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Documentary looks at how the amendment of California’s controversial “Three Strikes” law has affected prisoners, families, lawmakers and American society; world premiere at Tribeca Film Festival April 17
A co-production of American Documentary | POV and ITVS

New York, N.Y. – March 17, 2016 – POV (Point of View), American television’s longest-running independent documentary series, will open its 29th season on Monday, May 23, 2016 on PBS with the national broadcast premiere of Kelly Duane de la Vega and Katie Galloway’s The Return, it was announced today by POV Executive Producers Justine Nagan and Chris White. POV, winner of a 2013 MacArthur Award for Creative and Effective Institutions, airs Mondays at 10 p.m. on PBS from May to November, with primetime specials during the year. (Check local listings.) POV will announce its full lineup in the coming weeks.

In 2012, California amended its “Three Strikes” law—one of the harshest criminal sentencing policies in the country. The passage of Proposition 36 marked the first time in U.S. history that citizens voted to shorten sentences of those currently incarcerated. Within days, the reintegration of thousands of “lifers” was underway. The Return examines this unprecedented reform through the eyes of those on the front lines—prisoners suddenly freed, families turned upside down, reentry providers helping navigate complex transitions and attorneys and judges wrestling with an untested law. At a moment of reckoning on mass incarceration, what can California’s experiment teach the nation? See a trailer.

The Return will have its world premiere at the 2016 Tribeca Film Festival on Sunday, April 17. See the screening schedule.

POV has previously broadcast films by Duane de la Vega and Galloway: the team’s Emmy®-nominated Better This World in 2011 and Prison Town, USA (by Galloway and Po Kutchins) in 2007.

“While U.S. issues of criminal justice and incarceration are top of mind, especially during an election season, this is a rare story about nonviolent offenders who have unexpectedly been let out of prison,” said POV’s Nagan. “How do they reestablish relationships and find their way in a society that has significantly changed in the years they’ve lost? By focusing on two former lifers in The Return, Kelly Duane de la Vega and Katie Galloway have created a compassionate, honest portrait of Americans on the margins fighting to get back into the mainstream.”

The Return is a co-production of Loteria Films, American Documentary | POV and the Independent Television Service (ITVS) with funding provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting in association with Chicken and Egg Pictures.

About the filmmakers:

Kelly Duane de la Vega, Director/Producer

Kelly Duane de la Vega’s documentaries have screened at film festivals worldwide, opened theatrically across the country and been broadcast nationally on POV and the Documentary Channel. Her work has received the Writers Guild of America’s Best Documentary Screenplay Award, Gotham Independent Film Best Documentary Award and multiple national Emmy nominations. Better This World (POV 2011) won the Best Documentary Feature awards at the San Francisco International Film Festival and Sarasota Film Festival, received an International Documentary Association Creative Recognition award and screened at MoMA’s Documentary Fortnight. Her film Monumental screened nationally, was acquired by the Smithsonian for its permanent collection and is used by more than 50 universities internationally. Duane de la Vega has produced powerful short-format work for The New York Times Op-Docs series, Mother Jones, IFC and Discovery, among others. A Sundance and HBO/Film Independent fellow, she has guest lectured at various universities and taught documentary forms at the University of California, Berkeley. She is the founder of the Bay Area production company Loteria Films.

Katie Galloway, Director/Producer

Loteria Films principal Katie Galloway is a director, producer and writer whose films explore the intersections of institutional power, civil and human rights and political activism. Better This World (POV 2011) won the Writers Guild of America’s Best Documentary Screenplay award, Best Documentary at the Gotham Independent Film Awards and the International Documentary Association’s Creative Recognition Award. Prison Town, USA (POV 2007), which she co-directed with Po Kutchins, was developed as a fiction television series by IFC. Galloway produced and was a reporter in an award-winning trio of films about the American justice system for PBS FRONTLINE: Snitch, Requiem for Frank Lee Smith and The Case for Innocence. A two-time Sundance fellow, she taught documentary production at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and teaches media studies at the University of California, Berkeley, where she was recently filmmaker-in-residence in the Journalism School’s Investigative Reporting Program. She holds a Ph.D. in political science from UC Berkeley.

About ITVS:

Independent Television Service funds, presents and promotes award-winning documentaries and dramas on public television, innovative new media projects on the Web, and the Emmy® Award-winning weekly series Independent Lens on Monday nights at 10 p.m. on PBS. Mandated by Congress in 1988 and funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, ITVS has brought more than 1,000 independently produced programs to date to American audiences. For more information, visit

About POV:

Produced by American Documentary, Inc., POV is American television’s longest-running independent documentary series. 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.

POV films have won 34 Emmy® Awards, 18 George Foster Peabody Awards, 12 Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Awards, three Academy Awards®, the first-ever George Polk Documentary Film Award and the Prix Italia. The POV series has been honored with a 2013 MacArthur Foundation Award for Creative and Effective Institutions, a Special News & Documentary Emmy Award for Excellence in Television Documentary Filmmaking, three IDA Awards for Best Curated Series and the National Association of Latino Independent Producers Award for Corporate Commitment to Diversity. Learn more at

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.

Major funding for POV is provided by PBS, The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Corporation for Public Broadcasting and National Endowment for the Arts. Additional funding comes from Nancy Blachman and David desJardins, Bertha Foundation, Wyncote Foundation, The Fledgling Fund, Marguerite Casey Foundation, Ettinger Foundation, New York State Council on the Arts, Ann Tenenbaum and Thomas H. Lee, and public television viewers. POV is presented by a consortium of public television stations, including KQED San Francisco, WGBH Boston and THIRTEEN in association with WNET.ORG.

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