'POV' at 20
By Belinda Acosta, Fri., June 29, 2007
Twenty years isn't much, until you consider all that can change in that time. In 20 years, an infant can grow into a young adult. Portable phones shrank from the size of small dumbbells to that of a candy bar. Twenty years ago, everyone wanted a Walkman to carry their tunes, not imagining an even smaller device that didn't require cassette tapes or CDs would force their Walkman onto the garage-sale table. Twenty years ago, a colleague of mine was singing the praises of Betamax, berating those of us who had migrated to VHS. He was also hanging on to the idea that his comb-over covered his bald spot, but that's another story.
On television, cable TV was just a twinkle. HBO wasn't any better than regular TV. Then, it was known for carrying sporting events instead of cutting-edge dramas. The evening news was still something most watched in the evening; again, on one of the big three networks. PBS was the only place independent film and voices could be found, something that has come under fire lately but that still, for those who are still not cable or Internet ready, is the one place to see the world with the touch of a button.
One of PBS's longest-running series, POV, hits 20 this year. This year's season, launched last week, takes on both a local and international flair, featuring films that speak to those who have the least access to larger forums of communication but whose stories are compelling, intense, and perhaps, by having a larger audience aware of what's happening half a world away, can help all realize that the world is smaller than we think. Here's a glimpse at the next two episodes:
Standing Silent Nation (D: Suree Towfighnia and Courtney Hermann): Tribal rights and the federal government's drug war clash in this film documenting a Lakota leader's quest to grow industrial hemp. Although hemp products can be sold in the United States, it's a felony to grow it, as Alex White Plume discovered in a tragicomic series of events.
Revolution '67 (D: Marylou Tibaldo-Bongiorno): A look back at the 1967 Newark Uprisings. Conducting the heat of the period Vietnam, campus unrest, political assassinations, and a brewing counterculture the Newark Uprising occurred after a black cab driver was stopped for a traffic violation. A rumor that he had been beaten and killed by police set off a six-day revolt that revealed the deeper tensions between local police and the impoverished, predominantly black neighborhoods, but more about the larger, unseen fears and instability of a world in flux.
Unless otherwise indicated, all POV episodes air Tuesdays at 10pm on KLRU. Check local listings for additional films in the series and airtimes.
Procter & Gamble Productions and the New York Television Festival are searching nationwide for comic actors to star in a new comedy pilot. Short comedy sketches featuring original material are needed and can be submitted online. Selected finalists representing different parts of the nation will be flown to New York for the festival in September to compete for the main prize, being the featured stars in a new comedy pilot called The Procter & Gamble Productions Comedy Hour. The NYTVF is a new showcase for independent television. Submissions may be uploaded at www.nytvf.com/2007_contests_pgp or at MSN Soapbox. The deadline is Aug. 3. For more information on the NYTVF, go to www.nytvf.com.
Do You 'Docublog'?
Stories about Central Texas should be told from those who are living here, shouldn't they? That's the thought behind a new project in development at KLRU, Docubloggers. The program invites work by local filmmakers showing some part of the Central Texas experience in a fresh and innovative way. Set to premiere in September, potential docubloggers can get tips, see examples of other work, and get inspired at www.docubloggers.org.
Props, Kudos, Huzzahs
"It's Easier Than You Think," an episode of the Public Access Community Television series Cooking With Marie, has won a Telly Award. The Tellys recognize the best in local, regional, and cable programming. Both commercial and video or film productions are recognized, with various subcategories for each. Cooking With Marie is produced and hosted by Austin attorney and foodie Marie Hejl. The series is co-produced, directed, and edited by Emanuel Limuel Jr. Hejl and Limuel distribute Cooking With Marie to more than 40 stations around the country and internationally, including some commercial networks where it competes with syndicated, daytime talk shows. Cooking With Marie airs locally on Austin cable Channel 16 Mondays at 7:30pm.