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.
Come Hell or High Water: The Battle for Turkey Creek (#219) Duration: 1:23:27 STEREO (Secondary audio: none)
This program follows the painful but inspiring journey of Derrick Evans, a Boston teacher who moves home to coastal Mississippi when the graves of his ancestors are bulldozed to make way for the sprawling city of Gulfport. Over the course of a decade, Derrick and his neighbors stand up to powerful corporate interests and politicians and face ordeals that include Hurricane Katrina and the BP oil disaster in their struggle for self-determination and environmental justice.
Downeast (#210) Duration: 1:26:46 STEREO (Secondary audio: none)
Set during an era of US post-industrialization in which numerous factories have been exported, this program focuses on Antonio Bussone's efforts to open a processing factory in rural Maine.
9-Man (#318) Duration: 1:37:23 STEREO (Secondary audio: none)
9-Man is a story about streetball battle in the heart of Chinatown featuring a chaotic, Chinese-only game played competitively in parking lots and alleys since 1938. Through revealing verite scenes, archival material and primary source interviews, the film broaches conversations about Chinatown's Bachelor Society, the Chinese Exclusion Act, cultural belonging and loss, masculinity, genetic disparity in sports, immigrant culture, the Chinatown diaspora, microaggressions, reverse racism, Asian-American identity politics, self-doubt and social isolation.
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.
Gaucho Del Norte (#304) Duration: 59:34 STEREO (Secondary audio: none)
Since the 1970's, shepherds from South America have been brought to work in the American west. The film follows Eraldo Pacheco, a Chilean, on his journey to Idaho on a three-year contract.
If You Build It (#322) Duration: 1:29:24 STEREO (Secondary audio: none)
This documentary follows designer-activists Emily Pilloton and Matthew Miller to rural Bertie County, the poorest in North Carolina, where they work with local high school students to help transform both their community and their lives. Living on credit and grant money and fighting a change-resistant school board, Pilloton and Miller lead their students through a year-long, full-scale design and build project that does much more than just teach basic construction skills: it shows ten teenagers the power of design-thinking to re-invent not just their town but their own sense of what's possible.
Stable Life (#311) Duration: 53:38 STEREO (Secondary audio: none)
Dionicia M. lives in the stables at a California racetrack and works long hours caring for racehorses while her teenage son Jose Luis is turning heads as a hotshot apprentice jockey. Dionicia and Jose Luis have gambled their futures on the hardscrabble sport of horse racing. Will they succeed or will their lack of immigration papers prevent them from achieving the stable life of their dreams?
Deputized (#218) Duration: 1:00:17 STEREO (Secondary audio: none)
In the aftermath of a senseless hate crime, an all-American town finds itself desperately seeking answers: What really killed Marcelo Lucero? In a deceptively peaceful Long Island town just before midnight on November 8, 2008, 37-year-old Ecuadorian immigrant Marcelo Lucero is assaulted by a group of teenaged boys cruising the streets "beaner-hopping," a term used to describe the decade-long ritual of attacking Latinos for sport. The adolescent ?game? comes to an end with the fatal stabbing of Lucero, exposing a thinly veiled systemic intolerance for immigrants. Seventeen-year-old Jeffery Conroy, a popular high school athlete, is sentenced to 25-years for a hate crime, while the other teens get 5 to 8-years behind bars.
Out in the Silence (#309) Duration: 57:44 STEREO (Secondary audio: none)
Out in the Silence captures the remarkable chain of events that unfold when the announcement of filmmaker Joe Wilson's wedding to another man ignites a firestorm of controversy in his small Pennsylvania hometown. Drawn back by a plea for help from the mother of a gay teen being tormented at school, Wilson's journey dramatically illustrates the universal challenges of being an outsider in a conservative environment and the transformation that is possible when those who have long been constrained by a traditional code of silence summon the courage to break it.
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.