This May, FRONTLINE Presents Four New Documentaries Examining American Life and Politics
Month Will Culminate with a Documentary on Stephen Bannon From the Team Behind “The Choice 2016” and “Divided States of America”
Every Tuesday night in May, FRONTLINE (PBS) will bring viewers hard-hitting documentaries exploring pressing topics in American life and politics — including juvenile justice, housing, the militia movement, and the power struggles within President Donald Trump’s administration.
“From the fate of people who were imprisoned for murder as juveniles, to the affordable housing crisis, to the rise of anti-government militias and self-styled ‘Patriot’ groups, to a close look at controversial Trump advisor Stephen Bannon’s role in the White House, our May films deeply examine important stories unfolding in our country,” says Raney-Aronson Rath, FRONTLINE executive producer.
FRONTLINE’s May films will premiere Tuesdays at 10 p.m. EST/9 p.m. CST on PBS stations and online at pbs.org/frontline:
May 2: Second Chance Kids | What happens when prisoners convicted of first degree murder as teenagers are given the chance to re-enter society? From Ken Dornstein, the filmmaker behind the multiple Emmy Award-winning FRONTLINE series My Brother’s Bomber, and co-producers Jason Pugatch and Brian Funck, comes a look at the fight over the fate of some 2,000 individuals following a landmark 2012 Supreme Court ruling that found sentences of mandatory life without parole for juveniles unconstitutional.
Drawing on the experiences of prosecutors, defenders, the families of the murder victims, and several offenders themselves, Second Chance Kids examines the impact of the order to re-evaluate thousands of juvenile murder cases: “States have really struggled with how to understand these cases,” psychologist and juvenile justice expert Dr. Robert Kinscherff tells FRONTLINE. “This is new and it’s certainly unusual. But what I think the Supreme Court was trying to do was create a mechanism for those who really have matured and rehabilitated themselves.”
With unique access, Second Chance Kids follows the cases of two of the first men in the country to be released in the wake of the Supreme Court ruling — Anthony Rolon and Joe Donovan of Massachusetts. Both men had been given a life without parole sentence during the country’s crackdown on juvenile offenders in the “superpredator” era. As other juvenile offenders across the country await their potential re-sentencing, the film asks tough questions about crime and punishment in America, and what happens when some offenders are given a second chance.
May 9: Poverty, Politics and Profit | More working Americans are struggling to make rent than at any time since the Great Depression. FRONTLINE and NPR join forces to investigate the crisis in affordable housing and why so few are getting the help they need.
In a nine-month investigation that takes them from Dallas to Miami, to an upscale resort in Costa Rica, NPR’s Laura Sullivan and FRONTLINE’s Rick Young (who previously collaborated on an investigation of the Hurricane Sandy relief effort, Business of Disaster) find that just one in four households eligible for Section 8 assistance are getting it, and the nation’s signature low-income housing construction program is costing more and producing less.
The team follows a money trail that raises questions about the oversight of a program meant to house low-income people. Poverty, Politics and Profit also explores the inseparability of race and housing programs in America, tracing a legacy of segregation that began more than 80 years ago.From exploring why even those who receive Section 8 vouchers often struggle to find housing, to examining charges that developers have stolen money meant to house low-income people, Poverty, Politics and Profit is a timely and probing exploration of a system in crisis— and who’s being left behind.
May 16: American Patriot: Inside the Armed Uprising Against the Federal Government | FRONTLINE goes inside the battle between the Bundy ranching family in the West and the federal government, examining how a simmering fight over land in Nevada and Oregon became deadly, invigorated a wider armed militia movement, and continues to challenge law enforcement.
Drawing on deep access to key people on all sides of the battle, American Patriot: Inside the Armed Uprising Against the Federal Government investigates the standoffs that propelled the Bundy family into the national spotlight and the crosshairs of the federal government.After “Patriot” and militia groups that rallied to the Bundys’ cause surged to levels not seen in decades, the film explores what’s next for the family and the wider movement around them.
American Patriot: Inside the Armed Uprising Against the Federal Government is produced by Rick Rowley (Terror in Little Saigon), with reporting and digital features led by FRONTLINE reporter Sarah Childress.
May 23: Bannon’s War | From Michael Kirk and the team behind The Choice 2016 and Divided States of America comes the inside story of Trump advisor Stephen Bannon’s war — with radical Islam, Washington and White House rivals.
“Bannon has long made it clear that blowing up the political establishment is his goal,” Kirk says. “Our new film is an investigation of who Bannon is, what shaped his worldview, how he got here, and his influence and footing within the Trump administration.”
Drawing on nearly 30 in-depth interviews with political insiders, Bannon’s former associates at Breitbart, authors, and journalists, the film tells the inside story of Bannon’s fight to deliver on Trump’s promises, with a confrontational style based on his personal crusade to dramatically transform America.
From how Bannon helped to orchestrate the rollout of Trump’s controversial travel ban, to his role in the power struggles and policy clashes that have defined the early days of Trump’s presidency, to his uncertain future within the administration, Bannon’s War is a meticulous portrait from one of the most acclaimed investigative teams in broadcast journalism.
Following these four premieres, FRONTLINE will end the month with a May 30 rebroadcast of Being Mortal — a 2015 documentary on end-of-life care with surgeon Atul Gawande, bestselling author of the book by the same name. Visit pbs.org/frontline to watch trailers for each film in FRONTLINE’s packed May lineup.
FRONTLINE, U.S. television’s longest running investigative documentary series, explores the issues of our times through powerful storytelling. FRONTLINE has won every major journalism and broadcasting award, including 82 Emmy Awards and 20 Peabody Awards. Visit pbs.org/frontline and follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Tumblr and Google+ to learn more. Founded in 1983, FRONTLINE is produced by WGBH Boston and is broadcast nationwide on PBS. Funding for FRONTLINE is provided through the support of PBS viewers and by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Major funding for FRONTLINE is provided by The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. Additional funding is provided by Ford Foundation, the Park Foundation, the John and Helen Glessner Family Trust and the FRONTLINE Journalism Fund with major support from Jon and Jo Ann Hagler on behalf of the Jon L. Hagler Foundation.