Documentaries with a point of view

Politics

Fire From the Mountain
by Deborah Shaffer
PBS Premiere Date: Jul. 12, 1988
Based on the autobiography of Nicaraguan author Omar Cabezas, Fire From the Mountain is the lyrical, earthy, sometimes humorous account of the author's political journey from student activist to guerrilla to government official.
Las Madres
by Susana Munoz and Lourdes Portillo
PBS Premiere Date: Aug. 2, 1988
During the late 1970s, tens of thousands of men, women and even children were abducted by the right-wing military government in Argentina. While most of the population was terrorized by these actions, a small group of mothers of the disappeared began staging weekly demonstrations to demand that their children be released and the kidnappers be brought to justice.
Through the Wire
by Nina Rosenblum
PBS Premiere Date: Jun. 26, 1990
In 1986, three women convicted of politically-motivated nonviolent offenses were transferred to a secret, subterranean prison where they were kept in constantly-lit near isolation, watched 24 hours a day and strip-searched routinely for nearly two years. The women were not imprisoned in Turkey or Iran or Chile, but in Lexington, Ky.
People Power
by Ilan Ziv
PBS Premiere Date: Sep. 11, 1990
After years of witnessing first hand the horrors of guerrilla wars, Israeli-born producer Ilan Ziv traveled to Chile, the Philippines and the West Bank to explore the development of "People Power" and to reexamine his own long-held belief in the necessary evil of violence to overthrow repressive governments.
Sea of Oil
by M.R. Katzke
PBS Premiere Date: Jul. 9, 1991
The Exxon Valdez disaster left far more than a soiled coastline in its wake. Grief, suspicion, anger and greed oozed through the small, formerly pristine town of Valdez. The human toll of an environmental nightmare is evoked in a haunting film which Exxon and the City of Valdez attempted, unsuccessfully, to suppress.
Maria's Story
by Pamela Cohen and Monona Wali and Catherine M. Ryan
PBS Premiere Date: Aug. 13, 1991
Filmmakers Pamela Cohen, Catherine Ryan and Monona Wali profile a female guerrilla leader in El Salvador's rebel army.
Takeover
by Pamela Yates and Peter Kinoy
PBS Premiere Date: Aug. 10, 1992
Homeless people simultaneously take over empty houses in eight cities.
Louisiana Boys
by Louis Alvarez and Andrew Kolker and Paul Stekler
PBS Premiere Date: Aug. 31, 1992
In Louisiana, Mardi gras and elections run neck and neck as the number one pastime. Here is a cast of characters only Louisiana could produce: Huey P. Long, his excellency, the dictator of Louisiana; Uncle Earl K. Long, committed to an asylum while he was still governor; and Jimmie Davis singing his farewell speech to the state legislature.
Roger and Me
by Michael Moore
PBS Premiere Date: Sep. 28, 1992
Michael Moore embarks upon a filmic odyssey to meet General Motors Chairman Roger Smith and convince him to visit Flint, Michigan for a first-hand look at how massive layoffs had devastated the local economy.
Pets or Meat
by Michael Moore
PBS Premiere Date: Sep. 28, 1992
Filmmaker Michael Moore revisits his now famous hometown in a new film, Pets or Meat: The Return to Flint.
The Times Of A Sign
by David Goldsmith and Steven Day
PBS Premiere Date: Aug. 9, 1994
A quirky look at the Iran-contra affair through the exploits of an eloquent and off-beat minister who ends up in jail when big-time politics come to a small town in Indiana.
Taking on the Kennedys
by Joshua Seftel
PBS Premiere Date: May. 28, 1996
It's baptism by fire when a political underdog takes on the closest thing to American royalty. Get a behind-the-scenes look at modern politics in this 1996 POV classic.
A Perfect Candidate
by R.J. Cutler and David Van Taylor
PBS Premiere Date: Aug. 5, 1997
What does it take to be a perfect candidate in a cynical age? A Perfect Candidate Is an up-to-the-minute critique of our campaign process — and a twisted journey into the underbelly of american politics.
Live Free or Die
by Marion Lipschutz and Rose Rosenblatt
PBS Premiere Date: Sep. 26, 2000
New Hampshire's "Live Free or Die" motto acquires tense contemporary meaning when abortion politics play out in a quiet New England town.
Boomtown
by Bryan Gunnar Cole
PBS Premiere Date: Jul. 2, 2002
In Washington State, there are 26 Indian tribes — all of them trading in fireworks. Boomtown follows the Suquamish tribe during fireworks season mdash; a chaotic five-week sales period — while exploring life, liberty and the politics of Indian sovereignty in America.
Brother Outsider
by Nancy Kates and Bennett Singer
PBS Premiere Date: Jan. 20, 2003
Streaming Now!
During his 60-year career as an activist, Rustin formulated many of the strategies that propelled the movement. But his open sexuality forced him to remain in the background.
Georgie Girl
by Annie Goldson and Peter Wells
PBS Premiere Date: Jun. 20, 2003
Streaming Now!
What are the chances that a former prostitute could be elected a Member of the Parliament of New Zealand by a conservative, rural district? What if that person was also transgender? The odds may seem daunting, but Georgina Beyer did it.
Farmingville
by Carlos Sandoval and Catherine Tambini
PBS Premiere Date: Jun. 22, 2004
The shocking hate-based attempted murders of two Mexican day laborers catapult a small Long Island town into national headlines, unmasking a new front line in the border wars: suburbia.
Bill's Run
by Richard Kassebaum
PBS Premiere Date: Jun. 29, 2004
When documentary filmmaker Richard Kassebaum learned that his younger brother, Bill, a rancher and country lawyer, had decided to run for the Kansas House of Representatives, he left Los Angeles and spent seven weeks on the campaign trail chronicling his brother's first run for public office.
Last Man Standing
by Paul Stekler
PBS Premiere Date: Jul. 20, 2004
Asking what the politics are that launched George W. Bush to national office, award-winning filmmaker Paul Stekler takes his camera to Texas for a lively, behind-the-scenes look at a pair of 2002 elections — one for state representative in a district that includes Lyndon Johnson's hometown, and a polarizing race for governor.
Freedom Machines
by Jamie Stoble and Janet Cole
PBS Premiere Date: Sep. 14, 2004
Encore Broadcast: Sep. 9, 2008
Freedom Machines takes a new look at disability through the lens of assistive technology.
Chisholm '72
by Shola Lynch
PBS Premiere Date: Feb. 7, 2005
In 1972, Shirley Chisholm became the first black woman to run for president. Her wit, spirit and charisma reminds all Americans of their power as citizens.
Street Fight
by Marshall Curry
PBS Premiere Date: Jul. 5, 2005
The Academy Award-nominated film covers the turbulent campaign of Cory Booker, a 32-year-old Rhodes Scholar running for mayor of Newark against a four-term incumbent.
Al Otro Lado
by Natalia Almada
PBS Premiere Date: Aug. 1, 2006
The proud Mexican tradition of corrido music provides both heartbeat and backbone to this rich examination of songs, drugs and dreams along the U.S./Mexico border.
Maquilapolis
by Vicky Funari and Sergio De La Torre
PBS Premiere Date: Oct. 10, 2006
Carmen and Lourdes work at maquiladoras just over the border in Tijuana, Mexico, where each day they confront labor violations, environmental devastation and urban chaos.
My Country, My Country
by Laura Poitras
PBS Premiere Date: Oct. 25, 2006
Working alone in Iraq over eight months, filmmaker Laura Poitras takes an unforgettable journey into the heart of war-ravaged Iraq in the months leading up to the January 2005 elections.
Made in L.A.
by Almudena Carracedo and Robert Bahar
PBS Premiere Date: Sep. 4, 2007
Encore Broadcast: Aug. 11, 2009
Follow the remarkable journey of three Latina immigrants working in L.A.'s garment factories and their long battle to bring a major clothing retailer to the negotiating table.
Wrestling With Angels
by Freida Lee Mock
PBS Premiere Date: Dec. 12, 2007
Tony Kushner, whose epochal Angels in Americawon a Pulitzer Prize and a Tony Award, begins a revival run in New York this week, is one of the country's leading playwrights — and one of its fiercest moral critics.
Election Day
by Katy Chevigny
PBS Premiere Date: Jul. 1, 2008
Forget the pie charts, color-coded maps and hyperventilating pundits. What's the street-level experience of voters in today's America?
The Ballad of Esequiel Hernández
by Kieran Fitzgerald
PBS Premiere Date: Jul. 8, 2008
In 1997, U.S. Marines patrolling the Texas-Mexico border as part of the War on Drugs shot and killed Esequiel Hernández Jr.
The Last Conquistador
by John J. Valadez and Cristina Ibarra
PBS Premiere Date: Jul. 15, 2008
Renowned sculptor John Houser has a dream: to build the world's tallest bronze equestrian statue for the city of El Paso, Texas.
Campaign
by Kazuhiro Soda
PBS Premiere Date: Jul. 29, 2008
This is democracy — Japanese style: the story of a man plucked from obscurity by the ruling political party to run for a critical city council seat.
Belarusian Waltz
by Andrzej Fidyk
PBS Premiere Date: Aug. 12, 2008
The story of Alexander Pushkin, whose audacious, comical exploits against totalitarianism find him facing the hostility of the police and the consternation of his family.
Critical Condition
by Roger Weisberg
PBS Premiere Date: Sep. 30, 2008
What happens if you get sick and are one of 47 million Americans without health insurance?
Soldiers of Conscience
by Gary Weimberg and Catherine Ryan
PBS Premiere Date: Oct. 16, 2008
When is it right to kill? In the midst of war, is it right to refuse? Eight U.S. soldiers, some whom have killed and some who have said no, reveal their inner moral dilemmas.
The Principal Story
by Tod Lending and David Mrazek
PBS Premiere Date: Sep. 15, 2009
Over the course of a school year, two public school principals with unique styles and similar passions make a difference in the lives of their students.
The Most Dangerous Man in America
by Judith Ehrlich and Rick Goldsmith
PBS Premiere Date: Oct. 5, 2010
Encore Broadcast: Jun. 7, 2011
Forty years ago, a whistleblower's daring act of conscience led directly to Watergate, President Nixon's resignation and the end of the Vietnam War.
Better This World
by Kelly Duane de la Vega and Katie Galloway
PBS Premiere Date: Sep. 6, 2011
Encore Broadcast: Aug. 30, 2012
The story of two men who were accused of intending to firebomb the 2008 Republican National Convention, is a dramatic tale of idealism, loyalty, crime and betrayal.
Protest or Terrorism? Stories from Post-9/11 America
by Marshall Curry and Kelly Duane de la Vega and Katie Galloway
PBS Premiere Date: Sep. 6, 2011
Two films featuring political activists who crossed the line into law-breaking and authorities who may have crossed their own lines to catch them.
POV Short Cuts (2012)
by Various
PBS Premiere Date: Aug. 9, 2012
Short is sweet as POV presents brief documentary encounters — the Academy Award-nominated The Barber of Birmingham, the Student Academy Award winner Sin País, and the return of StoryCorps.
American Revolutionary
by Grace Lee
PBS Premiere Date: Jun. 30, 2014
Meet Grace Lee Boggs, a Chinese American philosopher in Detroit who has been waging a revolution for 75 years. Her story unfurls to portray an evolving city and to examine the power of ideas and imagination to propel change.
Getting Back to Abnormal
by Louis Alvarez and Andrew Kolker and Peter Odabashian and Paul Stekler
PBS Premiere Date: Jul. 14, 2014
Election time in New Orleans: Corruption. Racism. Dancing in the streets. And one in-your-face politician trying to get re-elected. Let the good times roll.
A World Not Ours
by Mahdi Fleifel
PBS Premiere Date: Aug. 18, 2014
A passionate, bittersweet account of one family’s multi-generational experience living as permanent refugees at Ain el-Helweh refugee camp in southern Lebanon.
Koch
by Neil Barsky
PBS Premiere Date: Sep. 22, 2014
Meet Ed Koch, the quintessential New Yorker. Combative, funny and blunt, he was mayor from 1978 to 1989, an era of graffiti, near-bankruptcy and crime. Before his death in 2013, the intensely private man recalled his life and legacy.
StoryCorps Shorts: A More Perfect Union
by Mike Rauch and Tim Rauch
PBS Premiere Date: Jun. 29, 2015
Streaming Now!
Theresa Burroughs recalls her persistence to claim her right to vote during the Jim Crow era in the rural South.
Return to Homs
by Talal Derki
PBS Premiere Date: Jul. 20, 2015
A look behind the barricades of the besieged Syrian city of Homs, where, for 19-year-old Basset and his ragtag group of comrades, the audacious hope of revolution is crumbling like the buildings around them. Winner of the first George Polk Documentary Film Award.
Beats of the Antonov
by hajooj kuka and Steven Markovitz
PBS Premiere Date: Aug. 3, 2015
Sudanese civilians facing government bombing campaigns celebrate their heritage through music, finding hope and a common identity. Winner, Grolsch People's Choice Documentary Award, 2014 Toronto International Film Festival.
Don't Tell Anyone (No Le Digas a Nadie)
by Mikaela Shwer
PBS Premiere Date: Sep. 21, 2015
In a community where silence is seen as necessary for survival, immigrant activist Angy Rivera joins a generation of Dreamers ready to push for change in the only home she's ever known — the United States. A co-presentation with Latino Public Broadcasting.
Ai Weiwei
by Andreas Johnsen
PBS Premiere Date: Oct. 2, 2015
How the government's attempts to silence Ai Weiwei have turned him into China's most powerful artist and an irrepressible voice for free speech and human rights around the globe. Official Selection of the 2013 International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam.