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POV's "The English Surgeon" Wins Alfred I. duPont-Columbia Award

   

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New York, NY — Dec. 22, 2010 — Geoffrey Smith's acclaimed documentary The English Surgeon has won an Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Award for broadcast journalism, it was announced today by Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism. The film had its national broadcast premiere on the POV (Point of View) documentary series on PBS in 2009. This is POV's tenth duPont-Columbia Award. POV, produced by American Documentary Inc. and beginning its 24th season on PBS in 2011, is the longest-running showcase on American television to feature the work of today's best independent documentary filmmakers.

The duPont-Columbia Awards honor excellence in television and radio journalism produced for audiences in the United States by local stations, independent producers, networks and cable systems. Selected by the duPont Jury, the award-winning programs aired between July 1, 2009 and June 30, 2010. The honorees will be presented with duPont Batons at a ceremony on Jan. 20, 2011 at Columbia University in New York.

"There is great beauty in watching one heroic soul insist that he can improve upon a cruel and complex world." — Elizabeth Weitzman, New York Daily News

The English Surgeon is the story of acclaimed British neurosurgeon Dr. Henry Marsh, who has traveled to Ukraine for 15 years to treat patients who have been left to die; of his friend and medical colleague in Kyiv, Dr. Igor Kurilets, who carries on the fight despite official hostility and archaic surgical conditions; and of a young patient who hopes that Henry can save his life. Tense, heartbreaking and humorous, The English Surgeon is a remarkable depiction of one doctor's commitment to relieving suffering and of the emotional turmoil he undergoes in bringing hope to a desperate people. The film is a BBC/ITVS International production, produced in association with American Documentary | POV.

The duPont-Columbia jury called the film "an outstanding documentary portrait of a compassionate British Surgeon and his Ukrainian protégé ... superbly reported and visualized..."

The film has screened at more than 85 festivals around the world and won numerous awards, including a News & Documentary Emmy Award, Best International Feature Documentary at Hot Docs, SILVERDOCS, Guanajuato International Film Festival and the Shanghai TV Festival, and Audience Award at the Sheffield Film Festival, ZagrebDox and Docudays Kyiv. The English Surgeon was co-produced by Rachel Wexler and executive produced by Simon Kilmurry, Sally Jo Fifer, Nick Fraser and Greg Sanderson.

POV has garnered many other coveted industry awards and honors, including 24 Emmy Awards, 12 George Foster Peabody Awards, four Independent Spirit Awards, three Academy Awards®, the Prix Italia, the Webby and the International Documentary Association IDA Award for Best Continuing Series. POV airs Tuesdays at 10 p.m. on PBS from June-September, and features primetime specials during the year. (Check local listings.)

About Geoffrey Smith:
Born in Melbourne, Australia, Geoffrey Smith began traveling early, discovering a twin love for movies and storytelling along the way. In 1987 he found himself in Haiti, helping to make a documentary about the country's first election in 31 years. Following the discovery of a massacre of 21 voters in a schoolyard, Smith was himself shot and wounded. After struggling to recover in London, he decided to go back to Haiti to find the man who had nearly killed him -- and to film the whole thing. The resulting film, "Searching for a Killer," won wide acclaim and was aired on the BBC. Smith discovered that the camera can be a powerful, cathartic tool in helping people through difficult periods and went on to build his subsequent work around that concept. The winner of numerous awards, he has made more than 22 films and has worked for all the major U.K. broadcasters.

Smith's most recent film, Presumed Guilty (co-directed with Roberto Hern&aascute;ndez), deals tells a harrowing story of criminal justice in Mexico. The film premiered on POV in 2010 and has won awards at the Los Angeles, San Francisco, Sarajevo, DocumentaMadrid, Guadalajara, Copenhagen, Belfast, One World Media, East End and Verzio film festivals.

About Dr. Henry Marsh:
Since 1988, Dr. Henry Marsh has been the senior consultant neurosurgeon at Atkinson Morley's/St. George's hospital in London, one of the city's largest neurosurgical departments, where he specializes in the surgical treatment of brain tumors. He is also a clinical professor of neurosurgery at the University of Washington, Seattle, and Honorary Consultant Neurosurgeon to the Royal Marsden Hospital, London and the University of Wales, Cardiff.

In the U.K., Marsh pioneered the use of "awake" brain surgery and cortical mapping in such surgery; he has conducted the largest personal series of these operations in the U.K. and one of the largest in Europe. He has written more than 80 peer-reviewed articles on neurosurgical subjects. Marsh has written and lectured widely on the impact of the built environment on hospital staff and patient outcomes. He has also delivered lectures on the neuroscientific aspects of consciousness and criminal responsibility.

Visit POV's website, www.pbs.org/pov/englishsurgeon/, for interviews, updates, lesson plans, discussion guides, video and more. Visit The English Surgeon's website, www.theenglishsurgeon.com/, for information, news and ways to help Dr. Marsh's and Dr. Kurilets' efforts in Ukraine.

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About POV: Produced by American Documentary, Inc. and beginning its 24th season on PBS, the award-winning POV series is the longest-running showcase on American television to feature the work of today's best independent documentary filmmakers. Airing June through September, with primetime specials during the year, POV has brought more than 300 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 State Council on the Arts, New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, The Fledgling Fund, FACT and public television viewers. Funding for POV's Diverse Voices Project is provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts and the Rockefeller Brothers Fund. Special support provided by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. POV is presented by a consortium of public television stations, including KCET Los Angeles, WGBH Boston and THIRTEEN in association with WNET.ORG.

About ITVS: 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 PBS. ITVS was 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. More information about ITVS can be obtained at www.itvs.org. ITVS is funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, a private corporation funded by the American people.

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