POV: Season 17 (2004 - 2005)


Season 17
POV

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Episodes

Air date: Jun 22, 2004

Carlos Sandoval and Catherine Tambini direct Farmingville, a documentary about a suburban community torn apart by illegal immigration. In 2000, a conflict erupted resulting in the deaths of two Mexican workers at the hands of white men. The next year, Sandoval -- a former New York lawyer with no filmmaking experience -- moved to the Farmingville area of Long Island to make the film. He and Tambini attempt to present both sides of the issue in order to make a balanced argument. Farmingville is home to both wealthy home owners and immigrant day laborers, and each side has its share of activists. Farmingville was part of the documentary competition at the Sundance Film Festival before receiving a broadcast premiere on the PBS series P.O.V.

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Air date: Jun 29, 2004

In "Bill's Run," filmmaker Richard Kassebaum chronicles his brother Bill's 2002 run for the Kansas House of Representatives. Kassebaum, a rancher and assistant county attorney, is the son of former senator Nancy Landon Kassebaum (and the grandson of 1936 GOP presidential candidate Alf Landon). He decides to run because he believes that school-funding shortfalls are hurting his rural district, and the incumbent, House Majority Leader Shari Weber, is a staunch antitax conservative.

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Air date: Jul 6, 2004

"War Feels like War" follows journalists who weren't "embedded" (they're called "unilaterals") as they covered the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003, and reflected on it and their jobs. What they saw ranged from what ABC Radio's PJ O'Rourke calls the "garden-variety chaos" attending the distribution of food aid in southern Iraq to a constant stream of skirmishes---and the consequences of it lying in streets and in hospital beds---as they headed north to Baghdad and Tikrit. Other journalists include Chicago Tribune photographer Stephanie Sinclair, as well as reporters from Poland, Norway, Denmark and Spain.

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Air date: Jul 13, 2004

"Thirst," an emotional exploration of the downside of water privatization in Bolivia and India, also chronicles efforts to stem a privatization drive in Stockton, Cal., and visits a 2003 international water conference in Kyoto, Japan. In India, the hour asserts, water can cost more than milk, and while that's not the case in Stockton, activists still fear losing control. "Water," says one, "is the next OPEC." Produced and directed by Deborah Kaufman and Alan Snitow.

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Air date: Jul 20, 2004

Onetime political consultant Paul Stekler directed this documentary on a heated battle for a state representative's seat. In Texas, a state with a long history of voting in GOP candidates, Rick Green seems a sure thing to be elected as a staunch conservative who declares himself "raised on Rush Limbaugh." However, a minor scandal over financial matters threatens to derail Green's campaign as his young Democratic challenger, Patrick Rose, begins showing real strength in local public-opinion polls. Last Man Standing looks at the Green versus Rose race, as well as the machinery behind modern elections; the film includes interviews with Texas journalist Molly Ivins and White House advisor Karl Rove.

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Air date: Aug 3, 2004

"A Family Undertaking" explores the home-funeral movement as it profiles advocates and families who are burying loved ones without the services of undertakers. The hour briefly visits a funeral-industry convention in Florida (where a speaker urges colleagues to provide a "meaningful death experience" for consumers), but mostly it focuses on families who provide what advocate Beth Knox calls their own "after-death care." In South Dakota, the ranching Carr family builds patriarch Bernard's coffin, and Bernard is seen burning his brand into it. "You work together and play together," says Bernard's son Keith. "Why would you want to ship a member of your family to the cold, old morgue?"

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Air date: Aug 17, 2004

"Every Mother's Son" follows three mothers of young men---none of them criminals---killed by New York City police during the 1990s. The most notorious case is that of Amadou Diallo, a 23-year-old from Guinea who was shot 41 times in the vestibule of his Bronx apartment building, but all three deaths galvanized the grief-stricken mothers to activism as the officers who killed their sons were acquitted, convicted of lesser charges or not even indicted. Says one: "There's got to be some justice and accountability."

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Air date: Aug 24, 2004

"Speedo: A Demolition Derby Love Story" profiles demolition-derby driver Ed "Speedo" Jager, who's as passionate about his two sons as he is about driving. In fact, he has remained in an empty marriage for years for their sake. During the film, a third love enters Speedo's life: Liz Mallows, a New Jersey track official who's drawn to his in-your-face (in-your-fender, actually) energy and his take-no-prisoners driving style. "It's like a disease," Speedo says. "It starts to possess you when you're really into it."

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Air date: Sep 7, 2004

The 1973 film "Wattstax," which captures the energy and excitement of a 1972 concert at the L.A. Memorial Coliseum, is spotlighted. The event brought together 100,000 spectators to see turns by Isaac Hayes ("Theme from Shaft"), Rufus Thomas ("Breakdown") and the Staple Singers ("Respect Yourself"). Also on hand are Kim Weston; Jimmy Jones; the Emotions; the Stax Golden 13; the Bar-Kays; Albert King; Little Milton; Carla Thomas; and Luther Ingram. The Rev. Jesse Jackson opens the event; and introduces Hayes. Intercut throughout are observations by Richard Pryor; and man-on-the-street interviews that offer a snapshot of what life was like for black Americans in the early '70s.

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Air date: Sep 14, 2004

"Freedom Machines" follows disabled people as they use such technologies as voice-input software and wheelchairs that climb stairs. These devices can help level the field for the disabled, but they're too expensive for many. This hour points up this inequality as it follows disabled achievers with the resources to have "freedom machines." For those who don't, says narrator Peter Dinklage, it's a civil-rights issue: "Today, equality depends more and more on access to technology."

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