POV: Season 23 (2010)

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Season 23
POV

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Episodes

Air date: Apr 21, 2010

Season 23 gets underway with Robert Kenner's provocative "Food, Inc.," which examines the U.S. food industry and how its practices impact consumer health, worker safety and the environment. The doc features footage of meat-packing operations and includes remarks from farmers, food-industry workers and consumer advocates, as well as Eric Schlosser ("Fast Food Nation"), Michael Pollan ("The Omnivore's Dilemma") and such practitioners of organic farming as Joel Salatin (Virginia's Polyface Farms).

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Air date: Jun 22, 2010

A remarkably frank, provocative profile of controversial attorney William Kunstler (1919-1995) by his daughters Emily and Sarah, who couldn't fathom why he took on such defendants, while they were growing up, as one in the 1989 Central Park Jogger case. It features archival footage, home movies and remarks from friends and clients, including Indian activists Dennis Banks and Bill Means, and explores his Chicago 8 trial work and failed negotiations to end the 1971 Attica Prison riot.

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Air date: Jun 29, 2010

The winner of a French César for best documentary, the cinematic memoir "The Beaches of Agnès" features French filmmaker Agnès Varda ("Vagabond," "Cléo From 5 to 7") reflecting on her life and times through the prism of her movies. Among the subjects she broaches: her childhood in Belgium, adolescence in occupied Paris, photographic work and marriage to director Jacques Demy ("The Umbrellas of Cherbourg").

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Air date: Jul 6, 2010

As directed by Yoruba Richen in 2009, the documentary Promised Land examines South Africa in the post-Apartheid years - years marked by both racial reconciliation among whites and blacks, and by sweeping land reform that redistributed territory among the populace. The documentary begins with the heartbreaking chronicle of the injunctions that forbade blacks from owning land in South Africa (beginning in 1913), and of their government-forced resettlement into "homelands" situated in some of the country's most inhospitable territory. Richen filters these details through the lens of the Mekgareng, a poverty-stricken 9,000-member tribe removed from their land in the mid-20th Century, who in 1998 began petitioning the African National Congress for reclamation of the land from wealthy white farmers and land developers. Richen then reflects on the ANC's highly publicized decision to heed the Mekgareng's call by forcing one enraged white farmer to sell his property to the descendants of the original black owners, circa 2006, which set off a firestorm of global controversy and threatened to upend the racial harmony which lay at the foundation of the New South Africa.

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Air date: Jul 13, 2010

"The problem is that the people who send aid don't know where it's going," says Fred Oginda, a resident of Kenya's Kibera slum, in this documentary about international anti-poverty projects in Africa that may not be helping the people they're meant to. A plan to build modern housing in Kibera meets local resistance as residents fear that the project will benefit the well-connected, not them. In the west, neighbors worry that a rice farm's planned reservoir will cause their lands to flood.

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Air date: Jul 20, 2010

The remarkable "El General" interweaves the story of Mexican president Plutarco Elias Calles, who served from 1924 to '28 but whose power continued until his 1936 exile, with glimpses of modern-day Mexico. The doc features his daughter's tape recordings, which she made in her 70s for a never-realized book, as well as archival footage and the deft narration of his great-granddaughter, filmmaker Natalia Almada. The winner of the 2009 Sundance directing award for U.S. documentaries.

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Air date: Jul 27, 2010

An eye-opening look at the Mexican justice system through the case of street vendor Antonio Zuñiga, who was snatched off the street by the police and soon found guilty of murder despite no physical evidence connecting him to the crime and eyewitnesses who could place him elsewhere. The doc details the efforts of attorneys and filmmakers Roberto Hernández and Layda Negrete to get him a new trial, which they then record.

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Air date: Aug 17, 2010

The video diary "Salt" details photographer Murray Fredericks' annual pilgrimage to the salt flats of remote Lake Eyre in South Australia in order to capture breathtaking shots of the bleak landscape. Also: "A Healing Art," about artificial-eye makers; the animated "Danny and Annie, Part I," about a Brooklyn couple's 27 years together, and "Danny and Annie, Part II," in which fatal illness cuts short the couple's time together.

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Air date: Aug 24, 2010

If one believes that dreams can come true, what does that mean if our dreams bring bad news? Filmmaker Amy Hardie found herself pondering this question when she awoke one night from a powerful and vivid dream in which her horse had died. Hardie went out to her stable to see how her horse was doing, only to find that it had died just as it had in her dream. While Hardie rarely remembered her dreams and cast a skeptical eye on the notion of psychic prognostication, the incident had a profound impact on her, and she became more than a bit worried when shortly before her 48th birthday she had similarly realistic dream in which she died shortly before turning 49. Hardie chose to chronicle the next year of her life, as she discussed her suddenly active dream life with neurologists, psychiatrists, a variety of spiritual thinkers, and of course, her family. The film that resulted, The Edge of Dreaming, is a meditation on mortality, the unconscious, and the state of the world in a time when the environment is in an increasingly precarious state. The Edge of Dreaming was an official selection at the 2009 Amsterdam International Documentary Film Festival.

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Air date: Aug 31, 2010

Donna and Jeff Sadowsky are a couple from Long Island who are raising two teenage sons and a three-year-old adopted daughter. Deciding they would like another child, the Sadowskys decide to try adopting again, and arrange to take custody of Fang Sui-yong, an eight-year-old girl from China. Donna and Jeff rename the girl Faith and bring her into their home, but the adjustment is harder for everyone than they expected. Faith is clearly not happy to be uprooted from her home and culture and taken from the foster family she had come to love; it doesn't help that the Sadowskys are not fluent in Chinese and have trouble communicating with the confused and moody youngster. Filmmaker Stephanie Wang-Breal was on hand for Faith's first year and a half with her new family, and Wo Ai Ni Mommy ("I love you Mommy" in Chinese) is a documentary which follows the adoption process and Faith's struggle to adapt to a new life, as well as the Sadowsky Family's efforts to help a young girl without parents and their occasional doubts about the wisdom of their actions. Wo Ai Ni Mommy was an official selection at the 2010 Silverdocs Documentary Film Festival.

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Amy Hardie
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