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In its 25 years on public television, POV has featured dramatic and provocative accounts of contemporary life that provide unparalleled access to half-hidden worlds of timely interest.

Explore POV’s documentary archive by topic.
Arts & Culture

Arts & Culture

Over the past 25 years, POV has featured a number of films about famous and not-so-famous artists and musicians including Maya Lin, Henry Darger, Howard 'Louie Bluie' Armstrong, Sierra Leone’s Refugee All Stars and Arn Chorn-Pond along with classic films that documented cultural icons like Johnny Cash and seminal events like the 1973 Wattstax concert to name but a few. Explore our collection of art and culture films and interact through special features that showcase the work of these compelling artists.

Image from Patti Smith: Dream of Life (POV 2009)
Criminal Justice

Criminal Justice

It’s no wonder that America’s most-watched television dramas draw their material from the country’s chronic “war on crime.” Reduced to its most sensational elements, the criminal justice system is portrayed in melodramas featuring violence, heartbreak and retribution. But beyond the snarling punks and streetwise cops of fiction are far more prosaic — and yet far more suspenseful — stories of ordinary people struggling to free themselves of poverty, addiction and the legacies of broken families, from Love & Diane.

Image from Herman's House (POV 2013)
Environment & Nature

Environment & Nature

Population growth, pollution and scarcity are a few of the factors contributing to environmental crises such as global warming, food and water shortages and corporate scandals that affect our world today. POV filmmakers uncover the stories that have been missed or under-reported by the mainstream media, giving voice to ordinary citizens dealing with the consequences of environmental devastation, including the women of Maquilapolis: City of Factories and the workers of Libby, Montana.

Image from The City Dark (POV 2012)
Ethnicity & Gender

Ethnicity & Gender

POV creates, identifies and presents contemporary stories that express opinions and perspectives rarely featured in mainstream media. Our Diverse Voices Project further extends the impact of programs on minority themes and supports the work of emerging filmmakers. Our documentaries offer PBS viewers the opportunity discover the stories of people they might otherwise not come across in their daily lives. Diverse Voices has brought POV viewers such varied fare as American Aloha: Hula Beyond Hawaii, Flag Wars, 90 Miles, and The Flute Player.

Image from The World Before Her (POV 2013)
Family & Society

Family & Society

Reality television, technology and a culture that revels in onscreen soul-baring have promoted a wave of independent personal-essay and memoir films. Ahead of this trend were POV films that match intimacy with dignity, including Complaints of a Dutiful Daughter, Deborah Hoffman’s extraordinary, loving portrait of her relationship with her Alzheimer’s-afflicted mother, and Silverlake Life, a chronicle of a gay couple’s slow death by AIDS. POV continues to present stories that put a human face on our society’s pressing social issues.

Image from Ping Pong (POV 2013)
Health & Health Care

Health & Health Care

How are Americans coping when their health insurance benefits run out? What would you do if you found out you carried the "breast cancer gene?” How did one family help bring a young man out of a vegetative state brought about by a brain aneurysm? POV tackles health issues through the intimate personal stories revealed in such films as In the Family, Life. Support. Music., and Critical Condition, and in-depth websites that provide the latest information and resources.

Image from Sun Kissed (POV 2012)
Immigration

Immigration

The many faces of the immigrant experience are revealed on POV, from American Aloha: Hula Beyond Hawaii to Made in L.A., the Emmy Award-winning documentary about Hispanic women who work in modern-day sweatshops, to Rain in a Dry Land, about Somali Bantu families coming to the United States. Whether people migrate in order to find better employment opportunities like the teachers in The Learning or to flee from a war zone as in The Betrayal, POV places a human face on the issues which immigrants face.

Image from Special Flight (POV 2013)
International

International

Former Peruvian President Alberto Fujimori is interviewed in Japan on the brink of returning to South America to face trial in The Fall of Fujimori. A jurist roams the world to pursue justice in The Reckoning. Female bullfighters go against Spanish society to fulfill their dreams in Ella Es El Matador. A lone performance artist strikes out against “Europe’s Last Dictatorship” in Belarusian Waltz. POV goes around the globe to bring you stories of political leaders and everyday heroes making an impact on the world stage.

Image from Last Train Home (POV 2011)
LGBT

LGBT

After 20-plus years, POV continues to break the mold of mainstream media by showing the power of personal perspectives, bringing stories of unforgettable clarity and depth to millions of viewers. In the mix have always been the stories of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered people who have shared their lives, joys, tragedies and struggles with the American public.

Image from Brother Outsider: The Life of Bayard Rustin (POV 2002)
Politics & Government

Politics & Government

POV has featured many films about the inner workings of the U.S. government both inside and outside the Beltway. Stories about campaigns on the national and local stage highlight what is right — and wrong — with America's imperfect democracy in action. These films convey the excitement of candidates winning the offices they seek, and the humiliation they feel in defeat.

Image from Koch (POV 2014)
Rights & Liberties

Rights & Liberties

Does tribal sovereignty give the Lakota Nation the right to grow hemp on its own reservation? Can a school in West Texas force a 12-year-old boy to undergo mandatory drug testing? What rights does a small band of Latina garment workers have when they go against a retail giant? POV films, including Brother Outsider: The Life of Bayard Rustin, Larry v. Lockney and Made in L.A. shine a light on ordinary citizens who find themselves in David-and-Goliath struggles against seemingly insurmountable forces.

Image from High Tech, Low Life (POV 2013)
War & Peace

War & Peace

POV explores the legacy of war and the seeds of peace in such films as Armadillo (pictured), Soldiers of Conscience, the Academy Award-nominated My Country, My Country, Inheritance, Promises, and this season, The Reckoning, a timely and urgent film about the International Criminal Court prosecuting crimes against humanity and genocide in The Congo, Sudan, Uganda and Colombia.

Image from Granito: How to Nail a Dictator (POV 2012)
Youth

Youth

See the world through their eyes: inner-city L.A. kids performing Shakespeare plays with Ian McClellan and Michael York in The Hobart Shakespeareans; youngsters leaving the crime-ridden streets of Baltimore to attend a unique school in Kenya in The Boys of Baraka; and emotionally damaged children getting a second chance and gentle guidance in an unusual British school in Hold Me Tight, Let Me Go. Kids have stories to tell, and their voices are heard loud and clear on POV.

Image from Only the Young (POV 2013)