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.
Before You Know It (#326) Duration: 2:56:46 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 Perfect Victim (#315) Duration: 1:28:43 STEREO (Secondary audio: none)
The Perfect Victim follows the stories of women incarcerated for killing their abusers and explores the legal injustices of victims of domestic abuse.
Our Mockingbird (#305) Duration: 1:29:20 STEREO (Secondary audio: none)
A documentary that uses Harper Lee's 1960 novel To Kill a Mockingbird as a lens to view race, class, gender and justice -- then and now. Woven through OUR MOCKINGBIRD is the story of two extraordinarily different high schools in Birmingham, Alabama who collaborate on a remarkable production of the adapted play, To Kill a Mockingbird.
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.
Mothers of Bedford (#215) Duration: 1:59:27 STEREO (Secondary audio: none)
80% of women in US prisons today are mothers of school-age children. Filmmaker Jenifer McShane spent 4 years visiting Bedford Hills and following the women and their families. A mother herself, Jenifer was drawn to the universal themes of motherhood and the staggering power of the mother-child relationship. In all walks of life, mother and child care for each other. As we watch the mothers inside Bedford trying to become their better selves, we see parts of our own selves - and that gives us all hope.
Cambodian Son (#320) Duration: 1:29:50 STEREO (Secondary audio: none)
Born in a refugee camp in Cambodia, poet Kosal Khiev was lucky to escape the wartorn country before he was two years old. Granted asylum, Khiev grew up in the U.S. with his mother and siblings. By the age of 16, he was convicted of attempted murder and spent the next 14 years in jail-including 18 months of solitary confinement in the New Folsom State Prison in California. Fatefully, during his time in solitary Khiev experienced a breakthrough that forged his path to freedom. In jail, he found writing and spoken-word mentors and upon release became a student/participant in the inaugural class of "The Actors' Gang" led by Artistic Director and Founder Tim Robbins. As a refugee with no permanent resident status in the U.S., however, Khiev was deported to Cambodia, a country he's never known. "How do you survive when you belong nowhere?" The documentary follows a year in the life of Khiev, while he navigates his new fame as Phnom Penh's premiere poet and receives the most important invitation of his career-to represent the Kingdom of Cambodia at the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad. Later he visits France for the first time where his life comes full circle and he faces a past he never dreamed of.