POV: Season 20 (2007)

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Season 20
POV

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Episodes

Air date: Jun 19, 2007

Anne Makepeace's documentary Rain in a Dry Land begins with the sobering realization that in 2004 alone, over 13,000 Somali Bantus escaped from dire living conditions in Africa and immigrated, legally, to the United States, where they began new lives. The film itself provides biographical studies of two such families (both direct descendants of slaves) and observes each as they settle in differing geographic regions of the U.S. The narrative commences in January 2004, when the families attend cultural orientation classes at Kenya's Kakuma refugee camp - learning of refrigerators, ovens, automobiles, elevators, western schools, and all the other amenities so often taken for granted in North America; the picture then witnesses each family during the first two years of life in its new homeland. One moves to Springfield, Massachusetts, the other to Atlanta, Georgia - two wildly disparate regions, though in each case, the families struggle against racism, discrimination, impoverishment, and massive doses of culture shock to build new lives for themselves, and retain overwhelming optimism thanks to events such as the birth of a child, an American wedding, and the reunion of thousands of Somali Bantus from across the U.S.

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Air date: Jun 26, 2007

The story of Sierra Leone's Refugee All Stars, a music group comprising survivors from Sierra Leone's 1991-2002 civil war. Here, the six members tour refugee camps in Guinea and return to Sierra Leone to record an album in Freetown, the capital.

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Air date: Jul 3, 2007

The story of Alex White Plume, an Oglala Sioux Tribe member who ran into controversy with the federal government for growing industrial hemp on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. While it's legal to sell hemp products in the U.S., it is illegal to grow hemp (which is related to marijuana but has only traces of it). In 2000, White Plume planted industrial hemp, only to see his land raided by the DEA and FBI. Included: issues of tribal sovereignty; the economic conditions at Pine Ridge.

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Air date: Jul 10, 2007

The insightful "Revolution '67" exposes the flip side to the "Summer of Love": race riots in several American cities, including Detroit and, as spotlighted here, Newark. The six-day riot began on July 12, sparked by a rumor that a black taxi driver died while in police custody, but was fueled by endemic poverty, racism and political corruption. Commenting: poet Amiri Baraka; Tom Hayden, who worked as a community organizer in the city at the time; and former Newark mayor Sharpe James.

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Air date: Jul 17, 2007

A profile of writer-conservationist Richard Ogust, who shared his Manhattan loft with 1200 turtles, including several on the endangered list. When he was evicted from the loft, he tried to set up a sanctuary for them. But he ultimately had to move them to a warehouse.

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Air date: Jul 24, 2007

"Prison Town, USA" examines life in rural Susanville, Cal., which once thrived on agriculture, logging and ranching, and now relies on an economy fueled by nearby prisons. The documentary profiles residents who seek better lives for themselves and their families by becoming correctional officers; a parolee who has difficulty supporting his family because of a shortage of non-prison jobs; and a dairy farmer whose contract with the prisons may not be renewed.

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Air date: Jul 31, 2007

In the remarkable "Following Sean," Ralph Arlyck picks up the story he began in 1969 with the short documentary "Sean," about a 4-year-old boy living in San Francisco's Haight-Ashbury District, by reconnecting with the adult Sean and his family; and, while doing so, offering observations about his own life. The result is an insightful meditation about baby boomers, their children and their parents; freedom; work; and growing old.

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Air date: Aug 21, 2007

"Arctic Son" follows a young Native American from Washington state who leaves his party ways behind when he moves to Old Crow, a small "dry" village 80 miles north of the Arctic Circle, to live with his father, whom he barely knows. His father imparts the Gwitchin people's ways to his son, teaching him to fish, hunt and skin rabbits, but the culture shock at first leaves the younger man frustrated. Over time, however, he comes to see the value in the old ways and bonds with his father.

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Air date: Aug 28, 2007

"Libby, Montana" examines the impact of 70 years of mining the mineral vermiculite on the town, where about a quarter of the population was found to have lung abnormalities from asbestos exposure. The documentary also details claims that W.R. Grace & Co., which owned the mine, concealed the dangers faced by workers, even as the company and a number of executives faced criminal charges; and questions why the government permitted the mine to operate until its 1990 closure.

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Air date: Sep 4, 2007

"Made in L.A." relates the powerful story of three Latina immigrants in L.A's garment industry who, along with other workers and the Garment Worker Center (an advocacy group), fought for better pay and working conditions. They filed a lawsuit against Forever 21, the clothing company and retail chain that hired the contractors for whom they work; and protested at its stores and at the home of its president.

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