Press Release

May 23 2023

‘POV’ Uncovers A Burial Site Containing Thousands of Once Enslaved Africans in the Astonishing Documentary A Story of Bones


New York, N.Y. – May 23, 2023 – POV, America’s longest running non-fiction series, chronicles 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, Saint Helena, in the captivating documentary, A Story of Bones, by first-time feature length film directors Joseph Curran and Dominic Aubrey de Vere, and produced by Yvonne Isimeme Ibazebo.

A Story of Bones makes its national broadcast premiere on POV Monday, July 3, 2023 at 10pmET/9C (check local listings) and will be available to stream without PBS Passport membership until October 3, 2023 at, and thePBS App. In addition to standard closed captioning for the film, POV, in partnership with audio description service DiCapta, provides real time audio interpretations for audiences with sensory disabilities.

The island of Saint Helena is best known for being where the deposed emperor Napoleon Bonaparte was exiled, died and originally buried. His beautifully maintained grave is one of the remote island’s biggest tourist’s attractions. To increase tourism, the island builds its first commercial airport, and hires Annina van Neel as its Construction Environmental Officer to assist with the project that was experiencing delays. During construction, van Neel learns about an unmarked mass burial ground of an estimated 9,000 formerly enslaved African men, women and children retrieved from slave ships during the Middle Passage, on the site. The discovery revealed one of the most significant physical traces of the transatlantic slave trade still on earth.

Haunted by this historical injustice, Annina sets out to hold the Government accountable. Feeling increasingly isolated on the island, Annina looked to the outside world for help. She found an ally in Peggy King Jorde, a renowned African American preservationist whose work – thirty years earlier –– was born of a similar struggle and produced New York’s African Burial Ground National Monument. Together they fight for the proper memorialization of these forgotten victims, exposing the UK’s disturbing colonial past and present.

Directors Joseph Curran and Dominic Aubrey de Vere follow the activists as they experience victories and setbacks while placing front and center the legacy of colonial rule on an island still governed by Britain. The narrative in A Story of Bones isn’t consigned to just Saint Helena. It emanates outward connecting the global consequences of the Transatlantic Slave Trade.

Joseph Curran and Dominic Aubrey de Vere, directors, A Story of Bones said:

“In October 2015, we boarded the Royal Mail Ship (RMS) in Cape Town and set sail for the six-day voyage to Saint Helena to document the historical opening of the island's new $360M airport. Like many people, we were aware of Saint Helena as the remote island of Napoleon’s exile and death but knew nothing of its disturbing history connected to the transatlantic slave trade. It was through Annina that we learned of the unearthing of the remains of the 325 once enslaved Africans in 2008, to make way for the airport haul road. The discovery of Saint Helena as a little known, but crucial part of the Middle Passage narrative, reframed the focus of the film for us.

“Over the next six years, we closely followed Aninna’s tireless activism efforts and subsequently, the collaboration with Peggy King Jorde to engage the community and catalyze a movement for change. The way that the two stories were so intertwined felt deeply symbolic, and a truly unique expression of how the UK continues to peddle selective, and often false narratives about Britain’s colonial past and its role in the global slave trade. It is these realities that continue to define the lives of so many people deep into the 21st century. We hope that, through Annina sharing her story, other voices are empowered to question and challenge the oppressive power structures that continue to marginalize certain histories. In the words of Peggy King Jorde: ‘It matters how we choose to remember.’”

A Story of Bones lays bare the history of enslavement and its connection to our world today,” said Erika Dilday, Executive Director, American Documentary and Executive Producer, POV and America ReFramed. “Amplifying independent filmmakers who take creative risks to tell stories about individuals who are doing important work around the issues that matter to them is what distinguishes American Documentary in the industry.”

A Story of Bones had its world premiere in competition at the 2022 Tribeca Film Festival. In 2022, the film received a special mention at the Movies That Matter Festival in the Hague, made the longlist for Best Feature Documentary and Best Debut Feature at the British Independent Film Awards and was shortlisted for Best Feature Documentary at the 38th IDA Documentary Awards. The documentary was also an official selection at the 2022 Sheffield DocFest, Human Rights Film Festival Berlin, Dokufest in Kosovo, and the 2023 Doc Edge Film Festival in New Zealand. A Story of Bones continues to play around the world, with upcoming premieres in 2023 at the Zanzibar Film Festival (June/July), Encounters SA International Doc Film Festival in Cape Town (June/July), and One World Slovakia (November).

A Story of Bones is produced by Archer’s Mark in association with PT Film, Turnover Films, BFI Doc Society (awarding funds from the National Lottery), and American Documentary | POV. Joseph Curran and Dominic Aubrey de Vere are the directors and cinematographers. Yvonne Isimeme Ibazebo is the producer, Peggy King Jorde is the consulting producer and Jo-Jo Ellison is the co-producer. Annina van Neel and Peggy King Jorde are the impact producers. The executive producers are Lisa Marie Russo for Doc Society, Mike Brett and Steve Jamison for Archer’s Mark and Erika Dilday and Chris White for American Documentary I POV.


Download photos here.


A Story of Bones

Directors/Cinematographers: Joseph Curran, Dominic Aubrey de Vere

Producer: Yvonne Isimeme Ibazebo

Co-Producer: Jo-Jo Ellison

Editor: James Scott

Original Music By: Bankey Ojo

Consulting Editor: Ricardo Acosta

Executive Producers: Lisa Marie Russo, Mike Brett, Steve Jamison, Erika Dilday and Chris White

Consulting Producers: Annina van Neel, Peggy King Jorde

Impact Producers: Annina van Neel, Peggy King Jorde

Languages: English

Country: UK

Year: 2022


About the Filmmakers

Joseph Curran & Dominic Aubrey de Vere, Directors/Cinematographers, A Story of Bones

Joseph Curran & Dominic Aubrey de Vere met while working at an independent cinema, where they quickly bonded over their mutual love of storytelling. After getting their hands on a camera, they set out to find stories that were underrepresented in the mainstream media - vital stories in urgent need of a spotlight. It is this mission statement that led the directing duo to Saint Helena - where the pair have now spent more than a year living on the island.

A Story of Bones is funded by BFI/Doc Society and Archers Mark, and premiered in competition at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2022. The film was longlisted at the 2022 British Independent Film Awards and was nominated for Best Feature Documentary at the 38th IDA Documentary Awards.

Yvonne Isimeme Ibazebo, Producer, A Story of Bones

Yvonne Isimeme Ibazebo has worked on a wide variety of film & tv projects with an array of talented directors and actors. From Artist / filmmaker John Maybury’s debut feature,Love is the Devil, starring Daniel Craig (Un Certain Regard nominee, Best British Feature Edinburgh International Film Festival) to Top Boy, a ten-part TV series for Netflix with award-winning directors Yann Demange, Reinaldo Marcus Green, Nia DaCosta and Aneil Karia. Through her company Turnover Films, Yvonne is developing a feature film set in Burkina Faso with DNA/Film4/MGM; a TV series with 101 Studios; and two debut features with Film4. Completed projects include Two Single Beds, a short film written and starring Daniel Kaluuya for Film 4; A Story of Bones, Best Documentary feature nominee at the 2022 Tribeca Film Festival; and Rye Lane, Raine Allen Miller’s critically acclaimed feature film which premiered at Sundance.

Peggy King Jorde, Consulting/Impact Producer, A Story of Bones

Principal of KING JORDE Culturals Consulting, Peggy is no stranger to activism—a native of Albany, Georgia, and daughter of Civil Rights legend C.B. King, Esq., Peggy’s childhood was steeped in the Albany Movement and the American apartheid, a profound catalyst for her work in cultural heritage protection. In 1991 Peggy gained the respect of her community and peers as a leading pivotal figure in the movement to save an African Burial Ground threatened by federal construction in New York City. As Director of Memorialization, she implemented national design competitions resulting in a memorial and interpretive center honoring enslaved and free African people in New York. A Harvard Loeb Fellow and a practitioner with global reach, Peggy works with descendant and marginalized communities, developers, design professionals, and other key stakeholders in reclaiming the cultural and historical integrity of African burial grounds and other sites of conscience in the United States, Saint Helena, UK, the Dutch Caribbean, St. Eustatius and beyond.


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, 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 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 and follow @povdocs on social media.

About PBS

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, via an array of mobile apps and in communities across America. More information about PBS is available at, 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 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.

About Dicapta
Dicapta Corporation is a communications technology company focused on making media accessible for people with visual and hearing disabilities. It has been offering high quality audio description, captioning, and language customization services since 2004. Dicapta has served the TV industry, media companies, educational institutions, and variety of organizations in making communications accessible to everyone. Dicapta has also been funded by the United States Department of Education and the United States Department of Health and Human Services to work in the creation of accessibility assets and the development of technology to improve access to media for people with sensory disabilities.

About All4Access
All4Access is a global repository that stores media accessibility assets such as captions, audio description, and American Sign language. It simplifies the way assets are shared and used while protecting the rights of media creators. All4Access is a technology created by Dicapta and the Universidad Carlos II de Madrid, funded in part by the U.S. Department of Education.