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.
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.
- KQED World: Sun, May 24, 2015 -- 6:00am
- KQED World: Sun, May 24, 2015 -- 8:00pm
Endless Abilities (#321) Duration: 1:26:46 STEREO (Secondary audio: none)
In the spring of 2012, four best friends drove across the country in search of adaptive sports for individuals with physical disabilities, and lived to tell the story in a feature documentary film. From rehabilitation patients to Paralympic athletes, our cameras captured the reality of broken boundaries and common goals among all who are active. We went rock climbing with the blind, played soccer with quadriplegics, and swam with those with muscular dystrophy, to name a few. Through our journey, we learned that sports really are the great equalizer, unifying people of all abilities on a level playing field.
If You Build It (#322) Duration: 1:56:46 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.
Where God Likes to Be (#323) Duration: 1:26:46 STEREO (Secondary audio: none)
This program focuses on 3 young protagonists full of hope and promise - Andi Running Wolf, Edward Tailfeathers, and Douglas Fitzgerald - following them over the course of a summer that marks a turning point in all of their lives. Each grapples with whether to leave, pursuing opportunities far from home, or stay behind with friends and family potentially struggling with limited opportunity and marginalization. A picture emerges of the Blackfeet Indian reservation as a cherished home that nurtures identity.
By The River of Babylon: An Elegy for South Louisiana (#324) Duration: 1:26:46 STEREO (Secondary audio: none)
This program looks at the disappearing culture and environment in Southwest Louisiana: its marshlands and man's calamitous engineering mistakes, and the unique habitat that gave rise to the Cajun and Creole, music, culture and people left in its wake. With compelling footage and expert commentary from Bob Marshall, a local Pulitzer prize-winning journalist, among others, the film documents the facades and interiors of a good number of famed but decaying dance halls.
Riveting performances by leading Zydeco proponents such as Clifton Chenier and Beau Jocque are juxtaposed by thorough and thoughtful explanations such as the rapacious dredging of the Mississippi River Gulf Outlet through wetlands to give oil tankers direct access to the Gulf of Mexico. Louisiana, a major source of energy for the nation, is being destroyed bit by bit and the region's eco-system and marshland continues to be damaged by flooding due to both storms and river reconstruction. Like the famed music of the region, the documentary is both a love letter and a lament over the destruction of the region and by association, the decline of its culture and way of life.
A Self-Made Man (#325) Duration: 56:46 STEREO (Secondary audio: none)
A candid look at what it means to be transgender, told through an intimate portrait of trans youth advocate Tony Ferraiolo. Gender identity first appears in childhood and some kids feel that they were born in the wrong body. It is a scary time for both them and their parents as they make the transition journey from one gender to the other. This is a film about someone who helps them get there safely.