POV Announces the Acquisition of Acclaimed Cuban Baseball Documentary ‘The Last Out’
New York, N.Y. — April 07, 2022 — Today, on baseball opening day, award-winning PBS series POV announced the acquisition of the Cuban baseball feature The Last Out, directed by Oscar-nominated filmmaker Sami Khan (St. Louis Superman) and Michael Gassert and produced by Gassert, Khan, and Jonathan Miller. The Last Out premiered at the 2020 Tribeca Film Festival, where it won a Special Jury Mention. Both the English and Spanish versions of the film will premiere on PBS as part of POV's 35th season in October to coincide with Hispanic Heritage Month and the start of the baseball playoffs.
Set amidst the migrant trail and the dark side of professional sports, The Last Out tells the inspiring story of Happy Oliveros, Carlos O. González, and Victor Baró, three Cuban baseball players who risk exile to train in Central America as they chase their dreams of playing in the Major Leagues. Filmed over more than four years, The Last Out focuses on people caught between countries who want nothing more than to make a better life for their families. The film is a co-production between Brew Media, Oscura Film, and Trogon Productions and received backing from the Sundance Institute, Rooftop Films, and The Gotham. On top of its honor at Tribeca, the film won the Audience Award at Hot Springs Documentary Festival, Grand Jury Prize at the Florida Film Festival, and Best Documentary at the Buffalo Film Festival, among others.
“Baseball is not just America’s pastime,” said Chris White executive producer at POV. “These young men are rooted in the game, yet their quest to get signed reveals the tenuous and tortured relationship between big league ball and the players sacrificing everything to get there. Baseball fan or not, you’ll be moved by the spirit and humanity in their stories.”
“As huge believers in public broadcasting, we are absolutely thrilled to partner with Erika Dilday, Chris, and the incredible team at American Documentary to bring The Last Out to a diverse, bilingual U.S. audience,” said Gassert, Khan, and Miller. “We were raised on PBS and are excited knowing that Happy, Carlos, and Victor’s powerful immigrant journeys will be showcased bilingually using the accessible, democratic, and inclusive features of POV’s reach. For 35 years, POV has been a beacon to non-fiction filmmakers and participants, and we are so thankful for the indispensable role it plays in the documentary world.”
White and Kristal Choy negotiated the deal on behalf of POV, while UTA and Drew Patrick worked on behalf of the filmmakers.
About the Artists
Sami Khan is an Oscar-nominated filmmaker whose work has been supported by the Sundance and Tribeca Film Institutes, Impact Partners, Rooftop Films, IFP, the Berlinale, and NBC/Universal’s Directors Fellowship. His films have screened at leading festivals, including Tribeca, Toronto, Hot Docs, and Mumbai. Sami’s most recent film is the short documentary St. Louis Superman (with Smriti Mundhra). The film was acquired by MTV Documentary Films, nominated for a 2020 Academy Award, and won prizes at Tribeca, Hot Docs, Big Sky, Traverse City, AFI Docs, and Indy Shorts.
Michael Gassert is an immersive producer, sound artist, and director who commits deeply to telling authentic, human stories. His documentary and archival work is supported by IFP, The Sundance Institute, IDA, Rooftop Films, UNESCO, and The Kennedy Center. Michael has produced impactful recordings with Ornette Coleman, Jason Moran, The Master Musicians of Jajouka, Patti Smith, Flea, Perry Farrell, and Mango Ghost. Notable sound mixing credits include Beasts of the Southern Wild, Another Earth, Circumstance, Casualties of the Gridiron, and Dangerous Acts Starring the Unstable Elements of Belarus. Michael currently lives in The Dominican Republic where he’s pursuing his second documentary feature.
Jonathan Miller is a New York based cinematographer attracted to stories that change the culture. His films have screened at Cannes, Sundance, Toronto, and New Directors/New Films. Some of his achievements include Gimme The Loot which won the Grand Jury prize at SXSW, an Independent Spirit Award, was a Cannes Un Certain Regard selection and released theatrically by IFC Films; American Terrorist is a dark comedy about prejudice in the wake of 9/11, released by Lionsgate. Miller recently lensed Black Box (Bert Marcus Film), a mystery feature doc about an Eastern Airlines crash in La Paz, Bolivia in 1985. TV work includes Desus & Mero for Showtime and The New Yorker Presents for Amazon. As a producer, his work is supported by the Sundance Institute, Rooftop Films, and IFP.
Produced by American Documentary, POV is the longest-running independent documentary showcase on American television. Since 1988, POV has presented films on PBS that capture the full spectrum of the human experience, with a long commitment to centering women and people of color in front of, and behind, the camera. The series is known for introducing generations of viewers to groundbreaking works like Tongues Untied, American Promise and Minding The Gap and innovative filmmakers including Jonathan Demme, Laura Poitras and Nanfu Wang. In 2018, POV Shorts launched as one of the first PBS series dedicated to bold and timely short-form documentaries. All POV programs are broadcast nationally on PBS, POV.org and the PBS Video app.
POV goes “beyond the broadcast” to bring powerful nonfiction storytelling to viewers wherever they are. Free educational resources accompany every film and a community network of thousands of partners nationwide work with POV to spark dialogue around today’s most pressing issues. POV continues to explore the future of documentary through innovative productions with partners such as The New York Times and The National Film Board of Canada and on platforms including Snapchat and Instagram.
POV films and projects have won 45 Emmy Awards, 26 George Foster Peabody Awards, 15 Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Awards, three Academy Awards and the first-ever George Polk Documentary Film Award. Learn more at pbs.org/pov and follow @povdocs on social media.
About American Documentary, Inc.
American Documentary, Inc. (AmDoc) is a multimedia company dedicated to creating, identifying and presenting contemporary stories that express opinions and perspectives rarely featured in mainstream media outlets. AmDoc is a catalyst for public culture, developing collaborative strategic engagement activities around socially relevant content on television, online and in community settings. These activities are designed to trigger action, from dialogue and feedback to educational opportunities and community participation.
Major funding for POV is provided by PBS, the Open Society Foundations, The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Wyncote Foundation, Reva & David Logan Foundation, Park Foundation, and Perspective Fund. Additional funding comes from the National Endowment for the Arts, New York State Council on the Arts, public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, Sage Foundation, Nancy Blachman and David desJardins, Chris and Nancy Plaut, Abby Pucker, Ann Tenenbaum and Thomas H. Lee and public television viewers. POV is presented by a consortium of public television stations, including KQED San Francisco, WGBH Boston and THIRTEEN in association with WNET.ORG.