Press Release

January 11 2024

‘America ReFramed’ Acquires Four New Titles Slated to Premiere as Part of Its 12th Season

Overview

BOSTON, MA – January 11, 2024 – IDA Documentary Award-winning series America ReFramed, announced today the acquisition of four new films premiering as part of its 12th winter/spring season: Commuted,What These Walls Won't Hold, Hundreds of Thousands, and How We Live (Como Vivimos). These films support America ReFramed’s ongoing mission to showcase filmmakers whose work challenges the definition of culture in an ever-evolving America. Season 12 further advances how voices of underrepresented communities — especially incarcerated individuals and young people of color — fit into the larger cultural conversation and how they are transforming our democracy. America ReFramed, a co-production of WORLD and American Documentary, airs every Thursday at 8pmET/7C on WORLD.

The new season begins January 2024 with the previously announced documentary The Cost Of Inheritance: An America ReFramed Special, premiering Monday, January 15, 2024 at 8pm ET/7C on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day on WORLD followed by an encore presentation on Thursday, January 18, 2024 at 8pmET/7C. Directed by Emmy® nominee and Peabody Award winner, Yoruba Richen (The Rebellious Life of Mrs. Rosa Parks), and executive produced by Darryl Ford Williams and Christopher Hastings, the film explores the current-day pursuit of reparations for African Americans.

“In a crowded media landscape, America ReFramed offers a home for important stories that remain under the radar for many Americans. Season 12 brings to the forefront stories of hope, humanity and community in the face of many forms of oppression and disempowerment,” said Christopher Hastings, executive producer for WORLD at GBH in Boston. “A healthy democracy demands engagement, and WORLD and American Documentary hope to bring audiences a nuanced cross-section of unique American culture, structural injustices and paths forward toward change.”

"At American Documentary we believe good documentaries teach us tolisten and really hear the stories of others with open minds and open hearts," said Erika Dilday, Executive Director of American Documentary and Executive Producer of America ReFramed and POV. "They are a catalyst for filmmakers and protagonists to tell their own stories, and in the process help us consider our responsibilities to others. Public media is deeply invested in this artform and wants it to continue to succeed."

As we begin the presidential election year, mass incarceration and its crushing effect on the working class, low-income individuals, and communities of color, and whether immigration is good or bad for the country are among the key topics candidates must address. The new multi-platform initiative “Liberated Lives, a curated collection of films showcasing stories of individuals transitioning from incarceration to reintegration, begins April 1, 2024 with Commuted, a co-presentation with Black Public Media’s “AfroPoP,” by New Orleans director Nailah Jefferson is about Danielle Metz, an African American mother putting her life together after her triple-life sentence was commuted by the Obama administration. Other new season titles airing this spring as part of the collection include: Adamu Taye Chan's powerful documentary What These Walls Won't Hold, shines a light on the transformative power of love and solidarity amidst adversity at San Quentin State Prison and the short film, Hundreds of Thousands, directed by Christian Vasquez and Stevie Walker-Webb captures a family reeling from the unjust incarceration of an ailing mentally ill loved one. This digest will be featured across WORLD’s America ReFramed, Local, USA, and Black Public Media’s “AfroPoP."

Films premiering May 2024 include two titles that present new perspectives around immigration and Asian American diaspora. How We Live (Como Vivimos) directed by Aggie Ebrahimi Bazaz, shares a year with a close-knit community of Mexican-American farmworker families whose lives, routines, and schooling are disrupted every December when they are required to vacate their homes at the end of the growing season. The previously announcedIn Search of Bengali Harlem, directed by Aladdin Ullah and Vivek Bald, which follows Ullah from the streets of Harlem to the villages of Bangladesh to uncover his parents’ past and relate the specific history of Bengali Muslim immigrants who arrived in mid-20th century Harlem, airs as part of Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month (AAPI).

Throughout the season, America ReFramed will also host encore presentations of timely documentaries committed to social justice issues. January films in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day include: Fannie Lou Hamer’s America (1/4/24); The Death of My Two Fathers (1/11/24); The Cost of Inheritance (1/8/24 on PBS and 1/15 & 1/18/24 on WORLD); and Big Chief, Black Hawk (1/25/24). Check local listings as airtimes vary.

America ReFramed, a series co-produced by WORLD and American Documentary, airs every Thursday at 8pmET/7C on WORLD. America ReFramed is available on worldchannel.org, amdoc.org, WORLD’s YouTube Channel and on all station-branded PBS platforms, including PBS.org and the PBS Video app, available on iOS, Android, Roku streaming devices, Apple TV, Android TV, Amazon Fire TV, Samsung Smart TV, Chromecast and VIZIO. Episodes of America ReFramed also roll out weekly on-air and online on Link TV (Direct TV channel 375 & Dish Network channel 9410).

A tentpole program of public television’s WORLD, America ReFramed brings to life compelling stories, personal voices and experiences that illuminate the contours of our ever-changing country. Since 2012, the anthology series has premiered 179 films from more than 380 filmmakers, including works from established artists like Shola Lynch, Deann Borshay Liem and Marshall Curry and featured broadcast debuts of Nicholas Bruckman, Ursula Liang and PJ Raval. More than half of these documentaries were helmed by female filmmakers and a third are credited to BIPOC filmmakers. The series has centered the stories of the LGBTQ community, people with disabilities, the incarcerated and formerly incarcerated, veterans, seniors, immigrants and people from a myriad of backgrounds.

​​For full Season 12 line-up, visit americareframed.com

America ReFramed Season 12 New National Broadcast Premieres

The Cost of Inheritance: An America ReFramed Special

(Premieres on PBS January 8th and on WORLD Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, Monday, January 15, 2024 at 8PM/7C. Encore Presentation Thursday, January 18, 2024 at 8pm/7C)
Director: Yoruba Richen
Producers: Mehret Mandefro, Lacey Schwartz Delgado, Iris Samson Susannah Ludwig
Executive Producers: Darryl Ford Williams, Christopher Hastings
Year: 2023 I Country: USA I Runtime: 60 minutes

The Cost of Inheritance: An America ReFramed Special presents a nuanced view of the key issues, scope, and rationale of the reparations debate from a number of perspectives. The film documents communities seeking to make amends for economic inequalities stemming from historic racial injustice with the aim to launch conversations about specific actions that aspire to close the racial wealth gap in America. Participants in the film address the cumulative impact of racial discrimination and a lack of opportunities firmly rooted in the system of enslavement. The film follows the long journey of individuals and communities seeking to make reparations a reality on the individual, local, and national levels.Trailer

Commuted Presented in partnership with AfroPoP
(Premieres April 1, 2024 at 8PM ET)
Director: Nailah Jefferson
Producer: Darcy McKinnon
Year: 2023 I Country: USA I Runtime: 90min I Languages English

Commuted is an intimate look at the life of Danielle Metz and the familial impacts of long-term incarceration. In 1993, Danielle was a twenty-six year old mother with two small children, who was labeled a drug kingpin by the US Government as a part of her husband’s drug ring. She was sentenced to triple-life plus twenty years for nonviolent drug offenses and sent more than two thousand miles from her family in New Orleans to serve out the remainder of her life in California at the Dublin Federal Correctional Institute. After serving twenty-three years in prison, Danielle’s sentence was commuted in 2016 by the Obama Administration as a part of the Clemency Initiative to address historically unfair sentencing practices during the “war on drugs.” Now back home, Danielle is trying to start life over again in her fifties while working to help other women avoid her fate. But perhaps Danielle’s toughest challenge of all is living the dream that kept her going while in prison - that of being a united family again with her two children.

What These Walls Won’t Hold
(Premieres Spring, 2024)
Director: Adamu Taye Chan
Producer: Christian Lee Collins
Co-Producers: Lonnie Morris, Rahsaan Thomas, Thanh Tran, Edmond Richardson
Production: Year 2022 I Country USA I Running Time 43 min I Languages English

Set against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic at San Quentin State Prison, What These Walls Won’t Hold chronicles the organizing and relationships of people who came together beyond the separations created by incarceration, to respond to this crisis. Filmmaker Adamu Taye Chan, who was incarcerated at San Quentin during the height of the COVID-19 outbreak in 2020, documents his path through incarceration and beyond.

Hundreds of Thousands
(Premieres Spring 2024)
Co-Directors: Christian Vasquez and Stevie Walker-Webb
Consulting Producers: Caitlin Mae Burke, Merrill Sterritt
Production: Year 2022 I Country USA I Running Time 18 min I Languages English

In Hundreds of Thousands,a family reeling from the unjust incarceration of an ailing mentally ill loved one, calls on their faith and the strength of community to right a systemic wrong. Music, love and creativity are used to permeate the isolation of a solitary confinement cell, and a public performance on prison grounds is used to challenge the state to do better.

How We Live (Como Vivimos)
(Premieres Spring 2024)
Director/Producer: Aggie Ebrahimi Bazaz
Year 2023 I Country USA I Running Time 72 min I Languages English, Spanish

In California’s Central Valley, Mexican-American youth living in farmworker family housing are missing at least three months of school each year due to an annual forced displacement. Many of these youth are U.S. citizens. How We Live (Como Vivimos) spends a year following the rhythms, resilience, and aspirations of such students and their families.

California’s migrant family housing centers are one of few affordable housing options available to farmworking families. But these housing centers are only available for residence during the six to nine months of the growing season. Come winter, families are required to completely vacate their units and move at least 50 miles away for at least three months. Unable to afford market rates, many families pull their children from school and move out of state or to Mexico for the off-season, returning to live in the housing centers in the spring. Despite decades of contributions to California’s culture and economy, these annual cycles of moving deprive students of a complete education and the economic mobility promised by it.

In Search of Bengali Harlem
(Premieres Spring 2024)
Directors: Vivek Bald, Alaudin Ullah
Producer: Susannah Ludwig
Year: 2022 I Country: USA I Runtime: 82 minutes

As a teenager growing up in Harlem's Washington Carver Projects in the 1980s, Alaudin Ullah was swept up in the revolutionary energy of early hip-hop. He rejected his working-class Bangladeshi parents and turned his back on everything South Asian and Muslim. Now, as an actor and playwright contending with the Islamophobia of post-9/11 Hollywood, Alaudin wants to tell his parents’ stories. But he has no idea who they really were, no idea of the lives they led or the struggles they faced as Muslim immigrants of an earlier era. In Search of Bengali Harlem follows Alaudin from the streets of New York City to the villages of Bangladesh to uncover the pasts of his father, Habib, and mother, Mohima. Alaudin discovers that Habib was part of an extraordinary history of mid-20th century Harlem, in which Bengali Muslim men, dodging racist Asian Exclusion laws, married into New York’s African American and Puerto Rican communities – and in which the likes of Malcolm X and Miles Davis shared space and broke bread with immigrants from the subcontinent. Then, after crossing the globe to explore his parents’ roots, Alaudin unearths unsettling truths about his mother: about the hardships and trauma that she overcame to become one of the first women to migrate to the U.S. from rural Bangladesh. In Search of Bengali Harlem is a transformative journey, not just for Alaudin Ullah, but for our understanding of the complex histories of South Asian and Muslim Americans.In Search of Bengali Harlem trailer.

About

About America ReFramed
America ReFramed is a co-production of WORLD and American Documentary, Inc. The series curates a diverse selection of independent documentaries that brings to national audiences compelling stories which illuminate the changing contours of our ever-evolving country. Viewers will be immersed in stories that span the spectrum of American life, from the streets of towns big and small to its exurbs and country roads. The documentary series presents an array of personal voices and experiences through which we learn from our past, understand our present and are challenged to seek new frameworks for America’s future.

America ReFramed received a Peabody Award for Deej and an Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Award for Class of ‘27. The series has earned several Christopher, GRACIE, Telly and Cine Golden Eagle Awards, as well as multiple nominations for Emmy, Independent Documentary Association and Imagen Awards.

About American Documentary, Inc.

American Documentary, Inc. (AmDoc) is a multimedia organization 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, Chris and Nancy Plaut, Ann Tenenbaum and Thomas H. Lee and public television viewers. POV is presented by a consortium of public television stations, including KQED San Francisco, GBH and THIRTEEN in association with WNET.ORG.

About WORLD

WORLD shares the best of public media in news, documentaries and programming. WORLD’s original series examine the issues and amplify the voices of those often ignored by mainstream media. The multiplatform channel helps audiences understand conflicts, movements and cultures from around the globe. Its original work has won a Peabody Award, an Alfred I. duPont-Columbia Award, an International Documentary Association Award, a National News and Documentary Emmy Award, two Webby Awards and many others honoring diversity of content and makers. WORLD is carried by 194 member stations in markets representing 77% of US TV households. Funding for WORLD is provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Wyncote Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts. WORLD is produced by GBH in partnership with WNET and is distributed by American Public Television (APT). Find out more at WORLDChannel.org.