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POV Acquires Sundance 2009 Documentaries 'El General' and 'William Kunstler: Disturbing the Universe' for National Broadcast on PBS

   

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Two films premiering at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival in the U.S. Documentary Feature Film Competition, El General by Natalia Almada and William Kunstler: Disturbing the Universe by Sarah and Emily Kunstler, will have their national broadcast premieres on the POV ("Point of View") documentary series on PBS, it was announced by Simon Kilmurry, Executive Director, American Documentary | POV Sundance takes place Jan. 15-25, 2009 in Park City, Salt Lake City, Ogden and Sundance, Utah.

Again this year, the POV Blog (www.pbs.org/pov/blog) will report from the festival with exclusive interviews, videos and images of the filmmakers and fans converging on Sundance. The blog will also provide roundups of the best Sundance coverage around the Web. POV staffers will also be twittering from the festival (twitter id: povdocs).

William Kunstler and his two daughters
  William Kunstler and his two daughters from
  William Kunstler: Disturbing the Universe.

"We're delighted to present the broadcast premieres of two films that look at larger-than-life figures who were loved and reviled during their lives and after their deaths," said Kilmurry, who noted that last year's Sundance Selection The Betrayal: Nerakhoon by Ellen Kuras and Thavisouk Phrasavath will premiere in 2009 on POV "We are also glad to welcome Natalia Almada back to POV with El General, another splendid film about her native Mexico; her film Al Otro Lado, about the intersection of drug traffickers and musicians along the border, premiered on POV in 2006 to wide acclaim."

Beginning its 22nd year on PBS in June 2009, POV is American television's longest-running independent documentary series. POV is broadcast Tuesdays on PBS from June through October, with primetime specials during the year. POV broadcasts are accompanied by companion websites, community screenings, panel discussions and other outreach activities, enabling audiences to dig deeper and engage with one another about the issues the films present.

FILM DESCRIPTIONS, SCREENINGS


El General (Director: Natalia Almada)

Past and present collide as award-winning filmmaker Natalia Almada brings to life audio recordings she inherited about her great-grandfather Plutarco Elias Calles, a revolutionary general who became Mexico's president in 1924. In his time, Calles was called "El Bolshevique" and "El Jefe Maximo" (the foremost chief). Today, he is remembered as "el Quema-Curas" (priest—burner) and as a dictator who ruled through puppet presidents until he was exiled in 1936. Through Almada's grandmother's recordings, El General moves between memories of a daughter grappling with history's portrait of her father and the weight of his legacy on the country today. The film is a co-production of Altamura Films and ITVS in association with Latino Public Broadcasting. (Mexico/U.S.A., 2008, 83 mins.)

A scene from El General
  A scene from El General.

Natalia Almada was born in Mexico. Her directing credits include All Water Has a Perfect Memory, an internationally recognized experimental short, and Al Otro Lado, an award-winning feature documentary about immigration and drug trafficking that appeared on POV in 2006. Her work has screened at Sundance, the Museum of Modern Art and the Whitney Biennial, as well as on ARTE and PBS. Almada is a 2008 Guggenheim fellow and has received support from Creative Capital, the Sundance Institute and the MacDowell Colony, among others. She shares her time between Mexico and Brooklyn.

Screenings

  • Sunday, Jan. 18, 12:00 noon, Temple Theatre, Park City
  • Sunday, Jan. 18, 10:30p.m., Holiday Village, Cinemas 1, Park City — Press and Industry
  • Monday, Jan. 19, 9:00 a.m., Egyptian Theatre, Park City
  • Tuesday, Jan. 20, 6:00 p.m., Screening Room, Sundance Resort
  • Wednesday, Jan. 21, 6:45 p.m., Broadway Centre Cinemas V, Salt Lake City
  • Thursday, Jan. 22, 6:00 p.m., Temple Theatre, Park City
  • Friday, Jan. 23, 12:15 p.m., Holiday Village Cinema IV, Park City

William Kunstler: Disturbing the Universe (Directors: Sarah Kunstler and Emily Kunstler)

With clients including Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X and the Chicago Seven, the late civil rights attorney William Kunstler was one of the most famous and controversial lawyers of the 20th century. He represented civil rights and anti-war activists, as well as accused terrorists and murderers. In William Kunstler: Disturbing the Universe, filmmakers Emily and Sarah Kunstler explore their father's life, from middle-class family man to movement lawyer to "the most hated lawyer in America." The film is a co-production of Disturbing the Universe LLC and ITVS, with funding provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB). (U.S.A., 2009, 90 mins.)

Sarah Kunstler is a graduate of Yale University and Columbia Law School. She is currently a criminal defense attorney practicing in the southern district of New York. Along with Emily, she is co-founder of Off Center Media and has produced and directed several short documentaries, including Tulia, Texas: Scenes from the Drug War (2003) and Getting Through to the President (2004). William Kunstler: Disturbing the Universe marks the sisters' feature-film debut.

Screenings

  • Friday, Jan. 16, 12:00 noon, Temple Theatre, Park City
  • Friday, Jan. 16, 8:00 p.m., Holiday Village I, Park City — Press and Industry
  • Saturday, Jan. 17, 2:30 p.m., Holiday Village Cinema III, Park City
  • Sunday, Jan. 18, 6:00 p.m., Screening Room, Sundance Resort
  • Monday, Jan. 19, 6:45 p.m., Broadway Centre Cinemas V, Salt Lake City
  • Wednesday, Jan. 21, 9:15 a.m., Holiday Village Cinema IV, Park City
  • Friday, Jan. 23, 8:30 p.m., Holiday Village Cinema III, Park City

The Independent Television Service (ITVS) funds and presents 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 Tuesday nights at 10 PM on PBS. ITVS is a miracle of public policy created by media activists, citizens and politicians seeking to foster plurality and diversity in public television. ITVS was established by a historic mandate of Congress to champion independently produced programs that take creative risks, spark public dialogue and serve underserved audiences. Since its inception in 1991, ITVS programs have revitalized the relationship between the public and public television, bringing TV audiences face-to-face with the lives and concerns of their fellow Americans. More information about ITVS can be obtained by visiting www.itvs.org. ITVS is funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, a private corporation funded by the American people.

About POV

Produced by American Documentary, Inc. and beginning its 22nd season on PBS in 2009, the award-winning POV series is the longest-running showcase on television to feature the work of America's best contemporary-issue independent filmmakers. Airing June through October, with primetime specials during the year, POV has brought more than 250 acclaimed documentaries to millions nationwide, and has a Webby Award-winning online series, POV's Borders. 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. More information is available at www.pbs.org/pov.

Major funding for POV is provided by PBS, The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, The Educational Foundation of America, New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, New York State Council on the Arts, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, The September 11th Fund and public television viewers. Funding for POV's Diverse Voices Project is provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts. POV is presented by a consortium of public television stations, including KCET Los Angeles, WGBH Boston and Thirteen/WNET New York.

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