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POV Season 16 Episodes

13 Episodes 2003 - 2004

Episode 1

Flag Wars

Tue, Jun 17, 2003 90 mins

A look at how gentrification has pitted blacks against gays in one Columbus, Ohio, neighborhood. The title takes its name from the rainbow flags that many gays fly from their newly purchased Victorian homes in Columbus's Olde Towne---and from the red, green and black ones flown by some of Olde Towne's entrenched blacks. The trouble for them, though, is that they're becoming less entrenched, and director Linda Goode Bryant captures this in numerous ways, some subtle, some not subtle at all.

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Episode 2

Georgie Girl

Fri, Jun 20, 2003 60 mins

A profile of Georgina Beyer, a member of New Zealand's parliament who is, by all accounts, the first transsexual ever elected to a national legislature. The hour juxtaposes clips of Beyer as she speaks in Parliament and meets with constituents in her largely white rural district (Beyer is also a Maori) with a biography in which Beyer recalls her past life. Before her election to Parliament, Beyer was a town mayor. But before that she was a stripper (seen in another clip) and a prostitute. Then she turned to acting and singing. One song she's seen singing here: "I'm Changing."

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Episode 3

Larry v. Lockney

Tue, Jul 1, 2003 60 mins

"Larry v. Lockney" follows the progress of West Texas farmer Larry Tannahill's lawsuit against the school board of his home town, Lockney, Texas., for instituting mandatory drug testing in its junior and senior high schools. Texas filmmakers Mark Birnbaum and Jim Schermbeck interview a number of Lockney residents---students included---all of whom support the policy. But Tannahill nonetheless refused to allow his 12-year-old son, Brady, to be tested, then approached the ACLU when school authorities treated Brady as though he had failed the test. "I want to see a drug policy," the unassuming Tannahill says simply. "But I want to see people's rights protected."

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Episode 4

Discovering Dominga

Tue, Jul 8, 2003 60 mins

A profile of a Guatemalan orphan who was adopted by an Iowa couple and taken back to her homeland, where she recalls the 1982 military massacre that killed her parents and sister and some 170 others in her village, Rio Negro. "The army concluded that Rio Negro was a breeding ground for guerrillas," says the town's priest, Rev. Roberto Avalos, "and all this became a death sentence for the people of Rio Negro." At first haunted (events surrounding the attacks are seen in atmospheric flashbacks), Becker soon becomes consumed with rage and her quest for justice. And that involves the exhumation of her father's body.

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Episode 5

The Flute Player

Tue, Jul 22, 2003 60 mins

Arn Chorn-Pond, who survived Cambodia's Khmer Rouge genocide as a child, returns to his native land from his home in Massachusetts. His mission: "I'm trying to keep our music alive," he says, "because so much of our culture has been destroyed." Indeed, most Cambodian musicians were killed by the Khmer Rouge, so Arn (ironically, he survived because his captors needed someone to play propaganda songs) seeks out fellow survivors for his Cambodian Master Performers Program. They're seen recording and teaching, and recalling old horrors. Says Chek Mach, a successful opera singer who was literally forced to sing for her supper during the Khmer Rouge era: "When Pol Pot took over, everything stopped."

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Episode 6

90 Miles

Tue, Jul 29, 2003 60 mins

In "90 Miles," Cuban-born filmmaker Juan Carlos Zaldivar explores the emotional fallout from his family's decision to immigrate to Miami during the 1980 Mariel boat lift. Zaldivar, who was 13 and an ardent Communist, was an unenthusiastic émigré, but he has thrived in the U.S., as have his mother and sisters. Not so his father, who felt "betrayed" by Castro, but soon became "defeated by the American dream" (he's a department-store clerk in Miami). This hour consists of vintage news footage and video of the Zaldivars in the U.S., and it follows Juan Carlos as he returns to Holguin, his home town in eastern Cuba, in 1998.

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Episode 7

American Aloha: Hula Beyond Hawaii

Tue, Aug 5, 2003 60 mins

"American Aloha: Hula Beyond Hawaii" follows three "kunu hula" (master hula teachers) as they keep the "heartbeat of Hawaiian culture" alive among Hawaiians in California. The three are seen teaching and directing performances. And expounding. "I can go anywhere and be Hawaiian," says Mark Ho'omalu od Oakland, who describes his sometimes unorthadox hulas as "brash, aggressive, smart-alecky and sassy." But Sissy Kaio of Carson is more concerned with maintaining traditions than she is with innovation. "I've been wanting to go home for some time," she says. "But I can't because I have a responsibility here."

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Episode 8

West 47th Street

Tue, Aug 19, 2003 90 mins

"West 47th Street," a cinéma-vérité documentary, follows four people recovering from mental illness at the Manhattan rehabilitation center Fountain House. Tex Gordon, who was institutionalized as a teen, has recovered to the point that a judge deems him "competent." "I'm my own boss," he exults. Zeinab Wali is an excellent cook, and Frances Olivero takes an interest in politics and is seen lobbying in Albany. But Fitzroy Frederick still wrestles with demons and fights with other Fountain House people, Wali among them. Griping after one confrontation, Frederick calls Fountain House "one step out of the psychiatric ward."

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Episode 9

Family Fundamentals

Tue, Aug 26, 2003 90 mins

In "Family Fundamentals," filmmaker Arthur Dong explores the relationships two gay men and a lesbian have with their religiously conservative families. Kathleen Jester's mother, a Pentacostalist, founded a ministry in San Diego for the parents of children who have "become" gay, while Brett Matthews, a former Air Force officer, is the son of a Mormon bishop in Utah. Brian Bennett, a gay Catholic and a Republican Party activist in California, doesn't discuss problems with his own family, but with his "surrogate father" (and long-time boss), former congressman Robert Dornan, an outspoken opponent of gay rights.

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Episode 10

Soldados: Chicanos in Viet Nam; The Sixth Section

Tue, Sep 2, 2003 60 mins

Two short films focusing on Latinos. The first concerns a "tribe" from a California farm town who served in Vietnam; the second is about migrant workers in upstate New York combating poverty in their native Mexico. Charley Trujillo, the author of the 1991 National Book Award winner "Soldados: Chicanos in Vietnam," coproduced the first film, in which he and his friends from Corcoran, Cal., recall their lives before, during and after Vietnam. Then, filmmaker Alex Rivera follows Mexican workers in Newburgh, N.Y., whose "Grupo Union" funds public-works projects for their Puebla home town of Boqueron out of their meager salaries.

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Episode 11

State of Denial

Tue, Sep 16, 2003 90 mins

South African president Thabo Mbeki is in a "State of Denial" about his country's AIDS crisis---with tragic results. That's the contention of this angry, haunting report, filmed between 2000 and 2002 by director-producer Elaine Epstein, a South African native. Epstein intercuts profiles of AIDS patients (two of them children) and activists with segments chronicling the Mbeki government's efforts to deal with AIDS while refusing to acknowledge its link to HIV---and refusing to sanction widespread use of anti-HIV drugs.

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Episode 12

What I Want My Words to Do to You

Tue, Dec 16, 2003 90 mins

Playwright Eve Ensler is followed as she conducts a writing workshop for inmates at a women's prison in Bedford Hills, N.Y. Later, a troupe of actresses read the prisoners' works at a performance in the prison. Topics range from the circumstances surrounding their imprisonment to explanations of how they got scars on their bodies, and they also write letters to loved ones. They're exercises in self-discovery, as the women struggle to come to grips with what they have done, and seek redemption.

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Episode 13

Love & Diane

Wed, Apr 21, 2004 120 mins

"Love and Diane," an eye-openingly intimate chronicle of five years in the lives of an emotionally fragile young Brooklyn mother and her own mother, who, between the two, embody many of the pathologies of poverty, drugs and HIV among them. For much of producer-director Jennifer Dworkin's cinéma-vérité film, Love tries to regain custody of her son, while Diane, who had lost custody of Love and her siblings years earlier, tries to get off welfare. They make progress, but for Love especially, it's halting, and ultimate success is far from certain.

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