Downloads: Press Release

Film Tells the Story of a Man in Solitary Confinement and His Life-changing Relationship with a New York Artist

New York, NY — Oct. 1, 2014 — The POV (Point of View) film Herman’s House won the 2014 News & Documentary Emmy® Award for Outstanding Arts and Culture Programming, it was announced on Sept. 30 by the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. Herman’s House aired on PBS in 2013 as part of POV, American television’s longest-running independent documentary series. The 35th Annual News & Documentary Emmy Awards were presented at a ceremony in New York City. PBS won a total of 11 awards, more than any other broadcaster.

About the film:
Herman Wallace may have been the longest-serving prisoner in solitary confinement in the United States–he spent 41 years in a 6-by-9-foot cell in Louisiana. He was sentenced to life in prison in 1972 for the murder of a prison guard, a charge he vehemently denied. Herman’s House, by Angad Singh Bhalla, is a moving account of the expression his struggle found in an unusual project proposed by artist Jackie Sumell. Imagining Wallace’s “dream home” began as a game and became an interrogation of justice and punishment in America. The film takes us inside the duo’s unlikely 12-year friendship, revealing the transformative power of art.

Wallace, a Black Panther, was one of the “Angola 3” prisoners whose long-term solitary confinement in the Louisiana State Penitentiary in Angola drew international attention. Herman’s House aired on POV in July 2013. On Oct. 1, 2013, a federal judge freed Wallace, ruling that his original indictment was unconstitutional. Three days later, Wallace died of cancer in New Orleans at the age of 71, unaware that a newly convened grand jury re-indicted him on the murder charge the day before.

“This award underscores the importance of documentary film and the creativity and passion that filmmakers like Angad Bhalla bring to their endeavors,” said Simon Kilmurry, executive producer of POV. “While it’s bittersweet in the light of Herman’s passing, it’s also gratifying to know that Angad’s first feature documentary has made such an impact.”

“It is a great honor and tribute to Herman Wallace to receive this award,” said Bhalla. “Today is the one-year anniversary of his release from prison. I hope this will bring more attention to the plight of political prisoners and the overuse of solitary confinement in the United States.”

Herman’s House is streaming on POV through October 15, 2014. Watch now »

Herman’s House won the Inspiration Award from Cinema on the Bayou in 2013 and the Magnus Isacsson Award from RIDM and Best Documentary Award from the Harlem International Film Festival, both in 2012. The film is a production of Storyline Entertainment and Time of Day Productions in association with Ford Foundation/JustFilms. It is co-presentation with the Center for Asian American Media. Director/Producer: Angad Singh Bhalla; Executive Producers: Simon Kilmurry, Ed Barreveld, Loring McAlpin; Co-Executive Producer: Cynthia Lopez; Producer: Lisa Valencia-Svensson; Vice President of Production and Programming: Chris White; Coordinating Producer: Andrew Catauro.

POV has won a total of 33 Emmy Awards, including a 2007 Special News & Documentary Emmy for Excellence in Television Documentary Filmmaking. POV is the winner of 17 George Foster Peabody Awards, 12 Alfred I. duPont-Columbia Broadcast Journalism Awards, three Academy Awards®, the Prix Italia, the Webby, two IDA Awards for Best Continuing Series and the National Association of Latino Independent Producers’ Corporate Commitment to Diversity Award. In 2013, POV received a MacArthur Award for Creative and Effective Institutions.

Visit www.pbs.org/pov/hermanshouse/ for more information on Herman’s House. The full list of winners in the 35th Annual News and Documentary Emmy® Awards is available at www.emmyonline.tv.

POV

Produced by American Documentary, Inc. and beginning its 27th season on PBS in 2014, 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 365 acclaimed documentaries to millions nationwide. Its films have won 32 Emmys, 15 George Foster Peabody Awards, 12 Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Awards, three Academy Awards® and the Prix Italia. 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 Community Engagement and Education (www.pbs.org/pov/outreach)
POV’s Community Engagement and Education team works with educators, community organizations and PBS stations to present more than 650 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.

POV Digital (www.pbs.org/pov)

Since 1994, POV Digital has driven new storytelling initiatives and interactive production for POV. The department created PBS’s first program website and its first web-based documentary (POV’s Borders) and has won major awards, including a Webby Award (and six nominations) and an Online News Association Award. POV Digital continues to explore the future of independent nonfiction media through its digital productions and the POV Hackathon lab, where media makers and technologists collaborate to reinvent storytelling forms. @povdocs on Twitter.

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 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.

Major funding for POV is provided by PBS, Corporation for Public Broadcasting, The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, New York State Council on the Arts, the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, the Wyncote Foundation, Ann Tenenbaum and Thomas H. Lee, The Educational Foundation of America and public television viewers. Special support provided by The Fledgling Fund. POV is presented by a consortium of public television stations, including KQED San Francisco, WGBH Boston and THIRTEEN in association with WNET.ORG.

Contacts:
POV Communications: 212-989-7425. communications@pov.org
Cathy Fisher, cfisher@pov.org;
POV online pressroom: www.pbs.org/pov/pressroom

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POV Pressroom