Documentaries with a point of view

Economics

The Fighting Ministers
by Bill Jersey and Richard Wormser
PBS Premiere Date: Sep. 3, 1989
Moved by the growing desperation of thousands of laid-off steel workers, a group of ministers in Pittsburgh begins to confront the city's government and powerful corporations. Their passionate, controversial and unorthodox actions lead to profound soul-searching, Church rejection and imprisonment.
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.
Chemical Valley
by Mimi Pickering and Anne Lewis Johnson
PBS Premiere Date: Jul. 9, 1991
A West Virginia community is deeply divided over potentially life and death questions over a local chemical plant that fuels the area's fragile economy.
Takeover
by Pamela Yates and Peter Kinoy
PBS Premiere Date: Aug. 10, 1992
Homeless people simultaneously take over empty houses in eight cities.
Fast Food Women
by Anne Lewis Johnson
PBS Premiere Date: Aug. 10, 1992
Anne Lewis Johnson documents the low-wage, no-benefit jobs of the 'working poor' in America's new 'service economy'.
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.
Money Man
by Philip Haas
PBS Premiere Date: Aug. 3, 1993
J.S.G. Boggs makes money the artistic way. He draws it. Then, to complete the process, he spends it. Is it art or is it counterfeit? Inquiring minds — at the Secret Service — want to know.
Sa-I-Gu
by Dai Sil Kim-Gibson and Christine Choy and Elaine Kim
PBS Premiere Date: Sep. 10, 1993
"Sa-I-Gu", Korean for April 29, opens a window on Korean American women in Los Angeles whose stores — and lives — were devastated in the aftermath of the Rodney King Trial.
The Uprising of '34
by George Stoney and Judith Helfand and Susanne Rostock
PBS Premiere Date: Jun. 25, 1995
Textile workers recall with pride the long- suppressed story of the General Textile Strike of 1934 when 500,000 Southern mill laborers walked off their jobs.
Home Economics
by Jenny Cool
PBS Premiere Date: Jul. 18, 1995
Jenny Cool interviewed women in a suburban housing development outside Los Angeles, discovering a fragile lifestyle dominated by social pressures and the daily commuter grind.
Dealers Among Dealers
by Gaylen Ross
PBS Premiere Date: Jul. 25, 1995
Filmmaker Gaylen Ross takes us inside the virtually impenetrable world of diamond and precious stone trading.
No Loans Today
by Lisanne Skyler
PBS Premiere Date: Jul. 2, 1996
The ABC Loan Co. of South Central Los Angeles, a successful black-owned pawnshop, is a unique entree to inspiring stories of economic and emotional survival.
Taken for a Ride
by Martha Olson and Jim Klein
PBS Premiere Date: Aug. 6, 1996
A startling expose of General Motors' role in dismantling street car transportation in the 1930's and in catapulting the automobile to the center of our national culture.
Tobacco Blues
by Eren McGinnis and Christine Fugate
PBS Premiere Date: Jun. 19, 1998
Can a good person grow tobacco? As the cigarette war rages, small American tobacco farmers have been the often overlooked casualties. Dynamic filmmaking duo Eren McGinnis and Christine Fugate travel across Kentucky to meet the families who have been growing this crop for generations, as they face the consequences of this fuming controversy in their own backyards.
Take It From Me
by Emily Abt
PBS Premiere Date: Jul. 24, 2001
As shown in the experiences of several women and their families, the new welfare system, with its recent controversial reforms, may make it easier to ignore rather than confront the complexities of poverty amidst plentitude.
Life and Debt
by Stephanie Black
PBS Premiere Date: Aug. 21, 2001
Life and Debt is an unapologetic look at the "new world order," from the point of view of Jamaican workers, farmers, government and policy officials who see the reality of globalization from the ground up.
Thirst
by Alan Snitow and Deborah Kaufman
PBS Premiere Date: Jul. 13, 2004
Population growth, pollution, and scarcity are turning water into "blue gold," the oil of the 21st century.
Waging a Living
by Roger Weisberg
PBS Premiere Date: Aug. 29, 2006
The term "working poor" should be an oxymoron. For 30 million Americans, it's reality. Waging a Living chronicles the day-to-day battles of four low-wage earners.
Standing Silent Nation
by Suree Towfighnia and Courtney Hermann
PBS Premiere Date: Jul. 3, 2007
In April 2000, Alex White Plume and his Lakota family planted industrial hemp on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota after other crops had failed. But when federal agents raided the White Plumes' fields, the Lakota Nation was swept into a Byzantine struggle over tribal sovereignty, economic rights and common sense.
Prison Town, USA
by Katie Galloway and Po Kutchins
PBS Premiere Date: Jul. 24, 2007
In the 1990s, at the height of the prison-building boom, a prison opened in rural America every 15 days. Prison Town, USA tells the story of Susanville, California, one small town that tries to resuscitate its economy by building a prison — with unanticipated consequences.
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?
Up the Yangtze
by Yung Chang
PBS Premiere Date: Oct. 8, 2008
Nearing completion, China's massive Three Gorges Dam is altering the landscape and the lives of people living along the fabled Yangtze River. Countless ancient villages and historic locales will be submerged, and 2 million people will lose their homes and livelihoods.
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.
Utopia, Part 3
by Sam Green and Carrie Lozano
PBS Premiere Date: Aug. 18, 2009
Is nothing American sacred anymore? The largest mall in the world turns out not to be the famous Mall of America. It's the South China Mall outside of Guangzhou.
POV Shorts (2009)
by Various
PBS Premiere Date: Aug. 18, 2009
POV presents a one-hour collection of acclaimed documentary shorts by established and emerging filmmakers.
Last Train Home
by Lixin Fan
PBS Premiere Date: Sep. 27, 2011
Encore Broadcast: Aug. 5, 2013
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.
StoryCorps Shorts: Making It
by Mike Rauch and Tim Rauch
Digital Premiere Date: Feb. 11, 2014
Streaming Now (Until Nov. 28, 2017)
Noe Rueda grew up on Chicago's West Side, raised by a single mom. Noe watched his family struggle and decided to help. Noe told Alex Fernandez, his high school economics teacher, about launching his first business venture.
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.
Fallen City
by Qi Zhao
PBS Premiere Date: Jul. 28, 2014
After an earthquake levels Beichuan, China, a modern replica rises with astounding speed, but while a city can be rebuilt quickly, reconstructing a community’s heart and soul is a long, emotional journey for the survivors.
Big Men
by Rachel Boynton
PBS Premiere Date: Aug. 25, 2014
Big Men, executive produced by Brad Pitt, goes to Ghana to provide an unprecedented look at the global deal making and dark underside of oil development — a contest for money and power that is reshaping the world.
The Overnighters
by Jesse Moss
PBS Premiere Date: Jun. 29, 2015
Desperate, broken men chase their dreams and run from their demons in the North Dakota oil fields. A local pastor risks everything to help them. Winner, Special Jury Award for Intuitive Filmmaking: Documentary, 2014 Sundance Film Festival.
The Storm Makers
by Guillaume Suon
PBS Premiere Date: Aug. 31, 2015
An eye-opening look at the cycle of poverty, despair and greed that fuels human trafficking in Cambodia.
Hotel 22
by Elizabeth Lo
PBS Premiere Date: Sep. 21, 2015
Streaming Now (Until Sep. 22, 2018)
Each night in Silicon Valley, the Line 22 transforms from a public bus into an unofficial shelter for the homeless in one of the richest parts of the world. Hotel 22 captures a single, dramatic night on the Line 22 route.