New York, N.Y. — May 4, 2022 at 1:00 pm ET / 10:00 am PT — Multi award-winning series, POV, hailed as America’s longest-running non-fiction series on television, enters its 36th season with a slate of 16 feature documentaries with themes devoted to caregiving, transnationalism, activism, childhood aspirations, accessibility, and intergenerational relationships. The series’ commitment to provide a public platform to showcase bold forms of nonfiction storytelling by filmmakers with diverse voices and perspectives brings audiences unforgettable protagonists with unique points of views. Half of Season 36’s films are directed by women, and over two-thirds by filmmakers of color.
Celebrated films previously announced this season include POV alumni director Simon Lereng Wilmont and producer Monica Hellström’s timely Oscar®-nominated documentary, A House Made of Splinters. As the war in Eastern Ukraine takes a heavy toll on families living near the frontline, a small group of strong-willed social workers work tirelessly in a special kind of orphanage to create an almost magical safe space for kids to live in. In Vietnamese first-time director Hà Lệ Diễm’s riveting Oscar® Shortlisted feature, Children of the Mist, she details the challenges facing a Hmong girl living in rural Northern Vietnam caught between tradition and modernity.
Erika Dilday, Executive Director, American Documentary and Executive Producer, POV and America ReFramed said:
"I'm so excited about Season 36's line-up. We are bringing our viewers closer to different countries, different people and different ideas. POV puts a lot of care and effort not only into how we choose stories, but who gets to tell them. We strive for authenticity and relatability.
"One of the best things about this season is we are not shying away from bold stories. I believe good documentary filmmaking should be about subjects and topics that often make us feel a little uncomfortable and challenge how we see our world.”
"A diversity of voices and perspectives remains central to PBS’s mission, and we're excited to bring many new independent films from POV to our audiences,” said Sylvia Bugg, Chief Programming Executive and General Manager, General Audience Programming, PBS. “This new season documents moving stories from across the globe, continuing our legacy of providing programming that is educational, informational, and inspiring.”
As sweeping issues in cultures collide, five films explore transnationalism and the effect land has on identity. The season opens June 26 with the previously announced After Sherman, Jon-Sesrie Goff’s poetic feature debut about his quest to unearth his Black inheritance amidst a violent past in the South Carolina Low Country. In A Story of Bones, directors Joseph Curran and Dominic Aubrey de Vere chronicle Annina van Neel's and Peggy King Jorde’s efforts to reclaim a burial site containing thousands of formerly enslaved Africans on the famed British territory, St. Helena. Set between the rodeo rings of eastern North Carolina and the longed-for Mexican hometown of an undocumented family living in the U.S. for 20 years, Bulls and Saints by director Rodrigo Dorfman and producer Peter Eversoll, is a story of reverse migration, belonging, rebellion, and redemption. Leslie Tai’s first feature-length documentary, How to Have an American Baby, is an intimate, behind-the-scenes look at the shadow economy of Chinese birth tourism in the U.S. Juliana Curi’s and Uýra Sodoma's visually stunning, Uýra: The Rising Forest, is about an Amazonian indigenous trans performance artist who uses their craft to inspire indigenous and riverside youths to connect to themselves, their ancestors, and their environment in Brazil.
The series stays true to its “point of view” roots with three deeply personal stories about caregiving, family, and people with disabilities. Eat Your Catfish, filmed from the perspective of Kathryn, a woman with ALS, is an unvarnished account of a family’s bond and of a woman’s will to live. With both empathy and gallows humor, directors Adam Isenberg, Senem Tüzen and Noah Amir Arjomand—who is Kathryn's son—probe the breakdown of a family pushed to its tipping point. In director Rea Tajiri’s vibrant tender cine-poem, Wisdom Gone Wild, the filmmaker collaborates with her Nisei mother as they confront the painful curious reality of wisdom “‘gone wild” in the shadows of dementia. In unseen, director Set Hernandez follows their friend, Pedro, an aspiring social worker facing the uncertainty of life as a blind, undocumented immigrant.
Continuing with stories focused on family the season offers four films about intergenerational relationships and childhood aspirations. Previously announced,Murders That Matter, directed and produced by POV alumnus and Peabody Award-winner Marco Williams (Two Towns of Jasper), documents Movita Johnson-Harrell, an African American, Muslim mother, over five years, as she transitions from being a victim of trauma and violence into a fierce advocate against gun violence in Philadelphia’s Black communities. Director Inna Sahakyan tells the forgotten story of a teenage girl who survives the Armenian genocide, escapes to America, becomes the face of a massive humanitarian campaign and makes a meteoric rise as a silent movie star in1920’s Hollywood in the animated documentary Aurora’s Sunrise. The feature debut of So Yun Um’s Liquor Store Dreams, is an intimate, autobiographical documentary about two Korean American children of liquor store owners who must reconcile their own dreams with those of their immigrant parents. Director/producer and MIT alum, Arthur Musah, traces the journey of four inspiring African MIT undergrads who strive to be agents of change back in their home countries of Nigeria, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Zimbabwe in the uplifting Brief Tender Light.
The season also examines the intersectionalities of activism, inclusion and belonging with two films that invite viewers to be more engaged in their communities and the greater world. Directors Andres “Jay” Molina and Alexis Neophytides’ raw, heartfelt film, Fire Through Dry Grass, exposes–in real time– institutional neglect at a New York City nursing home during the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic while following Jay and his friends, a group of disabled Black and brown artists, who refuse to be ignored. An urgent depiction of truth in crisis, While We Watched, directed by Vinay Shukla, follows primetime Indian journalist Ravish Kumar – a man troubled by the future of news and the soul of his nation.
"From the Amazon Forest to Ukraine and Vietnam, Inner City Los Angeles to the shorelines of South Carolina, this season's POV artists reveal the contours of our humanity, from various vantage points and lived experiences,” said Chris White, Executive Producer, American Documentary and POV. “I am confident each film will serve as an artful revelation to our viewers by introducing them to new perspectives they may have never imagined. We are grateful to be able to share the work of these gifted storytellers to a wide audience."
POV episodes premiere Monday nights and will be available for streaming concurrent with broadcast on all station-branded PBS platforms, including PBS.org and the PBS App, available on iOS, Android, Roku streaming devices, Apple TV, Android TV, Amazon Fire TV, Samsung Smart TV, Chromecast and VIZIO. For more information about PBS Passport, visit the PBS Passport FAQ website.
In addition to standard closed captioning, POV partners with DiCapta for audio description services to provide real time audio or text interpretations for audiences with sensory disabilities. Films are accompanied by free educational resources, with many available for local screenings through POV’s Community Network digital lending library.
POV is one of the most highly-acclaimed documentary series on television. Recently, POV took home the IDA Documentary Award for “Best Curated Series” for its landmark 35th anniversary season (2022). In 2021, the series received seven News & Documentary Emmy nominations, and won Best Documentary for Advocate (POV Season 33). This marked the second year in a row that a POV film took home that honor; POV earned the 2020 Best Documentary award for The Silence of Others (POV Season 32). POV won two Alfred I. duPont–Columbia University Awards for Through the Night (POV Season 33) and Softie (POV Season 33). In addition to its Academy Award® nomination for Best Documentary Feature, The Mole Agent (POV Season 33) was also shortlisted for Best International Feature. Recently,Let the Little Light Shine (POV Season 35) received a Peabody nomination and last year, Mayor (POV Season 34) was awarded a Peabody.
POV Season 36 Lineup
Director/Producer: Jon-Sesrie Goff
Producers: blair dorosh-walther, Madeleine Hunt-Ehrlich
Premieres: June 26, 2023
Returning to the coastal South Carolina land that his family purchased after emancipation, filmmaker Jon-Sesrie Goff's desire to explore his Gullah/Geechee roots transforms into a poetic investigation of Black inheritance, trauma, and generational wisdom, amidst the violent tensions that define America's collective history.
Featured cast: Rev. Dr. Norvel Goff, Sr.
Country: USA I Year: 2022
Produced in association with ITVS, Black Public Media, Hedera Pictures LLC
Winner, Best Documentary Feature Award, at the 2022 Santa Barbara International Film Festival and 2022 Atlanta Film Festival. Received the 2022 Gordon Parks Award for Black Excellence at the Tallgrass Film Festival.
Directors: Joseph Curran, Dominic Aubrey de Vere
Producer: Yvonne Isimeme Ibazebo
Premieres: July 3, 2023
As Chief Environmental Officer for St. Helena’s troubled airport project, Annina van Neel learns about an unmarked mass burial ground of an estimated 9,000 formerly enslaved Africans. Haunted by this historical injustice, she and African American preservationist Peggy King Jorde fight for the proper memorialization of these forgotten victims, exposing the UK’s disturbing colonial past and present.
Country: UK I Year: 2022
Nominee, Best Documentary Feature, 2022 Tribeca Film Festival.
Director: So Yun Um
Producers: So Yun Um, Eddie Kim
Premieres: July 10, 2023
In Liquor Store Dreams, two Korean American children of liquor store owners reconcile their own dreams with those of their immigrant parents. Along the way, they confront the complex legacies of LA's racial landscape, including the 1991 murder of Latasha Harlins and the 1992 uprisings sparked by the police beating of Rodney King, while engaged in current struggles for racial and economic justice.
Featured cast: Mark Burton, Danny Park, May Park.
Country: USA I Year: 2022
Co-presented with The Center for Asian American Media (CAAM)
Winner, Local Jury Award, 2023 Palm Springs, International Film Festival
Director: Simon Lereng Wilmont
Producer: Monica Hellström
Premieres: July 17, 2023
In the shadow of poverty, addiction, and war in Eastern Ukraine, a safe haven provides refuge for children who have been temporarily separated from their parents. A House Made of Splinters chronicles three displaced kids who, despite the perils surrounding them, find moments of joy and friendship, with the aid of dedicated social workers who work tirelessly to protect them from harm. Countries: Denmark, Finland, Sweden, Ukraine I Year: 2022
Nominee, 95th Academy Awards®. Sundance World Cinema Documentary, 2022.
Directors/Producers: Adam Isenberg, Noah Amir Arjomand, Senem Tüzen
Premieres: July 24, 2023
Paralyzed by late-stage ALS and reliant on round-the-clock care, Kathryn clings to a mordant wit as she yearns to witness her daughter's wedding. Drawn from 930 hours of footage shot from her fixed point of view, Eat Your Catfish delivers a brutally frank and darkly humorous portrait of a family teetering on the brink, grappling with the daily demands of disability and in-home caregiving.
Countries: USA, Turkey, Spain I Year: 2021
Winner, Best Documentary at the Istanbul Film Festival
Winner, Best International Documentary at the International Antenna Documentary Film Festival
Director: Hà Lệ Diễm
Producer: Swann Dubus, Trần Phương Thảo
Premieres: July 31, 2023
Children of the Mist, traces the story of Di, a 13-year-old girl coming of age in an indigenous Hmong community in the mountains of Northwest Vietnam. As part of the first generation in her village with access to education, Di navigates the cultural and social challenges faced by young girls in her community while balancing inherited tradition with change.
Country: Vietnam I Year: 2021
Shortlisted, 95th Academy Awards®.
Director/Producer: Vinay Shukla
Producers: Khushboo Ranka, Luke W. Moody
Premieres: September 4, 2023
A timely depiction of a newsroom in crisis, While We Watched follows tormented Ravish Kumar for two years as he battles a barrage of “fake news,” falling ratings and the resulting cutbacks. Are there viewers for fact-based analyses anymore? Will his show survive or become a swan song of reason - drowning out in sensationalism, misinformation, and ratings-driven editorial decisions?
Featured cast: Ravish Kumar, Sushil Bahuguna, Deepak Chaubey.
Country: UK I Year: 2022
Co-presented with The Center for Asian American Media (CAAM)
Winner, Amplify Voices Award, 2022 Toronto International Film Festival
Director: Rodrigo Dorfman
Producer: Peter Eversoll
Premieres: September 18, 2023
After 20 years of living in the United States, an undocumented family decides to return home. Little do they know it will be the most difficult journey of their lives and reawaken an intense desire for a place to belong. Set between the rodeo arenas of North Carolina and the spellbinding Mexican town they yearn for, Bulls and Saints is a love story about reverse migration, rebellion, and redemption.
Country: USA I Year: 2023
Co-produced by Nuevo South, LLC and Firelight Media in association with American Documentary ⎸ POV and Latino Public Broadcasting, with funding provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.
Director/Producer: Juliana Curi
Producers: João Henrique Kurtz, Lívia Cheibub, Martina Sönksen
Co-Producer: Uýra Sodoma
Premieres: September 25, 2023
While traveling through the Amazon, Uýra shares ancestral knowledge with Indigenous youth to promote the significance of identity and place, threatened by Brazil's oppressive political regime. Through dance, poetry, and stunning characterization, Uýra boldly confronts historical racism, transphobia, and environmental destruction, while emphasizing the interdependence of humans and the environment.
Featured cast: Zahy Guajajara, Uýra Sodoma.
Countries: Brazil & USA I Year: 2022
Co-presented with Latino Public Broadcasting (LPB) and Peril and Promise, a public media initiative from The WNET Group
Winner, Audience Award, Best Documentary, 2022 Frameline San Francisco International LGBTQ Film Festival
Director/Producer: Marco Williams
Premieres: October 2, 2023
How would you handle the trauma of losing a loved one? Set in Philadelphia, Murders That Matter documents African American, Muslim mother Movita Johnson-Harrell over five years as she transforms from a victim of violent trauma into a fierce advocate against gun violence in Black communities. Her relentless activism exposes the emotional and psychological toll the killings take on those left behind.
Featured cast: Movita Johnson-Harrell.
Country: USA I Year: 2023
Produced in association with ITVS
Director/Producer: Inna Sahakyan
Producers: Vardan Hovhannisyan, Christian Beetz, Juste Michailinaite, Kestutis Drazdauskas, Eric Esrailian
Premieres: October 23, 2023
At 14, Aurora Madriganian survived the horrors of the Armenian Genocide and escaped to New York, where her story became a media sensation. Her newfound fame led to her starring as herself in Auction of Souls, one of Hollywood's earliest blockbusters. Blending storybook animation, video testimony, and rediscovered footage from her lost silent epic, Aurora's Sunrise revives her forgotten story.
Featured Cast: Anzhelika Hakobyan, Arpi Petrossian, Shushan Abrahamyan.
Countries: Armenia, Germany, Lithuania I Year: 2022
Directors: Andres “Jay” Molina, Alexis Neophytides
Producers: Alexis Neophytides, Jennilie Brewster
Co-Producers: Peter Yearwood, Sarah Feuquay
Premieres: October 30, 2023
Wearing snapback caps and Air Jordans, the Reality Poets don’t look like typical nursing home residents. InFire Through Dry Grass, these young, Black and brown disabled artists document their lives on lockdown during Covid, using their poetry and art to underscore the danger and imprisonment they feel. In the face of institutional neglect, they refuse to be abused, confined, and erased.
Country: USA I Year: 2023
Director/Producer: Rea Tajiri
Producer: Sian Evans
Premieres: November 20, 2023
A vibrant tender cine-poem, a filmmaker collaborates with her Nisei mother as they confront the painful curious reality of wisdom ‘gone wild’ in the shadows of dementia. Made over 16 years, the film blends humor and sadness in an encounter between mother and daughter that blooms into an affectionate portrait of love, care, and a relationship transformed.
Country: USA I Year: 2022
Produced in association with The Center for Asian American Media (CAAM)
Nominee, IDFA Award for Best Feature-Length Documentary, 2022 Amsterdam International Documentary Film Festival
Director/Producer: Leslie Tai
Producers: Jillian Schultz
World Premiere: December 11, 2023
How to Have an American Baby is a kaleidoscopic voyage into the shadow economy catering to Chinese tourists who travel to the US to give birth for citizenship. Told through a series of intimately observed vignettes, the story of a hidden global economy emerges–depicting the fortunes and tragedies that befall the ordinary people caught in its web.
Country: USA I Year: 2023
Co-Presented with Chasing the Dream, a public media initiative from The WNET Group
Director/Producer: Arthur Musah
Co-Producer: Brook Sitgraves Turner
Premieres: January 15, 2024
A Ghanaian MIT alum follows four African students at his alma mater as they strive to become agents of change for their home countries Nigeria, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Zimbabwe. Over an intimate, nearly decade-long journey, all must decide how much of America to absorb, how much of Africa to hold on to, and how to reconcile teenage ideals with the truths they discover about the world and themselves.
Country: United States I Year: 2023
Co-presented with Black Public Media and Chasing the Dream, a public media initiative from The WNET Group
Director: Set Hernandez
Producers: Day Al-Mohamed, Felix Endara, Diane Quon
Co-Producer: Dorian Gomez Pestaña
Premieres: March 18, 2024
As a blind, undocumented immigrant, Pedro faces obstacles to obtain his college degree, become a social worker, and support his family. Uncertainty looms over him even after he graduates. Through experimental cinematography and sound, unseen reimagines the accessibility of cinema, while exploring the intersections of immigration, disability, and mental health.
Country: USA I Year: 2023
Co-presented with Latino Public Broadcasting (LPB)
World Premiere, 2023 Hot Docs Festival
POV Season 36 images here.
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, Minding The Gap and Not Going Quietly, 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 available for streaming concurrent with broadcast on all station-branded PBS platforms, including PBS.org and the PBS App, available on iOS, Android, Roku streaming devices, Apple TV, Android TV, Amazon Fire TV, Samsung Smart TV, Chromecast and VIZIO. For more information about PBS Passport, visit the PBS Passport FAQ website.
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 46 Emmy Awards, 27 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.
PBS, with more than 330 member stations, offers all Americans the opportunity to explore new ideas and new worlds through television and digital content. Each month, PBS reaches over 120 million people through television and 26 million people online, inviting them to experience the worlds of science, history, nature and public affairs; to hear diverse viewpoints; and to take front row seats to world-class drama and performances. PBS’s broad array of programs has been consistently honored by the industry’s most coveted award competitions. Teachers of children from pre-K through 12th grade turn to PBS for digital content and services that help bring classroom lessons to life. Decades of research confirm that PBS’s premier children’s media service, PBS KIDS, helps children build critical literacy, math and social-emotional skills, enabling them to find success in school and life. Delivered through member stations, PBS KIDS offers high-quality educational content on TV – including a 24/7 channel, online at pbskids.org, via an array of mobile apps and in communities across America. More information about PBS is available at www.pbs.org, one of the leading dot-org websites on the internet, or by following PBS on Twitter, Facebook or through our apps for mobile and connected devices. Specific program information and updates for press are available at pbs.org/pressroom or by following PBS Communications on Twitter.
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, the Chasing the Dream and Peril and Promise public media initiatives of The WNET Group, 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, WGBH Boston and THIRTEEN in association with WNET.ORG.
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