Docs

“We Are The Radical Monarchs”, “Advocate” among ‘POV’ 33rd season premieres

The 33rd season of long-standing PBS documentary strand ‘POV’ will kick off this July with Linda Goldstein Knowlton’s We Are The Radical Monarchs. ‘POV’ returns with 13 features, 80% of which are ...
April 29, 2020

The 33rd season of long-standing PBS documentary strand ‘POV’ will kick off this July with Linda Goldstein Knowlton’s We Are The Radical Monarchs.

‘POV’ returns with 13 features, 80% of which are directed by women and more than two-thirds by filmmakers of color.

More than half of the titles are international, featuring filmmakers from Australia, Cameroon, Chile, China, India and Kenya.

Grace Lee and Marjan Safinia’s previously announced multi-part documentary And She Could Be Next, about a movement of women of color fighting to transform American politics from the ground up, will precede the season as a special presentation airing June 29 and 30.

Premieres will continue through fall 2020, with primetime specials airing in early 2020 along with short, streaming and interactive releases throughout the season.

We Are The Radical Monarchs (pictured), premiering July 20 at 9 p.m. ET/PT, first debuted at the 2019 SXSW Film Festival.

A co-presentation of Latino Public Broadcasting, the film documents a group of young girls of color — the “Radical Monarchs” — in Oakland, California, who earn badges for completing units on such subjects as being an LGBTQ ally, preserving the environment and disability justice.

Radical Monarchs co-founders Anayvette Martinez and Marilyn Hollinquest share their journey as they grow the group in a city with a “deep history of organizing movements.”

Rachel Leah Jones and Philippe Bellaïche’s Advocate, premiering July 27, sees Israeli lawyer Lea Tsemel, known for her decades-long defense of Palestinians accused of resisting the occupation, take on two contentious court cases.

The film, which first screened at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival, was shortlisted for Best Documentary Feature at the 92nd Academy Awards.

Airing Aug. 3, Rosine Mbakam’s Chez Jolie Coiffure takes viewers inside an underground hair salon with its proprietor, a Cameroonian immigrant named Sabine, to examine the “critical” role of hair salons in an African immigrant community in Brussels.

Archana Atul Phadje’s About Love, meanwhile, will air on ‘POV’ Aug. 10. The film portrays the “nuanced” dynamics of the Phadke family, of which three generations live together in Mumbai.

Wendy Ewald and Elizabeth Barret’s Portraits and Dreams sees photographer and artist Ewald revisit photographs created by Kentucky schoolchildren, whom she helped guide, in the 1970s to learn how the “lives and visions” of her former students have changed. The film premieres Sept. 7.

An official selection of the 2019 Toronto International Film Festival, Eva Mulvad’s Love Child follows a young Iranian couple who decide to flee the country with their son. It premieres Sept. 14.

Debuting Sept. 21, Maya Newell’s In My Blood It Runs follows 10-year-old Aboriginal Dujuan, who face increasing pressures and scrutiny from school, welfare authorities and the police, as his family fights to give him an Arrernte education alongside his western education. The film is a co-presentation of Pacific Islanders in Communications.

Elsewhere, Yang Sun and S. Leo Chiang’s Our Time Machine premieres Sept. 28.

The film, which won Best Documentary Cinematography at the 2019 Tribeca Film Festival, follows artist Maleonn, who upon realizing his father is suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, creates the autobiographical stage performance “Papa’s Time Machine,” featuring life-size puppets.

‘POV’ set an Oct. 5 premiere for Alex Rivera and Cristina Ibarra’s docu-thriller The Infiltrators, which tells the story of two young immigrants who get detained by U.S. Border Patrol on purpose and put in a for-profit detention center as part of a mission to stop deportations.

The Infiltrators is a co-presentation of Latino Public Broadcaster and first debuted at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival.

Sam Soko’s Softie, premiering Oct. 12, follows political activist Boniface “Softie” Mwangi, awho decides to run for political office in Kenya after several years of fighting injustice in his country.

Softie won the Special Jury Award and the 2020 Sundance Film Festival.

Maite Alberdi’s The Mole Agent, which also received the Special Jury prize at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival, premieres on ‘POV’ Jan. 25, 2021.

The film follows 83-year-old Sergio, who is sent as an undercover spy to a Chilean retirement home to track suspected elder abuse.

Finally, Loira Limbal’s Through The Night, headed to ‘POV’ May 10, 2021, takes viewers to a 24-hour daycare in New Rochelle New York.

The film was selected for the 2020 Tribeca Film Festival, which was postponed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Through the Night, Portraits and Dreams, Softie and The Mole Agent are part of ‘POV’ co-productions, part of its effort to provide early project support for diverse and underrepresented artists.

“Authentic independent storytelling is always important,” said Justine Nagan, executive director of American Documentary and one of POV’s executive producers, in a statement. “But right now it feels essential. We don’t know whether this pandemic will persist into the summer or beyond, but we know that viewers will need stories like these as we move through collective trauma. Artists have a way of taking us to new places and helping us see with fresh eyes. We are proud to showcase their work and serve national audiences with media that will move them.”

About The Author
Daniele Alcinii is a news editor at realscreen, the leading international publisher of non-fiction film and television industry news and content. He joined the RS team in 2015 with experience in journalism following a stint out west with Sun Media in Edmonton's Capital Region, and with communications work in Melbourne, Australia and Toronto. You can follow him on Twitter at @danielealcinii.

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