Documentaries with a point of view

Youth

Coming Out
by Ted Reed
PBS Premiere Date: Jul. 23, 1989
Coming Out reveals that the debutante tradition is alive and well.
Partisans Of Vilna
by Aviva Kempner
PBS Premiere Date: Aug. 27, 1989
This riveting film recounts the untold story of a handful of Jewish youth who organized an underground resistance against the Nazis in the Lithuanian ghetto of Vilna.
Girltalk
by Kate Davis
PBS Premiere Date: Nov. 15, 1989
Girltalk is Kate Davis' heartbreaking yet hopeful portrait of three runaway girls with histories of abuse and neglect. Music, humor, and intimate conversations play against the disturbing reality of these girls' lives.
Larry Wright
by Ari Marcopoulos and Maja Zrnic
PBS Premiere Date: Jul. 10, 1990
With a subway platform as his stage and a plastic can as his instrument, 14-year-old Larry Wright is a self-taught drummer with astonishing talent. Larry Wright is a rousing tribute to the Harlem youth and the rich culture of the urban streets.
Letter To The Next Generation
by Jim Klein
PBS Premiere Date: Jul. 17, 1990
Are college students today apathetic and self-centered? Twenty years after National Guardsmen opened fire on student antiwar demonstrators, Jim Klein, a 60's radical-turned-filmmaker (Union Maids, Seeing Red) visits the campus of Kent State to probe behind the stereotypes. Together with young patrons of the local tanning salon, activists-turned-professors, and an ROTC captain, Klein ponders the social forces that are changing campuses and the country in the 90's.
A Season in Hell
by Walter Brock and Stephen Roszell
PBS Premiere Date: Jul. 20, 1992
A haunting portrait of a young woman who begins to starve herself in search of the "perfect" body. The film follows four years in the life of Regina Hatfield as she struggles with bulimia.
Dream Deceivers
by David Van Taylor
PBS Premiere Date: Aug. 3, 1992
In 1995, a teenager claimed the heavy metal music of Judas Priest prompted him to attempt suicide. The drama of the ensuing trial provides the framework for David Van Taylor's disturbing look at teenagers today.
No Place Like Home
by Kathryn Hunt
PBS Premiere Date: Jun. 13, 1995
The story of 10-year-old Barbara Wilson's search, through cheap motels and homeless shelters, for permanence and security.
Fear and Learning at Hoover Elementary
by Laura Simon
PBS Premiere Date: Jul. 1, 1997
Teacher/filmmaker Laura Simon takes us inside her school's classrooms and faculty lounge, where a California law will deny public education to the children of undocumented immigrants.
Girls Like Us
by Jane Wagner and Tina DiFeliciantonio
PBS Premiere Date: Jul. 22, 1997
This POV classic film offers a rare and disarming peek into the very real lives of teenage girls in South Philly in the early 1990s.
The Band
by David Zeiger
PBS Premiere Date: Jun. 16, 1998
When filmmaker David Zeiger decides to film his son Danny's high school band for a year, he gets a crash course in love, life and marching in formation. This poignant portrait celebrates the hormones, havoc and hope of the teen years and ultimately allows Zeiger to deepen his connection with one son, while paying tribute to the loss of another.
Kelly Loves Tony
by Spencer Nakasako
PBS Premiere Date: Jun. 30, 1998
She's a straight-A student; he's trying to leave gang life behind. A camcorder becomes both witness and confidante for these markedly singular yet utterly typical teens as they self-document the trials of growing up too fast and too soon in urban America.
Sacrifice
by Ellen Bruno
PBS Premiere Date: Jul. 28, 1998
Burmese girls, lured into prostitution with promises of a better life for themselves and their families, give voice to their experiences in this poetic tribute to their struggles for survival.
School Prayer
by Slawomir Grünberg and Ben Crane
PBS Premiere Date: Jul. 20, 1999
The battle cry on both sides is "religious freedom" when a Mississippi mother takes a stand on prayer in her children's public school. While most of Pontotoc County rally together to preserve a cornerstone of their faith, Lisa Herdahl is a lone voice calling for separation of church and state.
Butterfly
by Doug Wolens
PBS Premiere Date: Jun. 20, 2000
In December 1997, Julia Hill climbed a 1000-year-old redwood tree vowing to not come down until it was saved from being clear-cut.
Scout's Honor
by Tom Shepard
PBS Premiere Date: Jun. 19, 2001
"To be physically strong, mentally awake and morally straight" - this is the Boy Scout pledge. Since 1910, millions of boys have joined. But today, if you are openly gay, you can't. A 12-year-old Boy Scout named Steven Cozza launches a campaign to overturn the Boy Scouts' anti-gay policy.
High School
by Frederick Wiseman
PBS Premiere Date: Aug. 28, 2001
Remember high school? Renowned filmmaker Frederick Wiseman's classic documentary High School renders this nearly universal American experience in unforgettable terms.
5 Girls
by Maria Finitzo
PBS Premiere Date: Oct. 2, 2001
5 Girls presents a real-life portrait of growing up female today through the eyes of five thoughtful and articulate young women. Join Corrie, Toby, Amber, Aisha and Haibinh as they take us on a journey through their teenage years.
Promises
by B. Z. Goldberg and Justine Shapiro and Carlos Bolado
PBS Premiere Date: Dec. 13, 2001
What is it really like to live in Jerusalem? Promises offers touching and fresh insight into the Middle East conflict through the eyes of seven Palestinian and Israeli children.
Mai's America
by Marlo Poras
PBS Premiere Date: Aug. 6, 2002
A spunky Vietnamese teenager named Mai gets the chance of a lifetime — to study in the United States. From cosmopolitan Hanoi to the heart of the Deep South, Mai's unforgettable journey offers an outsider's glimpse inside America.
My American Girls
by Aaron Matthews
PBS Premiere Date: Jul. 3, 2001
Encore Broadcast: Aug. 13, 2002
In vivid vérité detail, My American Girls: A Dominican Story captures the joys and struggles over a year in the lives of the Ortiz family, first generation immigrants from the Dominican Republic. Matthews' film captures the rewards — and costs — of pursuing the American dream.
Escuela
by Hannah Weyer
PBS Premiere Date: Aug. 27, 2002
Liliana Luis is a Mexican-American teenager rushing headlong into the turbulence of puberty as she tries to finish high school. The saga of the Luis family started in POV's 2000 film, La Boda, continues in this story of one family's drive towards a better future.
Larry v. Lockney
by Mark Birnbaum and Jim Schermbeck
PBS Premiere Date: Jul. 1, 2003
What happens when a father goes against the grain to uphold the democratic rights of his son? Meet Larry Tannahill. He was the only parent in Lockney, TX to object to the school board's new mandatory drug-testing policy.
Lost Boys of Sudan
by Megan Mylan and Jon Shenk
PBS Premiere Date: Sep. 28, 2004
Follow two young refugees from the Dinka tribe, Peter and Santino, through their first year in America. Nearly 4,000 'lost boys' have emigrated to the United States.
The Education of Shelby Knox
by Marion Lipschutz and Rose Rosenblatt
PBS Premiere Date: Jun. 21, 2005
A self-described "good Southern Baptist girl," 15-year-old Texan Shelby Knox becomes an unlikely advocate for comprehensive sex education.
The Boys of Baraka
by Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady
PBS Premiere Date: Sep. 12, 2006
The Boys of Baraka follows four boys from Baltimore to rural Kenya, where a teacher-student ratio of one to five, a strict disciplinary program and a comprehensive curriculum form the core of an extraordinary journey in their transformation to men.
Rain in a Dry Land
by Anne Makepeace
PBS Premiere Date: Jun. 19, 2007
Two Somali Bantu families are transported by relief agencies from years of civil war and refugee life to settle in Springfield, Massachusetts and Atlanta, Georgia.
Following Sean
by Ralph Arlyck
PBS Premiere Date: Jul. 31, 2007
Ralph Arlyck goes back to San Francisco to find out what happened to the precocious four-year-old he'd met during the height of the '60s.
The Hobart Shakespeareans
by Mel Stuart
PBS Premiere Date: Sep. 6, 2005
Encore Broadcast: Aug. 15, 2006
Encore Broadcast: Aug. 7, 2007
The Hobart Shakespeareans discovers how one teacher's uncommon commitment and resourcefulness have opened up worlds of opportunity for his "disadvantaged" students — and perhaps have demonstrated a way forward for America's beleaguered public education system.
Kokoyakyu
by Kenneth Eng
PBS Premiere Date: Jul. 4, 2006
Encore Broadcast: Aug. 26, 2008
In Japan, baseball is not a pastime — it's an obsession epitomized by the national high school baseball tournament known simply as "Koshien."
Hold Me Tight, Let Me Go
by Kim Longinotto
PBS Premiere Date: Jul. 28, 2009
An unblinking look inside a British school for emotionally disturbed kids captures what happens when a community of determined adults envelops them in love rather than force.
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.
So the Wind Won't Blow It All Away
by Annie P. Waldman
PBS Premiere Date: Sep. 22, 2009
A determined group of teenagers return to New Orleans two years after Hurricane Katrina to finish high school. Since Katrina, one out of five teens live without parents.
Bronx Princess
by Yoni Brook and Musa Syeed
PBS Premiere Date: Sep. 22, 2009
Rocky Otoo is the sassy teenage daughter of Ghanaian parents. After she rebels against her mother's rule in the Bronx, she flees to her father, a chief in Ghana.
Bye
by Anthony Morrison
PBS Premiere Date: Jul. 13, 2010
Bye follows Jayden, a two and half year old diagnosed with autism, through his first months of school in the Bronx.
StoryCorps Shorts
by Mike Rauch and Tim Rauch and Gina Kamentsky and Julie Zammarchi
PBS Premiere Date: Aug. 17, 2010
Streaming Now (Until Nov. 28, 2017)
POV continues to share StoryCorps stories through the distinctive and delightful animations of The Rauch Brothers and Gina Kamentsky and Julie Zammarchi, bringing their recordings to a new audience.
StoryCorps Shorts: Q&A
by Mike Rauch and Tim Rauch
PBS Premiere Date: Aug. 24, 2010
Streaming Now (Until Nov. 28, 2017)
This four-minute animated short from the producers of StoryCorps features Joshua Littman, a 12-year-old boy with Asperger's syndrome, interviewing his mother, Sarah.
Adoption Stories
by Deann Borshay Liem and Nicole Opper and Stephanie Wang-Breal
PBS Premiere Date: Aug. 31, 2010
POV features three films about adoption — Wo Ai Ni (I Love You) Mommy by Stephanie Wang-Breal; Off and Running by Nicole Opper; and In the Matter of Cha Jung Hee by Deann Borshay Liem — and has launched a national public awareness campaign to examine issues facing adoptees and families who choose to adopt.
Wo Ai Ni (I Love You) Mommy
by Stephanie Wang-Breal
PBS Premiere Date: Aug. 31, 2010
What is it like to be torn from your Chinese foster family, put on a plane with strangers and wake up in a new country, family and culture?
Off and Running
by Nicole Opper
PBS Premiere Date: Sep. 7, 2010
Avery is one of three children adopted by a Jewish lesbian couple in Brooklyn. Though it may not look typical, Avery’s is like most families — until she writes to her birth mother.
Racing Dreams
by Marshall Curry
PBS Premiere Date: Feb. 23, 2012
In Racing Dreams, three "tweens" dream of becoming NASCAR drivers. A humorous and heartbreaking portrait of racing, young love and family struggle.
Up Heartbreak Hill
by Erica Scharf
PBS Premiere Date: Jul. 26, 2012
Up Heartbreak Hill follows two Native teens torn between the lure of opportunities outside their remote reservation community and the cultural ties that bind them to home.
StoryCorps Shorts: Eyes on the Stars
by Mike Rauch and Tim Rauch
PBS Premiere Date: Aug. 9, 2012
Streaming Now (Until Jan. 28, 2017)
Carl McNair tells the story of his brother Ronald, an African-American kid in the 1950s who set his sights on the stars.
StoryCorps Shorts: Facundo the Great
by Mike Rauch and Tim Rauch
PBS Premiere Date: Aug. 9, 2012
Streaming Now (Until Nov. 28, 2017)
The new kid at school becomes a hero when his teachers cannot find a way to anglicize his name.
Where Soldiers Come From
by Heather Courtney
PBS Premiere Date: Nov. 10, 2011
Encore Broadcast: Sep. 6, 2012
From a snowy town in northern Michigan to the mountains of Afghanistan, follow the four-year journey of childhood friends who join the National Guard.
Only the Young
by Jason Tippet and Elizabeth Mims
PBS Premiere Date: Jul. 15, 2013
Three teens in a Southern California town wrestle with questions of love and friendship along with adult realities of financial uncertainty.
Best Kept Secret
by Samantha Buck
PBS Premiere Date: Sep. 23, 2013
A Newark, N.J. public high school teacher races against the clock to find a place in the world for her students with autism before they graduate and "age out" of a unique and caring support system.
Brooklyn Castle
by Katie Dellamaggiore
PBS Premiere Date: Oct. 7, 2013
Brooklyn public school I.S. 318, serving mostly minority students from working-class families, has won more than 30 national chess championships, the country’s best record.
American Promise
by Joe Brewster and Michèle Stephenson
PBS Premiere Date: Feb. 3, 2014
In American Promise, African-American parents Joe Brewster and Michèle Stephenson film their son and his friend, who attend one of the country’s most prestigious private schools.
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.
Dance for Me
by Katrine Philp
PBS Premiere Date: Jul. 21, 2014
At 15, Russian ballroom dancer Egor leaves everyone and everything he knows for a chance to team up with 14-year-old Mie, one of Denmark's most promising young performers. Will his choice be worth the sacrifices he must make?
15 to Life
by Nadine Pequeneza
PBS Premiere Date: Aug. 4, 2014
Does sentencing a teenager to life without parole serve society? Following a Florida man who received four life sentences at age 15, this eye-opening film reveals a justice system that routinely condemns young Americans to die in prison.
20/Nothing
by Rachel Stevens and Sarah Meismer and Caitlin Hofmeister and Josef Metesh
Digital Premiere Date: Oct. 13, 2014
Streaming Now
20/Nothing follows Evan Smith, a man who lost his left eye many years ago. This experimental film takes a look at life from a different view.
StoryCorps Shorts: The Nature of War
by Mike Rauch and Tim Rauch
Digital Premiere Date: Nov. 10, 2014
Streaming Now (Until Nov. 10, 2018)
In 2005, Specialist Justin Cliburn deployed to Iraq with the Oklahoma Army National Guard. While serving in Baghdad, Justin formed an unlikely friendship with two Iraqi boys who lived nearby. At StoryCorps, Justin speaks with his wife, Deanne, about the lasting impression the boys left on his life.
Web Junkie
by Shosh Shlam and Hilla Medalia
PBS Premiere Date: Jul. 13, 2015
An extraordinary look into a internet addiction rehab in Beijing, China, the first country in the world to classify this evolving diagnosis. Official Selection of the 2014 Sundance Film Festival.
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.
Neuland
by Anna Thommen
PBS Premiere Date: Aug. 17, 2015
One teacher prepares his students for their new life in Switzerland as they struggle to learn a new language, prepare themselves for employment and reveal their innermost hopes and dreams.
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.