Emmy-winning Series Kicks Off 24th Season Tuesday, June 21, 2011 on PBS With “Kings of Pastry,” a Delicious Tour of France’s Top Pastry Competition By Legendary Filmmaking Team of Pennebaker and Hegedus
“Better This World” and “If a Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front” Give Eye-opening, Insider Accounts of Idealists-Turned-Lawbreakers and the Agents Who Pursued Them
The new season of PBS’ award-winning documentary series POV (Point of View) kicks off on Tuesday, June 21, 2011 at 10 p.m. (check local listings) with Kings of Pastry, D A Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus’ behind-the-scenes account of France’s greatest pastry competition, an epic, three-day test of passion, perseverance, artistry and nerves. In advance of the new season, on Tuesday, June 7 at 10 p.m., POV will present a special encore broadcast of the Oscar®-nominated film The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers, in honor of the 40th anniversary of the release of the Pentagon Papers, an event that changed the course of the Vietnam War and world history.
The 24th season of POV airs on PBS on Tuesdays at 10 p.m. from June 21–Sept. 27, 2011, and will continue with specials in November 2011 and winter/spring 2012. POV is American television’s longest-running independent documentary series. It is the winner of a Special Emmy Award for Excellence in Television Documentary Filmmaking, an International Documentary Association Award for Best Continuing Series and NALIP’s 2011 Award for Corporate Commitment to Diversity.
POV’s new slate of documentaries tells of people as different as cowboys herding sheep into Montana’s rugged mountains for the last time and aspiring teenage NASCAR drivers whirling around tracks at 70 miles per hour before they’re old enough for driver’s licenses. In addition, POV and the renowned oral-history project StoryCorps will team up for the second year to present everyday people’s intimate conversations in five imaginative and whimsical animated shorts, on television and online.
Also included are soldiers at war and at home, in Armadillo and Where Soldiers Come From; political activists who cross the line into law-breaking and authorities who may be crossing their own lines to catch them, in Better This World and If a Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front; Chinese workers caught in the largest human migration in history, in Last Train Home; a Colombian teacher whose books travel on hooves through inhospitable jungles, in Biblioburro: The Donkey Library; Finnish men unburdening themselves in a most surprising fashion, in Steam of Life; Russian classmates reflecting on their country’s sweeping transformations on the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Soviet Union, in My Perestroika; and a cunning Cambodian journalist who elicits a startling admission about the 1970s “killing fields” from the highest-ranking surviving Khmer Rouge leader, in Enemies of the People.
POV 2011 Schedule (All programs air Tuesdays at 10 p.m. Eastern unless otherwise indicated; check local listings):
June 7 — Encore Presentation: The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers by Judith Ehrlich and Rick Goldsmith
This Peabody Award-winning film re-airs at a time when people are again debating issues of individual conscience and government power. In 1971, Daniel Ellsberg, a leading Vietnam War strategist, concluded that America’s role in the war was based on decades of lies. He leaked 7,000 pages of top-secret documents to The New York Times, a daring act of conscience that led to Watergate, President Nixon’s resignation and the end of the Vietnam War. Ellsberg and a who’s who of Vietnam-era movers and shakers give a riveting account of those events in The Most Dangerous Man in America. A co-production of ITVS in association with American Documentary / POV. Winner of Special Jury Award, 2009 International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam.
June 21 — Kings of Pastry by Chris Hegedus and D A Pennebaker
When Chris Hegedus and D A Pennebaker, award-winning filmmakers of The War Room, Startup.com and Don’t Look Back, turn their sights on the competition for the Meilleurs Ouvriers de France awards, the country’s Nobel Prize for pastry, you’re in for a treat. In Kings of Pastry, 16 chefs, including Jacquy Pfeiffer, co-founder of Chicago’s French Pastry School, whip up the most gorgeous, delectable, gravity-defying concoctions and edge-of-your-seat drama as they deliver their spun-sugar desserts to the display table. The inevitable disasters and successes prove both poignant and hilarious.
June 28 — My Perestroika by Robin Hessman
My Perestroika is an intimate look at the last generation of Soviet children. Five classmates go from living sheltered childhoods to experiencing the hopes of Gorbachev’s reforms and the confusion of the USSR’s dissolution to searching for their places in today’s Moscow. With candor and humor, the punk rocker, single mother, entrepreneur and married teachers paint a picture of the challenges, dreams and disappointments of those raised behind the Iron Curtain. Through first-person testimony, vérité footage and vintage home movies, this beautifully crafted documentary reveals a Russia rarely seen on film. A co-production of Red Square Productions/Bungalow Town Productions and ITVS International in association with American Documentary / POV. An Official Selection of the 2010 Sundance Film Festival.
July 5 — Sweetgrass by Ilisa Barbash and Lucien Castaing-Taylor
Sweetgrass presents a riveting and poetic portrait of the American West just as one of its traditional ways of life dies out. Shot amidst the grandeur of Montana’s Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness, the film follows the last modern-day cowboys to lead their flocks of sheep up into the breathtaking and often dangerous mountains for summer pasture. Magnificently photographed and unsparingly candid, Sweetgrass discovers a world of harsh beauty and arduous labor, where humans still work in rugged intimacy with nature. An Official Selection of the 2010 New York Film Festival.
July 12 — Enemies of the People by Rob Lemkin and Thet Sambath
The Khmer Rouge slaughtered nearly two million people in the late 1970s. Yet the “killing fields” of Cambodia have remained largely unexplained. Until now, in Enemies of the People. Enter Thet Sambath, an unassuming, yet cunning, investigative journalist who lost his family in the conflict and spends a decade gaining the trust of the men and women who perpetrated the massacres. Sambath and co-director Rob Lemkin record shocking testimony, never before seen or heard, from the foot soldiers who slit throats and from Pol Pot’s right-hand man, the notorious Brother Number Two. Produced in association with American Documentary / POV. A co-presentation with the Center for Asian American Media. Winner of World Cinema Documentary Special Jury Prize, 2010 Sundance Film Festival.
July 19 — Biblioburro: The Donkey Library by Carlos Rendón Zipagauta
Biblioburro: The Donkey Library is the story of a librarian — and a library — like no other. A decade ago, Colombian teacher Luis Soriano was inspired to spend his weekends bringing a modest collection of precious books, via two hard-working donkeys, to the children of a poor and violence-ridden province. As Soriano braves armed bands, drug traffickers, snakes and heat, his library on hooves carries an inspirational message about education and a better future for Colombia. His efforts have attracted worldwide attention — and imitators — but his story has never been better told than in this heartwarming yet unsentimental film. A co-presentation with Latino Public Broadcasting.
July 26 — Mugabe and the White African by Lucy Bailey and Andrew Thompson
Mugabe and the White African, much of which was filmed clandestinely, tells an alarming story from one of the world’s most troubled nations. In Zimbabwe, de facto dictator Robert Mugabe has unleashed a “land reform” program aimed at driving whites from the country through violence and intimidation. One proud “white African,” however, has challenged Mugabe with human rights abuses under international law. The courage Michael Campbell and his family display as they defend their farm — in court and on the ground — makes for a film as inspiring as it is harrowing.
Aug. 2 — Steam of Life by Joonas Berghäll and Mika Hotakainen
From a land of long, dark winters comes Steam of Life, a moody, comic and moving study of Finnish men as framed by the national obsession with the sauna. There, they come together to sweat out not only the grime of contemporary life, but also their grief, hopes, joys and memories. Beautifully and hauntingly shot, the acclaimed film provides a surprising glimpse into the lives of Finnish men and a remarkable depiction of the troubled and often reticent hearts of contemporary Western men.
Aug. 9 — Encore Presentation: Food, Inc. by Robert Kenner
How much do we know about the food we buy at our local supermarkets and serve to our families? Though our food appears the same as ever — a tomato still looks like a tomato — it has been radically transformed. In the Oscar®-nominated blockbuster Food, Inc., producer-director Robert Kenner and investigative authors Eric Schlosser (Fast Food Nation) and Michael Pollan (The Omnivore’s Dilemma) lift the veil on the U.S. food industry, revealing eye-opening facts about what we eat, how it’s produced, who we have become as a nation and where we may go from here.
Aug. 16 — Encore Presentation: The Oath by Laura Poitras
Filmed in Yemen and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, The Oath interweaves the stories of Abu Jandal, Osama bin Laden’s former bodyguard, and Salim Hamdan, a prisoner at Guantanamo facing war crimes charges. Directed by Laura Poitras (Flag Wars, POV 2003; the Oscar®-nominated My Country, My Country, POV 2006), The Oath unfolds in a narrative structure filled with plot reversals and betrayals, leading ultimately to Osama bin Laden, 9/11, Guantanamo and the U.S. Supreme Court. A co-production of ITVS in association with American Documentary / POV. Winner of Excellence in Cinematography Award: Documentary, 2010 Sundance Film Festival.
Aug. 23 — POV Short Cuts
A one-hour collection of documentary shorts by established and emerging filmmakers, including:
• Big Birding Day by David Wilson
This short offers a glimpse into the world of competitive birdwatching, as three friends attempt to see as many species as possible in 24 hours.
• Flawed by Andrea Dorfman
Artist/filmmaker Andrea Dorfman’s drawings burst colorfully into life as she animates the story of her long-distance relationship with a man whose profession — plastic surgery — gives her plenty of fodder.
• Six Weeks by Marcin Janos Krawczyk
In Poland, a mother has the right to give her child away — and lose all parental rights — during the first six weeks of the newborn’s life. This poignant, award-winning film follows a single mother who must decide what is best for her baby.
• Tiffany by Alix Lambert
In this animated short, a woman tells of her ongoing struggle to hold on to the most contested object in her divorce — the Tiffany lamp.
Following the success of its first season on POV in 2010, StoryCorps will bring its Peabody Award-winning storytelling back for a second season. Since 2003, the acclaimed nonprofit organization StoryCorps, founded by MacArthur Fellow Dave Isay, has been recording and preserving the voices of everyday people, one conversation at a time, for public radio. POV’s short films, animated and directed by The Rauch Brothers, use some of StoryCorps most popular recordings. Funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Two StoryCorps shorts will be featured on Aug. 23; additional shorts airing during the season will be announced:
• Miss Devine — Cousins James Ransom and Cherie Johnson recall their inimitable Sunday school teacher, Miss Lizzie Devine. This animated short, set in the small Bradenton, Fla. town of the cousins’ memories, will have you laughing along with James, Cherie and the fearsome Miss Devine.
• No More Questions! — Strong-willed grandmother Kay Wang allowed her son and granddaughter to drag her into a StoryCorps booth. Though Kay was reluctant, she still had stories to tell — from disobeying her mother and rebuffing suitors while growing up in China to late-life adventures as a store detective for Bloomingdale’s. Kay passed away just weeks after that interview, and her son and granddaughter returned to remember her gentler side, which she kept to herself.
Aug. 30 — Armadillo by Janus Metz
In 2009, Janus Metz and cameraman Lars Skree accompanied a platoon of Danish soldiers to Armadillo, a combat operations base in southern Afghanistan. For six months, often while under fire, they captured the lives of the young soldiers fighting the Taliban in a hostile and confusing environment, where official rhetoric about helping civilians too often met the unforgiving reality of being a foreign occupier. Winner of the Critics’ Week Grand Prix at Cannes, Armadillo is one of the most dramatic and candid accounts of combat to come out of Afghanistan.
Sept. 6 — Better This World by Kelly Duane de la Vega and Katie Galloway
The story of Bradley Crowder and David McKay, who were accused of intending to firebomb the 2008 Republican National Convention, is a dramatic tale of idealism, loyalty, crime and betrayal. Better This World follows the radicalization of these boyhood friends from Midland, Texas, under the tutelage of revolutionary activist Brandon Darby. The results: eight homemade bombs, multiple domestic terrorism charges and a high-stakes entrapment defense hinging on the actions of a controversial FBI informant. Better This World goes to the heart of the war on terror and its impact on civil liberties and political dissent in post-9/11 America. A co-production of ITVS.
Sept. 13 — If a Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front by Marshall Curry
If a Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front explores two of America’s most pressing issues — environmentalism and terrorism — by lifting the veil on a radical environmental group the FBI calls the country’s “number one domestic terrorism threat.” Daniel McGowan, a former member of the Earth Liberation Front, faces life in prison for two multimillion-dollar arsons against Oregon timber companies. What turned this working-class kid from Queens into an eco-warrior? Marshall Curry (Oscar®-nominated Street Fight, POV 2005) provides a nuanced and provocative account that is part coming-of-age story, part cautionary tale and part cops-and-robbers thriller. A co-production of ITVS. Winner of Best Documentary Editing Award, 2011 Sundance Film Festival.
Sept. 20 — The Learning by Ramona Diaz
One hundred years ago, American teachers established the English-speaking public school system of the Philippines. Now, in a striking turnabout, American schools are recruiting Filipino teachers. The Learning is the story of four Filipino women who reluctantly leave their families and schools to teach in Baltimore. They hope to use their higher salaries to transform their families’ impoverished lives back home. But the women bring idealistic visions of the teacher’s craft and of life in America, which soon collide with Baltimore’s tough realities. A co-production of CineDiaz and ITVS in association with The Center for Asian American Media, with funding provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and American Documentary / POV.
Sept. 27 — Last Train Home by Lixin Fan
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, this award-winning film 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. An Official Selection of the 2010 Sundance Film Festival. Winner of Best Feature-Length Documentary Award, 2009 International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam.
Thursday, Nov. 10 at 9 p.m. — Special Presentation: Where Soldiers Come From by Heather Courtney
From a snowy, small town in northern Michigan to the mountains of Afghanistan, Where Soldiers Come From, premiering the day before Veterans Day, 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 people 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.
Winter/Spring 2012 Special — Racing Dreams by Marshall Curry
Fondly described as “Talladega Nights meets Catcher in the Rye,” Marshall Curry’s Racing Dreams chronicles a year in the life of three tweens who dream of becoming NASCAR drivers. Though they aren’t old enough for driver’s licenses, Brandon, Josh and Annabeth race extreme go-karts at speeds of up to 70 miles per hour in the World Karting Association’s national series, the “Little League” of professional racing. The film is a humorous and heartbreaking portrait of racing, young love and family struggle. Winner of Best Documentary Feature Award, 2009 Tribeca Film Festival.
POV Series Credits:
Executive Producer: Simon Kilmurry
Co-Executive Producer: Cynthia López
Director of Production and Programming: Chris White
Series Producer: Yance Ford
Produced by American Documentary, Inc. and beginning in its 24th season on PBS in 2011, the award-winning POV series is the longest-running showcase on American television to feature the work of today’s best independent documentary filmmakers. Airing June through September with primetime specials during the year, POV has brought more than 300 acclaimed documentaries to millions nationwide and has a Webby Award-winning online series, POV’s Borders. Since 1988, POV has pioneered the art of presentation and outreach using independent nonfiction media to build new communities in conversation about today’s most pressing social issues. Visit www.pbs.org/pov.
POV Digital (www.pbs.org/pov)
POV’s award-winning website extends the life of our films online with interactive features, interviews, updates, video and educational content, as well as listings for television broadcasts, community screenings and films available online. The POV Blog is a gathering place for documentary fans and filmmakers to discuss their favorite films and get the latest news.
POV Community Engagement and Education
POV films can be seen at more than 450 events across the country every year. Together with schools, organizations and local PBS stations, POV facilitates free community screenings and produces free resources to accompany our films, including discussion guides and curriculum-based lesson plans. With our community partners, we inspire dialogue around the most important social issues of our time.
Major funding for POV is provided by PBS, The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, The Educational Foundation of America, New York State Council on the Arts, New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, FACT and public television viewers. Special support provided by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Funding for POV’s Diverse Voices Project is provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Project VoiceScape is a partnership of Adobe Youth Voices, PBS and POV. POV is presented by a consortium of public television stations, including WGBH Boston and THIRTEEN in association with WNET.ORG.
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 develops 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.
POV Communications: 212-989-7425
Emergency contact: 646-729-4748
Cathy Fisher, firstname.lastname@example.org, Jillian Ayala, email@example.com
POV online pressroom: www.pbs.org/pov/pressroom
Emmy-winning Series Kicks Off 24th Season Tuesday, June 21, 2011 on PBS With “Kings of Pastry,” a Delicious Tour of France’s Top Pastry Competition By Legendary Filmmaking Team of Pennebaker and Hegedus