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.
My Life In China (#416) Duration: 1:26:46 STEREO (Secondary audio: none)
Director Ken Eng's documents his father's first trip back to the rural Chinese village where he was raised since immigrating to the US in the 1970s. Father and son visit various family members who stayed through communism and who are now part of the "new middle class." A film about a father's journey back home and a son's journey into his own heritage.
- KQED World: Sun, May 29, 2016 -- 6:00am
The Last Season (#417) Duration: 1:26:46 STEREO (Secondary audio: none)
Amid the bustling world of central Oregon's wild mushroom hunting camps, the lives of two former soldiers intersect. Roger, a 75 year-old sniper with the us special forces in Vietnam, and Kouy, a 46 year-old platoon leader of Cambodia's Khmer freedom fighters who battled the khmer Rouge, come together each fall to hunt the elusive matsutake mushroom, a rare mushroom prized in Japanese culture and cuisine. However, the pair discover more than just mushrooms in the woods: they find a new life, and livelihood; and, a means to slowly heal the scarring wounds of war. Told over the course of one Matsutake mushroom season, the Last Season is a journey into the woods, into the memory of war and survival, telling a story of family from an unexpected place.
College Week (#418) Duration: 1:26:46 STEREO (Secondary audio: none)
Every year Spencer Technology Academy Elementary School, located in the Austin community on the west side of Chicago hosts an annual event called College Week. An insightful and innovative principal, committed teachers, and active parents work together to instill the importance of higher education into the minds of the entire student body. College Week chronicles the stories of three eighth grade students and their respective homeroom teachers as they prepare for and compete in the Seventh Annual College Week event. It investigates the challenges and pressure they face as work together to build brighter futures. The stakes are very high for teacher and even higher for the students.
Before You Know It (#326) Duration: 1:55:31 STEREO (Secondary audio: none)
With humor and candor, thisprogram celebrates the bold and brave lives of active gay senior citizens who have witnessed unbelievable change in their lifetimes: from the Stonewall Riots and gay liberation to the HIV/AIDS pandemic and gay marriage rights. The film introduces us to Dennis, a gentle-hearted widower in his 70s who explores his sexual identity and fondness for dressing in women's clothing under the name "Dee," and becomes a resident at Rainbow Vista, a gay retirement community outside of Portland, Oregon. In Harlem, New York, we meet Ty, an impassioned activist for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights, who hears nothing but wedding bells once gay marriage legislation passes in New York; and, Robert, known as "The Mouth," who was born and reared in Houston, Texas. The son of a Southern Baptist preacher, Robert always knew he was a "sissy." But in Galveston, Texas, he is a feisty bar owner who presses on when his neighborhood institution is threatened.
Born before the modern gay rights movement, Dennis, Ty and Robert have become pioneers in an unprecedented "out" generation of elders. They are also among the estimated 2.4 million LGBT Americans over the age of 55. While some gay Americans adhered to the cultural norms of earlier times, others became activists and made it their mission to live out, loud and proud. Each has faced discrimination, neglect and exclusion. This film reminds us that while LGBT elders face a specific set of issues, aging and its challenges are universal.
The Hand That Feeds (#419) Duration: 1:26:46 STEREO (Secondary audio: none)
At a popular bakery cafe, residents of New York's Upper East Side get bagels and coffee served with a smile 24 hours a day. But behind the scenes, undocumented immigrant workers face sub-legal wages, dangerous machinery, and abusive managers who will fire them for calling in sick. Mild-mannered sandwich maker Mahoma L?pez has never been interested in politics, but in January 2012, he convinces a small group of his co-workers to fight back.
Buried Above Ground (#420) Duration: 1:26:46 STEREO (Secondary audio: none)
What would you do if the worst thing that ever happened to you felt like it kept happening? Over 6 years, this documentary explores this question through the eyes of 3 post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) survivors - Luis, an Iraq War veteran, along with his service dog Tuesday; Erundina, a survivor of domestic violence: and Ashley, an evacuee from Hurricane Katrina. The film explores its subjects' lives, gaining access to their home life, therapy sessions, and communities as they try to unburden themselves from the crippling lock of their past traumas. The personal battles fought by Luis. Ashley and Erundina illuminate a global health condition that is misunderstood, underreported and often left untreated.
Purgatorio (#301) Duration: 1:27:36 STEREO (Secondary audio: none)
Reyes' provocative essay film re-imagines the Mexico/U.S. border as a mythical place comparable to Dante's purgatory. Leaving politics aside, he takes a fresh look at the brutal beauty of the border and the people caught in its spell. By capturing a stunning mosaic of compelling characters and broken landscapes that live on the US/Mexico border, the filmmaker reflects on the flaws of human nature and the powerful absurdities of the modern world. An unusual border film, in the auteur tradition of camera-stylo, Purgatorio ultimately becomes a fable of humanity, an epic and visceral experience with powerful and lingering images.
Town Hall (#217) Duration: 1:16:20 STEREO (Secondary audio: none)
This episode casts an unflinching eye at Katy and John, two Tea Party activists from the battleground state of Pennsylvania who believe America's salvation lies in a return to true conservative values. In Katy, we see a political novice rocketed to media stardom after a sensational confrontation at a town hall meeting with her senator. A young stay-at-home mom turned Tea Party spokesperson, she is gifted a new identity, steeled by the voices of conservative media. For John, a retired former businessman and lifelong Republican living in one of the poorest cities in the country, the America he knows is slipping away. Heading up a local Tea Party group is his last, best chance at stanching the changes he is witnessing all around him, but unable to afford his aging mother's health care, John has to make difficult decisions that reveal the complicated relationship between his principles and the demands of his life.
Shell Shocked (#307) Duration: 1:29:23 STEREO (Secondary audio: none)
Follows efforts to prevent the extinction of wild oyster reefs, which keep our oceans healthy by filtering water and engineering ecosystems. Today, because of overfishing and pollution, wild oyster reefs have been declared 'the most severely impacted marine habitat on Earth' and no longer play a role in their ecosystems. Now scientists, government officials, artists and environmentalists are fighting to bring oysters back to the former oyster capital of the world - New York Harbor.
Old South (#401) Duration: 56:46 STEREO (Secondary audio: none)
Hope is 30 years old and fighting to save her historic African American neighborhood from encroachment by an elite white fraternity, one known to fly a Confederate flag and hold an annual antebellum parade. On one block in Athens GA two communities steeped in history - one black, one white - strive to keep their respective legacies relevant in a changing American South, and the nation as a whole. "Old South" provides a window into the underlying dynamics of race relations that influence so many American communities. And ultimately inspires hope, reflection, and a crucial step forward.