51 Birch Street (#120)
Documentary filmmaker Doug Block had every reason to believe his parent's 54-year marriage was a good one. So he isn't prepared when, just a few months after his mothers' unexpected death, his 83-year old father, Mike, phones to announce that he's moving to Florida to live with "Kitty", his secretary from 40 years before. Always close to his mother and equally distant from his father, he's stunned and suspicious.
When Mike and Kitty marry and sell the longtime family home, Doug returns to suburban Long Island with camera in hand for one last visit. And there, among the lifetime of memories being packed away forever, he discovers 3 large boxes filled with his moms' daily diaries going back 35 years.
Realizing he has only a few short weeks before the movers come and his dad will be gone for good, the veteran documentarian sticks around, determined to investigate the mystery of his parents' marriage. Through increasingly candid conversations with family members and friends, and constantly surprising diary revelations, Doug finally comes to peace with two parents who are far more complex and troubled than he ever imagined.
Both unexpectedly funny and heartbreaking, 51 Birch Street is the first-person account of Block's unpredictable journey through a whirlwind of dramatic life-changing events: the death of his mother, the uncovering of decades of family secrets, and the ensuing reconciliation with his father. What begins as his own intimate, autobiographical story, soon evolves into a broader meditation on the universal themes of love, marriage, fidelity and the mystery of family.
51 Birch Street spans 60 years and 3 generations, and weaves together hundreds of faded snapshots, 8mm home movies and two decades of verit? footage. The result is a timeless tale of what can happen when our most fundamental assumptions about family are suddenly called into questio" [86 minutes]
This episode has not aired in the past few months on Iowa Public Television.
All Upcoming Episodes
Lulu Sessions (#213)
LuLu is unlike anyone you've ever met. A hard-living, chain-smoking rebel with a tender heart. A poet with a potty mouth. Farm girl. Former cheerleader. World-class cancer researcher. Beloved... [86 minutes]
Dignity Harbor (#220)
One of nine documentary nominees for the 2012 Student Academy Award, Dignity Harbor chronicles a group of homeless people living in an encampment along the Mississippi River in downtown St. Louis.... [56 minutes]
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The Pruitt-Igoe Myth (#209)
This documentary tells the story of the transformation of St. Louis in the decades after World War II, through the lens of the infamous Pruitt-Igoe housing development and the residents who called... [56 minutes]
Trash Dance (#302)
Choreographer Allison Orr finds beauty and grace in garbage trucks, and in the unseen men and women who pick up our trash. Filmmaker Andrew Garrison follows Orr as she rides along with Austin... [86 minutes]
American Heart (#303)
Seven years in the making, American Heart takes viewers on an intimate journey into the lives of three refugees who now call Minnesota home. All of them confront life-threatening health emergencies... [116 minutes]
Guacho Del Norte (#304)
Since the 1970's, shepherds from South America have been brought to work in the American west. The film follows Eraldo Pacheco, a Chilean, on his journey to Idaho on a three-year contract. [86 minutes]
These episodes of America Reframed aired in the last few months on Iowa Public Television.
- Drivers Wanted (#211)
- Come Hell or High Water: The Battle for Turkey Creek (#219)
- Downeast (#210)
- The Pruitt-Igoe Myth (#209)
- My Brooklyn/Fate of a Salesman (#208)
- Town Hall (#217)
- Reserved to Fight (#221)
- Broken Heart Land (#222)
- Dignity Harbor (#220)
- Rachel Is (#216)
- Mothers of Bedford (#215)
- Push: Madison vs. Madison (#104)
- The New Public (#204)
- The Prep School Negro (#212)
- The Medicine Game (#203)
- Deputized (#218)
- Lulu Sessions (#213)
- My Louisiana Love (#108)
- Plagues and Pleasures on the Salton Sea (#206)