Press Release

September 30 2021

POV Wins 3 Awards including Best Documentary for 'Advocate,' at the 2021 News & Documentary Emmys


New York, N.Y. — September 30, 2021 —POV, American television’s longest-running independent documentary series, has won three awards, including Best Documentary for Advocate, at the 2021 News & Documentary Emmy® Awards, announced last night by the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. PBS led all networks with 10 award wins as FRONTLINE and Independent Lens added two Emmys each, as well.

The Rescue List, which received the Emmy for Outstanding Social Issue Documentary, broadcast on POV’s 32nd season and tells the story of a rehabilitation center in Ghana for children who are recovering from enslavement to fisherman. The Love Bugs, the recipient of the Outstanding Short Documentary Emmy, recounts the lives of Lois and Charlie O’Brien, two renowned entomologists who, over 60 years and through 67 countries, amassed the world’s largest private collection of insects.

“We are so proud to lead an impressive slate of PBS wins with three News and Documentary Emmys” said executive director of American Documentary | POV Erika Dilday. “Our POV team, our filmmakers and our PBS family continue to serve audiences by providing interesting, challenging and important content as part of our public mission.”

Advocate marks POV’s second year in a row of winning the Best Documentary Emmy (The Silence of Others won the award in 2020). Advocate was also shortlisted for Best Documentary Feature at the 92nd Academy Awards® and was an Official Selection at the Sundance Film Festival. The film follows Israeli defense attorney Lea Tsemel, a political firebrand in her home country, who is known by her opponents as “the devil’s advocate” for her decades-long defense of Palestinians who have been accused of resisting the occupation, both violently and non-violently. American Documentary | POV shares the award with Home Made Docs, Filmoption and Close Up Films.

“We’re honored to support the work of these immensely talented artists and are thrilled that they are being duly recognized,” said Chris White, POV’s executive producer. “Despite being different in topic, form, and approach, all of these films artfully illuminate the strength and complexity of the human spirit, impacting viewers on an emotional level. Stories of struggle, resilience, and resistance; community, connection, and joy. Each taps into our shared values and experiences and inspires us to engage... with each other and the world around us. Bravo!”

Now in its 34th season, POV films have won 45 Emmy® Awards, 26 George Foster Peabody Awards, 15 Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Awards, three Academy Awards®, the first-ever George Polk Documentary Film Award and the Prix Italia. The POV series has been honored with a Special News & Documentary Emmy Award for Excellence in Television Documentary Filmmaking, three IDA Awards for Best Curated Series and the National Association of Latino Independent Producers (NALIP) Award for Corporate Commitment to Diversity. Learn more at and follow @povdocs on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

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POV's News & Documentary Emmy Winners

Best Documentary

Advocate, directed and produced by Rachel Leah Jones and Philippe Bellaïche

Outstanding Social Issue Documentary

The Rescue List, directed and produced by Zachay Fink and Alyssa Fedele, produced by David Coombe

Outstanding Shorts Documentary

POV Shorts, The Love Bugs, directed by Alison Otto and Maria Clinton, produced by Caryn Capotosto, David J. Cornfield, and Linda A. Cornfield

Other AmDoc Film Nominees

Outstanding Shorts Documentary

Tutwiler, directed by Elaine McMillan Sheldon, produced by Alysia Santo. America ReFramed, in partnership with Frontline, PBS, The Marshall Project, WORLD Channel, and American Documentary.

Outstanding Arts and Culture Documentary

Our Time Machine, directed and produced by Yang Sun and S. Leo Chiang, produced by Violet Du Feng, Jin Peng, and Qingzeng Cai

Outstanding Politics and Government Documentary

Advocate, directed and produced by Rachel Leah Jones and Philippe Bellaïche

Softie, directed by Sam Soko and produced by Toni Kamau; a POV co-production

Outstanding Music Composition

POV Shorts, The Love Bugs, Mark Crawford, composer; directed by Alison Otto and Maria Clinton; produced by Caryn Capotosto, David J. Cornfield, and Linda A. Cornfield

About POV

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, 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, 14 Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Awards, three Academy Awards and the first-ever George Polk Documentary Film Award. Learn more at and follow @povdocs on social media.

About American Documentary

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 John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Wyncote Foundation, Reva & David Logan Foundation, Open Society Foundations, Perspective Fund and the National Endowment for the Arts. Additional funding comes from Nancy Blachman and David desJardins, Bertha Foundation, The Hollywood Foreign Press Association's Charitable Trust, Park Foundation, Sage Foundation, New York State Council on the Arts, public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, 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.