POV: Season 18 (2005)

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Season 18
POV

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Episodes

Air date: Jun 21, 2005

"The Education of Shelby Knox" follows an intense, engaging Lubbock, Texas, teen as she campaigns over three years for sex education in Lubbock's public schools. A Baptist who has pledged "sexual purity," Shelby nonetheless is evolving into a political liberal. Her campaign won't be easy. Nor will another campaign, for a high-school gay-straight alliance, and she'll learn why there aren't many liberals in Lubbock. More important, she'll become her "own person."

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Air date: Jun 28, 2005

In "Big Enough," filmmaker Jan Krawitz catches up with short-statured folks she first profiled when they were youngsters in the 1982 PBS documentary "Little People." Between flashbacks to the earlier film, they describe their challenges ("people don't let me forget that I'm little," says Karla Lizzo) and successes---they all married and are economically comfortable. More important, they're comfortable with who they are. "This is the way life is," says Len Sawisch.

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Air date: Jul 5, 2005

"Street Fight" follows upstart Rhodes scholar Cory Booker's 2002 bid to unseat Sharpe James, the entrenched mayor of Newark, N.J. This is old-fashioned, rough-and-tumble politics. In Newark, "elections are won and lost in the streets," says filmmaker Marshall Curry, who interviews a car-wash owner who says the city shut it down because he backs Booker. And Curry is seen being intimidated at James rallies. Even James press aide Rich McGrath concedes that the race "definitely is a throwback."

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Air date: Jul 12, 2005

"The Fire Next Time" explores tensions between the two sides of the environmental divide in Montana's Flathead Valley, a tourist and second-home Mecca where loggers and millworkers are losing jobs. Filmmaker Patrice O'Neill filmed for several years in and around Kalispell, Mont., interviewing people on both sides, as well as government officials caught in the middle. She finds "fear and passion." Adds County Commissioner Gary Hall: "The hate thing is unbelievable."

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Air date: Jul 19, 2005

"The Brooklyn Connection" follows Albanian-American businessman Florin Krasniqi as he purchases arms in the U.S., then smuggles them to the Kosovo Liberation Army. Krasniqi, who says he has raised $30 million to "provide logistics for an entire army," is also seen schmoozing with such political figures as Wesley Clark and Richard Holbrooke. He concedes that "it's a thin line between a thug and a freedom fighter," but his mission is clear: "I have to see Kosovo independent," he says.

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Air date: Jul 26, 2005

Bob Stern, an ailing 77-year-old businessman, calmly weighs the pros and cons of suicide in "The Self-Made Man," his daughter Susan Stern's unusual family memoir. The film juxtaposes home movies and comments from family and friends with a July 4, 2001, videotape in which the elder Stern is seen laying out a "cost-benefit ratio," as he puts it, on his life. The family opposed suicide but, sighs son Mike, "I guess he saw himself as a bad investment, and that it was time to sell."

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Air date: Aug 2, 2005

"In the Realms of the Unreal" peeks into the good-vs.-evil fantasy world of Henry Darger (1892-1973), a reclusive janitor whose writings and artwork were found in his one-room Chicago apartment after his death. And quite a trove it was: hundreds of paintings (some seen in animated form) and a 15,000-page chronicle of warfare between a Christian children's army led by seven "Vivian girls" and the godless Glandelinians.

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Air date: Aug 16, 2005

In "Hardwood," a 2005 documentary-short Oscar nominee, filmmaker Hubert Davis and his stepbrother Maluwi ruminate on the complexities of life with---and without---their father, former Harlem Globetrotter Mel Davis. Mel returned to Hubert and his mother because "he was trying to teach me to be a better man from his mistakes," Hubert says.

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Air date: Aug 23, 2005

In "Bright Leaves," filmmaker Ross McElwee muses on North Carolinians' "complicated relationships with tobacco." McElwee ("Sherman's March") visits tobacco farmers and cancer patients, and explores his own family's tie to tobacco: his great-grandfather, an industry pioneer who lost a power struggle that ruined him. As it happens, the 1950 Gary Cooper-Patricia Neal movie "Bright Leaf" tells a very similar story, and to McElwee at least, it's "a surreal home movie."

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Air date: Aug 30, 2005

Members of a family try to bridge their differences as they address different interpretations of Judaism in this emotionally powerful documentary. Menachem Daum is a devout Jew, as is his wife, Rivka Daum. During World War II, Rivka's father survived the Holocaust thanks to a Polish family who hid him from Nazi troops in their home, and Rivka and Menachem have planned a trip to Eastern Europe in order to find and meet the Poles who saved her father's life. The couple have two grown sons, whom they wish would join them for the trip; both are Orthodox Jews living in Jerusalem and studying in yeshiva. While Menachem is proud of his sons' faith, he also believes they have set themselves apart from the real world, and fears they've used their devotion as a wall rather than a bridge. Eventually, the two sons join their parents on their journey, and both the parents and their children gain valuable perspectives on one another's points-of-view, especially after meeting the family of heroic Poles. Hiding and Seeking: Faith and Tolerance After The Holocaust was shown in competition at the 2002 San Francisco Jewish Film Festival.

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