EXCLUSIVE: Women are front and center in PBS’ slate for its 32nd season of POV. A total of 16 feature films in this year’s lineup were created by women directors, while four of the five short films are helmed by females. To further diversify its season, POV has a global reach with 10 of the feature films coming from abroad.
The new season kicks off June 17 with Nancy Schwartzman’s Roll Red Roll on all PBS stations and across its platforms and pov.org and amdoc.org. October will welcome broadcast premieres with pop-out episodes in early 2020. The second season of POV Shorts will begin July 22 with Changing Same, which will premiere after the feature On Her Shoulders. In addition to Changing Same, the rest of this year’s POV Shorts confirmed slate feature filmmakers of color: Water Warriors, Stay Close, Edgecombe and Crisanto Street.
The surge of women filmmakers and inclusion follows last season which included 47% directors and producers were women and one third were people of color. This year’s stories highlight women’s perspectives and have a prominent theme of female empowerment. This includes PJ Raval’s Call Her Ganda, which follows three Filipina activists as they galvanize a political uprising, pursuing justice for a slain transgender woman brutally murdered by a U.S. Marine. The Oscar-shortlisted and aforementioned On Her Shoulders follows Nobel-prize winner Nadia Murad, a young Yazidi survivor of genocide and sexual slavery at the hands of ISIS, as she tells her story to the world. On Her Shoulders is joined by fellow Oscar-shortlist films The Distant Barking of Dogs and The Silence of Others.
This year will also include The Gospel of Eureka, a campy look at a small Arkansas town’s passion play and drag shows as well as Farmsteaders, which follows a young family as they return to their late grandfather’s small dairy farm, only to find the challenges of family farming in an age of industrialized agriculture more overwhelming than imagined. The season will also include the immigration documentary Bisbee ’17 and The Feeling of Being Watched, which uncovers a covert domestic surveillance program outside Chicago.
Read POV’s complete schedule for its 32nd season below. The 16th film will be announced later this spring. (All programs air at 10 PM unless noted.)
Roll Red Roll
June 17, 2019
Directed by Nancy Schwartzman
At a pre-season party in small-town Steubenville, Ohio, a now-infamous sexual assault of a teenage girl by members of the beloved high school football team took place. Roll Red Roll is a true-crime thriller that goes behind the headlines to uncover the deep seated and social media-fueled “boys-will be-boys” culture at the root of high school sexual assault in America. Official Selection, 2018 Tribeca Film Festival.
The Gospel of Eureka
June 24, 2019
Directed by Michael Palmieri, Donal Mosher
The spotlight is beaming on drag shows and a passion play in a small Arkansas town. The Gospel of Eurekatakes a personal and often comical look at negotiating differences between religion and belief through performance, political action and partnership. With verve, humor and unfailing compassion, Michael Palmieri and Donal Mosher build unexpected bridges between religious faith and sexual orientation. Official Selection, 2018 SXSW Film Festival.
Call Her Ganda
July 1, 2019
Directed by PJ Raval
When Jennifer Laude, a Filipina trans woman, is brutally murdered by a U.S. Marine, three women intimately invested in the case—an activist attorney (Virgie Suarez), a transgender journalist (Meredith Talusan) and Jennifer’s mother (Julita “Nanay” Laude)—galvanize a political uprising, pursuing justice and taking on hardened histories of U.S. imperialism. Official Selection, 2018 Tribeca Film Festival. A co-presentation with the Center for Asian American Media (CAAM).
July 15, 2019
Directed by Robert Greene
Radically combining documentary and scripted elements, Bisbee ’17follows several members of the close-knit community in Bisbee, Arizona, a former mining town, as they commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Bisbee Deportation, when 1,200 immigrant miners were violently taken from their homes by a deputized force, shipped to the desert on cattle cars and left to die. Official Selection, 2018 Sundance Film Festival.
On Her Shoulders
July 22, 2019 at 9 p.m.
Directed by Alexandria Bombach
Nadia Murad, a 23-year-old Yazidi, survived genocide and sexual slavery committed by ISIS. Repeating her story to the world, this ordinary girl finds herself thrust onto the international stage as the voice of her people. Away from the podium, she must navigate bureaucracy, fame and people’s good intentions. Official Selection, 2018 Sundance Film Festival, 2018 SXSW Film Festival. Shortlisted for Best Documentary Feature for the 91st Academy Awards.
July 29, 2019
Directed by Laura Nix
Passionate teenage innovators from around the globe create cutting-edge solutions to confront the world’s environmental threats—found right in their own backyards—while navigating the doubts and insecurities that mark adolescence. These inspiring teens prepare their projects for the largest convening of high school scientists in the world: the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair. Official Selection, 2018 Sundance Film Festival.
The Distant Barking of Dogs
August 5, 2019
Directed by Simon Lereng Wilmont
The Distant Barking of Dogs follows the life of 10-year-old Ukrainian boy Oleg over a year, witnessing the gradual erosion of his innocence beneath the pressures of the on-going war in Eastern Ukraine. Having no other place to go, Oleg and his grandmother Alexandra stay and watch as others leave the village, showing just how crucial—and fragile—family is for survival. Shortlisted for Best Documentary Feature for the 91st Academy Awards.
August 12, 2019
Directed by Giovanni Totaro
Every summer on Palermo’s Mondello beach, over 1,000 cabins are built in preparation of the Ferragosto holiday. Centered around a family who goes into debt, three women holding onto the feeling of youth, and a politician seeking votes, Happy Winter portrays a vanity fair of beachgoers hiding behind the memory of a social status that the economic crisis of recent years has compromised.
September 2, 2019
Directed by Shaena Mallett
Clear-eyed and intimate, Farmsteaders follows Nick Nolan and his young family on a journey to resurrect his late grandfather’s dairy farm as agriculture moves toward large-scale farming. A study of place and persistence, Farmsteaders points an honest and tender lens at everyday life in rural America, offering an unexpected voice for a forsaken people: those who grow the food that sustains us.
September 9, 2019
Directed by Cynthia Wade and Sasha Friedlander
A multinational natural gas drilling company is believed to be responsible for the displacement of 60,000 people in an East Java village left submerged by a tsunami of mud. Fed up with the company’s delayed cleanup, Dian, a politically active teenager, galvanizes her neighbors to fight against the corporate powers accused of one of the largest environmental disasters in recent history.
The Silence of Others
September 30, 2019
Directed by Almudena Carracedo, Robert Bahar
The Silence of Others reveals the epic struggle of victims of Spain’s 40-year dictatorship under General Franco as they continue to seek justice four decades into democracy. Filmed over six years, the film follows the survivors organizing the groundbreaking “Argentine Lawsuit” to fight a state-imposed amnesia of crimes against humanity, where the emotional court battle uncovers a country still divided over its fascist history. Shortlisted for Best Documentary Feature for the 91st Academy Awards. Winner, 2019 Goya Award for Best Documentary Film. A co-production of ITVS. Co-presented by Latino Public Broadcasting (LPB).
October 7, 2019
Directed by Erick Stoll, Chase Whiteside
Life’s easy for Diego, who works in a surf shop and performs on the boardwalk for tourists. Yet when his grandmother América injures herself, and his father— América’s sole caretaker—is imprisoned for negligence, Diego returns to his hometown of Colima, Mexico, to care for her with his brothers Rodrigo and Bruno. Caught between love and obligation, the eccentric trio clash over money, communication, and the considerable challenge of caregiving.
The Feeling of Being Watched
October 14, 2019
Directed by Assia Boundaoui
In the Chicago suburb where journalist Assia Boundaoui grew up, most residents in her Muslim immigrant neighborhood believe they are under surveillance. Assia investigates and uncovers FBI documents about “Operation Vulgar Betrayal,” one of the largest pre-9/11 counterterrorism probes conducted on domestic soil, right in Assia’s hometown. Official Selection, 2018 Tribeca Film Festival.
October 21, 2019
Directed by Stephanie Wang-Breal
Working within a broken criminal justice system, a team of rebel heroines work to change the way women arrested for prostitution are prosecuted. With intimate camerawork that lingers on details and brings the Queens criminal courtroom to life, BLOWIN’ UPcelebrates acts of steadfast defiance, even as it reveals the hurdles these women must face. Official Selection, 2018 Tribeca Film Festival.
The Rescue List
Directed by Alyssa Fedele and Zachary Fink
In a rehabilitation shelter in Ghana, two children are recovering from enslavement to fishermen. But their story takes an unexpected turn when their rescuer embarks on another mission and asks the children for help. Charting the unfolding drama, The Rescue List tells a moving story of friendship and courage—transcending tropes of victimhood and illustrating what it means to love and survive.