dilemmas in Soldiers of Conscience. Made with official permission of the U.S. Army, the film transcends politics to explore the tension between spiritual values and military orders, and follows the stories of both conscientious objectors and those who criticize them. Through this clash of views, the film discovers a surprising common ground: all soldiers are “soldiers of conscience,” torn between the demands of duty and the call of conscience.
>Traces of the Trade: A Story from the Deep North by Katrina Browne with co-directors Alla Kovgan and Jude Ray and co-producers Elizabeth Delude-Dix and Juanita Brown
– Category: Outstanding Individual Achievement in a Craft: Research
– Nominees: Researchers: Jennifer Anderson, Catherine Benedict, Katrina Browne, Beth Sternheimer
First-time filmmaker Katrina Browne makes a troubling discovery — her New England ancestors were the largest slave-trading family in U.S. history. She and nine fellow descendants set off to retrace the Triangle Trade: from their old hometown in Rhode Island to slave forts in Ghana to sugar plantation ruins in Cuba. Step by step, they uncover the vast extent of Northern complicity in slavery while also stumbling through the minefield of contemporary race relations. In this bicentennial year of the U.S. abolition of the slave trade, Traces of the Trade offers powerful new perspectives on the black/white divide. An Official Selection of the 2008 Sundance Film Festival.
Up the Yangtze by Yung Chang
– Category: Outstanding Individual Achievement in a Craft: Cinematography
– Nominee: Director of Photography: Wang Shi Qing
Nearing completion, China’s massive Three Gorges Dam is altering the landscape and the lives of people living along the fabled Yangtze River. Countless ancient villages and historic locales will be submerged, and 2 million people will lose their homes and livelihoods. The Yu family desperately seeks a reprieve by sending their 16-year-old daughter to work in the cruise ship industry that has sprung up to give tourists a last glimpse of the legendary river valley. With cinematic sweep, Up the Yangtze explores lives transformed by the biggest hydroelectric dam in history, a hotly contested symbol of the Chinese economic miracle. An Official Selection of the 2008 Sundance Film Festival. An EyeSteelFilm/National Film Board of Canada production in association with American Documentary / POV. A co-presentation with the Center for Asian American Media (CAAM).