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POV Season 18 Episodes

12 Episodes 2005 - 2005

Episode 1

The Education of Shelby Knox

Tue, Jun 21, 2005 90 mins

"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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Episode 2

Big Enough

Tue, Jun 28, 2005 60 mins

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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Episode 3

Street Fight

Tue, Jul 5, 2005 90 mins

"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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Episode 4

The Fire Next Time

Tue, Jul 12, 2005 60 mins

"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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Episode 5

The Brooklyn Connection

Tue, Jul 19, 2005 60 mins

"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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Episode 6

The Self-Made Man

Tue, Jul 26, 2005 60 mins

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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Episode 7

In the Realms of the Unreal

Tue, Aug 2, 2005 90 mins

"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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Episode 8


Tue, Aug 16, 2005 27 mins

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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Episode 9

Bright Leaves

Tue, Aug 23, 2005 120 mins

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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Episode 10

Hiding and Seeking: Faith and Tolerance After the Holocaust

Tue, Aug 30, 2005 90 mins

Filmmaker Menachem Daum sets out to pass on an "ethical legacy" to his adult sons in "Hiding and Seeking: Faith and Tolerance After the Holocaust." Daum, an Orthodox Jew, sees signs of intolerance in his sons Akiva and Tzvi Dovid, both of whom are Talmudic scholars. So he takes them to Poland in search of the Christian family that sheltered their maternal grandfather during the Holocaust. The goal, says Menachem, is for them to recognize "that holiness can be found in all people."

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Episode 11

The Hobart Shakespeareans

Tue, Sep 6, 2005 60 mins

"The Hobart Shakespeareans" follows tireless L.A. teacher Rafe Esquith as he challenges his inner-city fifth graders with the Bard. The results are gratifying, and Esquith's class (at Hobart Elementary in Central L.A.) has attracted national attention. Indeed, Michael York and Ian McKellen are seen visiting. But for Esquith, who's as charismatic as he is indefatigable, success comes simply by heeding the motto he expects his students to live by as well: "Be nice, work hard."

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Episode 12

Omar & Pete

Tue, Sep 13, 2005 90 mins

"Omar & Pete" follows two longtime Baltimore convicts as they struggle to turn their lives around as they approach 50. "I want to be part of 'the good society'," says Leon "Omar" Mason as he's paroled after serving 10 years. Soon he has started a car-wash business and has moved into a group home, where he meets old friend William "Pete" Duncan, who has been out of jail for 10 months and is showing every sign of success. But for Omar, drugs are a constant lure, and he can't always resist.

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