Through the lens of independent films, this series tells the many stories of a transforming American culture and its broad diversity. It takes an unfiltered look at relevant domestic topics (healthcare, immigration, the workplace, and politics) with personal storytelling tied to programming social themes. The series showcases films that will give viewers a "snapshot" of the transforming American life - the guts, the glory, the grit of a new and changing America. From contemporary life on Native American reservations to stories of recovery on the Gulf, from hardships and revitalization in towns big and small, to stories from city streets across the country, these independent, personal and opinionated films document the times in which we live.
America Reframed Previous Broadcasts
Plagues and Pleasures on the Salton Sea (Episode #206)
KQED World: Wed, Dec 25, 2013 -- 5:00 AM
Once known as the California Riviera, the Salton Sea is now called one of America's worst ecological disasters: a fetid, stagnant, salty lake, that coughs up dead fish and birds by the thousands in frequent die-offs that occur. However, amongst the ruins of this man-made mistake, a few remaining eccentrics (a roadside nudist, a religious folk artist, a Hungarian revolutionary, and real estate speculators) struggle to keep a remodeled version of the original Salton Sea dream alive. Accidentally created by an engineering error in 1905, reworked in the 50's as a world class vacation destination for the rich and famous, suddenly abandoned after a series of hurricanes, floods, and fish die-offs, and finally almost saved by Congressman Sonny Bono, the Salton Sea has a bittersweet past. The film shares these people's stories and their difficulties in keeping their unique community alive, as the nearby cities of Los Angeles and San Diego attempt to take the agricultural water run-off that barely sustains the Salton Sea. While covering the historical, economic, political, and environmental issues that face the Sea, PLAGUES AND PLEASURES offers an offbeat portrait of the peculiar and individualistic people who populate its shores. It is an epic western tale of fantastic real estate ventures and failed boomtowns, inner-city gangs fleeing to white small town America, and the subjective notion of success and failure amidst the ruins of the past.
- KQED World: Sun, Dec 29, 2013 -- 9:00 PM
- KQED World: Sun, Dec 29, 2013 -- 6:00 AM
- KQED World: Sun, Dec 29, 2013 -- 12:00 AM
- KQED World: Wed, Dec 25, 2013 -- 11:00 AM
My Louisiana Love (Episode #108)
KQED World: Wed, Dec 18, 2013 -- 5:00 AM
This film traces a young woman's quest to find a place in her Native American community as it reels from decades of environmental degradation. Monique Verdin returns to Southeast Louisiana to reunite with her Houma Indian family. But soon she sees that her people's traditional way of life is threatened by a cycle of man-made environmental crises. Hurricane Katrina and the BP oil leak are just the latest rounds in this century-old cycle that is forcing Monique's clan to adapt in new ways. Monique must overcome the loss of her house, her father, and her partner, and redefine the meaning of home.
- KQED World: Sun, Dec 22, 2013 -- 9:00 PM
- KQED World: Sun, Dec 22, 2013 -- 6:00 AM
- KQED World: Sun, Dec 22, 2013 -- 12:00 AM
- KQED World: Wed, Dec 18, 2013 -- 11:00 AM
Radio Unnameable (Episode #202)
KQED World: Wed, Dec 11, 2013 -- 5:00 AM
Legendary radio personality Bob Fass revolutionized late night FM radio by serving as a cultural hub for music, politics and audience participation for nearly 50 years. Long before today's innovations in social media, Fass utilized the airwaves for mobilization encouraging luminaries and ordinary listeners to talk openly and take the program in surprising directions. Fass and his committed group of friends, peers, and listeners proved time and time again through massive, planned meetups and other similar events that radio was not a solitary experience but rather a platform to unite communities of like-minded, or even just open-minded, individuals without the dependence on large scale corporate backing. Radio Unnameable is a visual and aural collage that pulls from Bob Fass's immense archive of audio from his program, film, photographs, and video that has been sitting dormant until now. Revealing the underexposed world of independent radio, the film illustrates the intimate relationship Fass and, by extension, WBAI formed with their listeners that were strong enough to maintain the station?s role as one of the most successful listener-sponsored programs in the United States.
- KQED World: Sun, Dec 15, 2013 -- 9:00 PM
- KQED World: Sun, Dec 15, 2013 -- 6:00 AM
- KQED World: Sun, Dec 15, 2013 -- 12:00 AM
- KQED World: Wed, Dec 11, 2013 -- 11:00 AM
Building Babel (Episode #201)
KQED World: Wed, Dec 4, 2013 -- 5:00 AM
The film follows a year in the life of Sharif El-Gamal, developer of the so-called "Ground Zero Mosque," a Muslim-led community center two blocks from the World Trade Center. With unlimited access to his home and office, the film paints a portrait of a Muslim-American businessman up against impossible odds. A passionate Brooklyn-born Muslim, Sharif El-Gamal sees Park51 as a centerpiece of his own Muslim American identity. Born of a Polish-Catholic mother and Egyptian-Muslim father, El-Gamal only turned to Islam after 9/11 shook his faith to the core, and sees Park51 as a way to give back to the Lower Manhattan community. Married to a Muslim convert and the father of two daughters, Sharif represents an Islam that remains foreign to most Americans, especially given the way the media and politicians have continued to use Park51 as a point of controversy. Despite a principle goal of helping to rebuild Lower Manhattan, opposition to the plan has been virulent and non-stop. Thousands of Americans have rallied against the prospect of a Muslim institution being constructed in such proximity to Ground Zero, and Park51 has become an internationally discussed symbol of Islam's relationship to the Western world. Building Babel follows Park51?s development through the daily experiences and struggles of the men and women trying to make it a reality.
- KQED World: Sun, Dec 8, 2013 -- 9:00 PM
- KQED World: Sun, Dec 8, 2013 -- 6:00 AM
- KQED World: Sun, Dec 8, 2013 -- 12:00 AM
- KQED World: Wed, Dec 4, 2013 -- 11:00 AM
After Happily Ever After (Episode #119)
KQED World: Sun, Dec 1, 2013 -- 12:00 AM
Emmy winning filmmaker Kate Schermerhorn's quirky, funny and movingpersonal quest for the secret to a happy marriage and for answers to some timely questions about an institution which might just be due for some review. This engaging doc features an eclectic mix of long married couples - from a couple who dress alike every day; to a pair of nudists and a newlywed pair of mothers, to a feisty English widow. A lively and world-renowned group of marriage experts - including psychologist John Gottman (who can predict divorce with 90% accuracy), marrriage historian Stephanie Coontz, and a Beverly Hills divorce attorney, ground the film in fact as they piece together the history and possible future and motivations for marriage. Along the way, Schermerhorn chronicles the joys and heartbreaks of her own marriage and finds that even the best advice can?t always guarantee a happily ever after.
- KQED World: Sun, Dec 1, 2013 -- 9:00 PM
- KQED World: Sun, Dec 1, 2013 -- 6:00 AM