February 8, 2021, New York, N.Y. – POV Engage, the impact and engagement arm of PBS series ‘POV,’ is launching two new initiatives this month to serve educators and community partners. POV Watch Club, presented by PBS LearningMedia, and Docs for Hope and Healing: a Virtual Film Series draw from POV’s catalog of documentary films and related resources to leverage the power of nonfiction storytelling to unite, restore and build towards a more equitable future. Both initiatives will feature free virtual events bringing people together in conversation around critical issues, media literacy and community resources in the wake of COVID-19 pandemic and racial injustice.
“In the midst of multiple pandemics, our mission to spark public discourse and action in public school classrooms, local community venues and in digital meeting spaces has never felt so necessary,” said Asad Muhammad, vice president of impact and engagement strategy at American Documentary. “Both POV Watch Club and Docs for Hope and Healing have been designed to serve as supports to young people, teachers and community folks as many in this country work to build people power and collective wisdom through virtual learning, creative storytelling and transformative conversations.”
POV Watch Club
Each month, PBS will provide a POV documentary that showcases intimate storytelling and contemporary social issues for educators to screen at home. Alongside the films, POV Engage will distribute free lesson plans, reading lists and discussion guides designed specifically for the classroom, and access to a message board where all who are participating can swap ideas and comments. At the end of each month, the PBS team will join the POV Engage Education Manager (and special guests) to dig into each documentary’s educational and social relevance. The conversations will center on anti-racist teaching approaches, ideas for critical media literacy integration, examples of how to bring POV’s free lesson plans and PBS LearningMedia into the classroom, and responses to audience questions. February’s Watch Club film will be Whose Streets?, a story told from those protesting on the streets in the wake of Michael Brown’s killing by the police in Ferguson, Missouri.
Docs for Hope and Healing: a Virtual Film Series
In response to the incredible difficulties posed by 2020, from the COVID-19 pandemic to the ongoing struggle against racism and police brutality, the Docs for Hope and Healing initiative aims to provide a space for communities across the country to gather together in a safer way and watch films that resonate with local concerns. Amplifying local resources and stories from within, the goal of these screening and discussion events is to connect residents to each other and to a common purpose that can expand conversation and action around wellness, hope, and healing in our communities. Partnering with community organizations, these events will focus specifically on mental health aid, wellness, and how stories can serve as crucial components to make sense of the past, live in the present and look ahead to the future. Each month POV Engage will be working with different community groups to host virtual events that focus on a single film available through the POV Community Network digital lending library. The series begins in February with Softie, a film about Kenyan political activists Boniface “Softie” Mwangi and Njeri Mwangi who are fighting against political corruption in their home country. This screening series is made possible with support from the Open Society Foundations.
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About POV Engage
For over 20 years, POV has pioneered models for civic engagement using independent documentary films by some of the most acclaimed storytellers of our time. The POV Engage team partners with community-based organizations, educators, librarians and other engaged community members to spark conversation about the issues presented in our films and digital productions. Free screenings, panel discussions and public events are designed to trigger action, from dialogue and feedback, to educational opportunities and community participation.
The POV Community Network makes more than 200 POV feature films, shorts and digital initiatives available for free to over 13,000 local and national partners. Join the Network to discover films by title or topic, plus accompanying materials such as discussion guides, promotional tools and other resources to help shape the conversation and inspire action.
POV collaborates with media educators to produce lesson plans for teachers interested in using our films as a teaching tool. We offer free resources for educators, including 200+ online film clips connected to 100+ standards-aligned lesson plans, discussion guides and reading lists.
About American Documentary
A national nonprofit media arts organization, American Documentary (AmDoc) strives to make essential documentaries accessible as a catalyst for public discourse. We collaborate with passionate filmmakers to amplify their voices, and to nurture the nonfiction community.
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 and the National Endowment for the Arts. Additional funding comes from Acton Family Giving, 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, 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.