Downloads: Press Release

‘POV Short Cuts’ Offer Brief Documentary Encounters in Five New Short Films Premiering on PBS on Thursday, Aug. 9, 2012

Lineup Includes Academy Award® Nominee and Student Academy Award® Winner, StoryCorps Animations; Films Tell Stories of Civil Rights Heroes, Trauma of Deportation, a Father’s Legacy and the Power of a Name

POV (Point of View), the award-winning nonfiction film series celebrating its 25th year on PBS in 2012, brings the popular POV Short Cuts back to the schedule with a new collection of short documentaries. These diverse films tell stories of hard-fought and hard-won civil rights battles, a family’s separation after deportation and lessons learned from parents. The five short films include an Academy Award® nominee, The Barber of Birmingham: Foot Soldier of the Civil Rights Movement; a Student Academy Award® winner, Sin País (Without Country); and three new animated shorts — Eyes on the Stars, Facundo the Great and A Family Man — from the Peabody Award-winning StoryCorps oral-history project.

The films of POV Short Cuts have their national broadcast premieres on Thursday, Aug. 9, 2012 at 10 p.m. on PBS as part of the 25th anniversary season of POV (Point of View), which runs through
Oct. 25 and concludes with fall and winter specials. (Check local listings.) American television’s longest-running independent documentary series, POV is the winner of a Special Emmy for Excellence in Television Documentary Filmmaking, two International Documentary Association Awards for Continuing Series and the National Association of Latino Independent Producers Award for Corporate Commitment to Diversity.

POV Short Cuts:

The Barber of Birmingham: Foot Soldier of the Civil Rights Movement
by Gail Dolgin and Robin Fryday
In the days before and after Barack Obama’s victory in the 2008 presidential election, an 85-year-old civil rights activist and “foot soldier” looked back on the early days of the movement in this Academy Award®-nominated short. World War II veteran James Armstrong was the proud proprietor of Armstrong’s Barbershop, a cultural and political hub in Birmingham, Ala., for more than 50 years. In his small establishment, where every inch of wall space was covered in newspaper clippings and black-and-white photographs, hair was cut, marches organized and battle scars tended. Armstrong, who carried the American flag across the Selma bridge during the Bloody Sunday march for voting rights in 1965, links the struggles of activists of the past with a previously unimaginable dream: the election of the first African-American president. An Official Selection of the 2011 Sundance Film Festival. Length: 21:00.

Sin País (Without Country)
by Theo Rigby
Winner of a 2012 Student Academy Award®, Sin País (Without Country) explores one family’s experience as members are separated by deportation. Nearly 20 years ago, Sam and Elida Mejia escaped a violent civil war in Guatemala and brought their one-year-old son, Gilbert, to California. The Mejias settled in the Bay Area, worked multiple jobs and saved enough to buy a home. They had two more children, both U.S. citizens, and lived the American Dream.

Two years ago, Sam, Elida and Gilbert, all undocumented, became deeply entangled in the U.S. immigration system. Sin País (Without Country) begins two weeks before the parents’ scheduled deportation date. After a passionate fight to keep their family together, they are deported back to Guatemala. The film chronicles the Mejias’ new reality as a separated family — parents without their children, and children without their parents. Length: 19:00.

StoryCorps brings its Peabody Award-winning storytelling to POV for a third season. Since 2003, the oral-history project has recorded and preserved the voices and memories of everyday people, one conversation at a time. The Rauch Brothers bring original recordings to visual life in their unmistakable, whimsical animation style. StoryCorps is funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. POV Short Cuts features three animated stories:

Eyes on the Stars — Carl McNair tells the story of his brother Ronald, an African-American kid in the 1950s who set his sights on the stars. Length: 2 minutes.

Facundo the Great — Ramòn “Chunky” Sanchez recounts how the new kid at school became a hero when his teachers could not find a way to anglicize his name. Length: 1 minute.

A Family Man — In 1955, John L. Black, Sr. started his job as a janitor for the Cincinnati public school system. He regularly put in 16-hour days to provide for his wife and 11 children. His son Samuel talks with his wife, Edda Fields-Black, about his father’s lasting legacy and the power of a look. Length: 3 minutes.

StoryCorps credits: Executive Producers: Donna Galeno, Dave Isay; Producers: Lizzie Jacobs, Mike Rauch; Consulting Producer: Michael Garofalo; Production Coordinator: Maya Millett; Animation: Tim Rauch; Directors: The Rauch Brothers.

Now on DVD: StoryCorps Animated Shorts is a collection of shorts featured on POV, from a heartwarming conversation between a boy with Asperger’s syndrome and his mom to two Brooklyn characters remembering how they fell in love to a feisty grandmother regaling her family with tales from her youth. Pulled from more than 40,000 audio interviews recorded by StoryCorps and archived in the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress, each story captures the poetry, grace and wisdom found all around us if we take the time to listen. Visit

POV Short Cuts Total Running Time: 56:46

About the Filmmakers:
‘The Barber of Birmingham: Foot Soldier of the Civil Rights Movement’:
Gail Dolgin, Director/Producer

The late Gail Dolgin was best known for Daughter From Danang, which follows a Vietnamese mother and her Amerasian daughter as they reunite after a 22-year separation. Directed and produced with Vicente Franco, the film was the 2002 winner of the Sundance Grand Jury Prize for Best Documentary and was nominated for an Academy Award. It was nationally broadcast on the PBS series American Experience. Her other films include Summer of Love, about San Francisco in the summer of 1967, commissioned by American Experience and broadcast nationally in 2007, Cuba Va: The Challenge of the Next Generation, New Bridges, Face to Face and Why Vote.

Her path towards documentary filmmaking was a winding intersection of photography, storytelling, social activism and teaching. She served as a story consultant and mentor to many filmmakers in the Bay Area and sat on the selection committee for several film festivals, including Sundance. When working on The Barber of Birmingham, Dolgin, who had battled breast cancer for years, knew it would be her last film. She passed away in October 2010.

Robin Fryday, Director/Producer
Robin Fryday, born and raised in Chicago, is a photographer based in Marin County, north of San Francisco. Her career as a child photographer spans almost 20 years and is linked to a commitment to use her work to help underprivileged children. Fryday co-founded and co-chairs the Bay Area Heart Gallery, a collaboration between photographers and public and private child adoption agencies. Her photographs have been used to raise money for nonprofit agencies designed to feed and school the impoverished in Peru, India, Bhutan and, most recently, Haiti. Fryday also runs an annual photography camp designed to teach teenagers photographic skills. The Barber of Birmingham is her first documentary film.

‘Sin País (Without Country)’:
Theo Rigby, Director/Producer

Theo Rigby is a director, cinematographer and photographer based in San Francisco. His work has focused on topics ranging from the war in Iraq to the justice system, and for the past six years he has been making films about immigration issues in the United States. His short films have screened in film festivals across the globe, and his film Close to Home was a national finalist in the 2009 Student Academy Awards, won a Golden Eagle Award, special jury mention at the 2010 Ashland Independent Film Festival and has been accepted into more than a dozen film festivals.

Rigby’s photographs have been published in Newsweek, The New York Times, National Geographic France, People and many other national and international publications. His still photographs have also been exhibited at San Francisco City Hall and at the 2005 Visa Pour l’Image festival in France. Rigby recently graduated with a master of fine arts degree in documentary film from Stanford University.

Dave Isay, Founder and President

Dave Isay is the founder of StoryCorps and the recipient of numerous broadcasting honors, including five Peabody Awards and a MacArthur “Genius” Fellowship. He is the author and editor of numerous books that grew out of his public radio documentary work, including two StoryCorps books: Listening Is an Act of Love and Mom: A Celebration of Mothers From StoryCorps, both New York Times bestsellers.

Mike Rauch, Producer/Director
Mike Rauch first became fascinated with the triumphs, trials, and life stories of everyday Americans while working as a door-to-door book salesman. He joined StoryCorps in 2007 and worked as an intern and facilitator before taking on his current role as a producer and director on the StoryCorps animated series. He also works with his brother Tim to produce independent animation through their studio Rauch Brothers Animation, and he is currently developing a film featuring 1950s recordings made by Puerto Rican migrants in New York City.

Tim Rauch, Animator/Director
Tim Rauch has been drawing ever since he was old enough to hold a crayon. His career in animation began on The Wonder Pets! an Emmy Award-winning preschool show, for which he was an animator and designer. Since then, he has created animation for clients as diverse as Sesame Workshop and Mountain Dew. Through Rauch Brothers Animation, he has directed and animated two award-winning independent films that have screened in over 50 film festivals worldwide.

POV Series Credits:

Executive Producer: Simon Kilmurry

Co-Executive Producer: Cynthia López

VP, Production & Programming: Chris White

Series Producer: Yance Ford

Coordinating Producer: Andrew Catauro

Produced by American Documentary, Inc. and celebrating its 25th season on PBS in 2012, the award-winning POV is the longest-running showcase on American television to feature the work of today’s best independent documentary filmmakers. POV has brought more than 325 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

Major funding for POV is provided by PBS, The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, New York State Council on the Arts, New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, the desJardins/Blachman Fund and public television viewers. Funding for POV’s Diverse Voices Project is provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts. Special support provided by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. POV is presented by a consortium of public television stations, including KQED San Francisco, WGBH Boston and THIRTEEN in association with WNET.ORG.

POV Digital (

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 films and get the latest news.

POV Community Engagement and Education (

POV’s Community Engagement and Education team works with educators, community organizations and PBS stations to present more than 600 free screenings every year. In addition, we distribute free discussion guides and standards-aligned lesson plans for each of our films. With our community partners, we inspire dialogue around the most important social issues of our time.

American Documentary, Inc. (

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 is a catalyst for public culture, developing 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.


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Cathy Fisher,
Cynthia López,

POV online pressroom:

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Produced by American Documentary, Inc., POV is public television’s premier showcase for nonfiction films. Since 1988, POV has been the home for the world’s boldest contemporary filmmakers, celebrating intriguing personal stories that spark conversation and inspire action. Always an innovator, POV discovers fresh new voices and creates interactive experiences that shine a light on social issues and elevate the art of storytelling. With our documentary broadcasts, original online programming and dynamic community engagement campaigns, we are committed to supporting films that capture the imagination and present diverse perspectives.