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America Reframed

Town Hall (#217)

This documentary casts an unflinching eye at Katy and John, two Tea Party activists from the battleground state of Pennsylvania who believe America's salvation lies in a return to true conservative values. [76 minutes] Closed Captioning

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  • Chisholm '72- Unbought & Unbossed 1 (#101)

    In 1968, Shirley Chisholm becomes the first black woman elected to Congress. In 1972, she becomes the first black woman to run for President. Shunned by the political establishment, she's supported by a motley crew of blacks, feminists and young voters. Their campaign-trail adventures are frenzied, fierce, and fundamentally right on! After the 2004 elections, her story reminds all Americans that, in Chisholm's words, "the institutions of this country belong to all of the people who inhabit it." [86 minutes]

  • Street Fight (#102)

    This program follows the turbulent campaign of Cory Booker, a 32-year-old Rhodes Scholar/Yale Law graduate running for mayor of Newark, New Jersey, against Sharpe James, the four-term incumbent twice his age. An urban David and Goliath story, the film chronicles the young man's struggle against the city's entrenched political machine, which routinely uses strong-arm tactics to hold onto power. The battle sheds light on important questions about democracy, power, poverty and race. When the mayor accuses the Ivy League-educated challenger of not being "really black," the campaign forces voters to examine how they define race in America. [86 minutes]

  • La Americana (#103)

    When nine-year-old Carla suffers a life-threatening accident, her mother, Carmen, must leave her behind and make the dangerous and illegal journey from Bolivia to the U.S., where she hopes to earn enough to save her daughter's life. Working in New York to support Carla's medical needs, Carmen struggles in vain to legalize her immigration status, and wrestles with the prospect of never seeing her daughter again. Then, after six years of separation, Congress proposes "amnesty" legislation that could allow Carmen and Carla to be reunited at last. Filmed across three countries in a captivating cinematic narrative, LA AMERICANA is Carmen's story, and the story of millions of illegal immigrants who must leave their families behind to pursue the elusive American dream. [86 minutes]

  • Push: Madison vs. Madison (#104)

    Madison Park Vocational High School, Boston, Massachusetts. This documentary film chronicles the stories surrounding the players of an inner-city high school basketball team over the course of a potentially historic season. It is as much about the challenges facing inner-city youth and the public school system, as it is about a school's passion for basketball and a coach's devotion to his players. The Madison Park Cardinals are a dysfunctional, but talented high school hoops team, sprung up from the Boston streets and playgrounds. For the players on the team, basketball is oftentimes their escape, their crutch, and their way forward. In the center of this kettle of hope and chaos is Coach Dennis Wilson, a unique hero for our times. A former semi-professional player, philosophizing history teacher and disciplinarian, Coach Wilson chants, harasses and cajoles his charges onto the court and in his classroom as a way to instill lessons that go beyond winning and losing. In the midst of a 19-0 season, on the eve of the state tournament, life for the MP Cardinals, players, coaches, family, and friends, proves to be anything but ordinary. As players struggle to stay in school and on the team, a slew of obstacles oppose them, from poverty to academics, from neighborhood rivalries to city-wide tragedies, they put to trial the team's season motto: "The only team that can beat Madison, is Madison." Before the end of the last whistle and as the team heads into the its' final regular season games and tournament showdowns, MP Pride will be sorely tested. [113 minutes]

  • Passionate Politics (#105)

    Passionate Politics is a new one-hour documentary that brings Charlotte's story to life, from idealistic young civil rights activist to lesbian separatist to internationally-recognized leader of a campaign to put women's rights, front and center, on the global human rights agenda. Every step of the way, this is also the story of modern feminist activism, from its' roots in the 1960's struggles for social justice to its? outward-branching connections with campaigns against gender-based violence in other nations, from the 1980's through the present day. A Joyce Warshow Film. Program extra: Director Tami Gold and Charlotte Bunch discuss the making of the film. [86 minutes]

  • Trust (#106)

    TRUST begins when Marlin, an 18-year-old Hondurena, shares a hidden history about her childhood with a neighborhood youth theater company. Marlin's story is about resilience: she endured rape as young girl, survived a harsh and difficult journey from Honduras to the U.S., suffered further abuse at the hands of her own brother, and overcame substance addiction. The film captures the amazing response from her fellow actors and the unexpected journey her story takes them on together: they transform Marlin's story into a daring, original play and Marlin re-claims power over the narrative of her life story. TRUST is about creativity and the unexpected resources inside youth who may be discounted because of their youth, race or ethnicity or because they come from under-resourced neighborhoods without access to arts programs. [116 minutes]

  • Skydance (#107)

    The Brooklyn Bridge, the Empire State Building, the World Trade Center: for more than 120 years, Mohawk ironworkers have raised America's modern cityscapes. They are called 'sky walkers' because they walk fearlessly atop steel beams just a foot wide, high above the city. Who are these Mohawk sky walkers? What is their secret for overcoming fear? Has 'sky walking' replaced an ancient rite of passage? Or is it the pure need to adapt in order to survive? And what is their life really like, when every Friday at quitting time, they jump in their cars and make the eight-hour drive up north to their families on the reservation? SKYDANCER is a feature length documentary that takes a provocative look at Indian life in the 21st Century: from the fragile hierarchy on top of the breath-taking steel structures in New York City to life 'on the Rez' where problems like unemployment and crime make it hard to see the pristine beauty of the surrounding lands. The film allows exceptional access to the lives of these ironworkers and in the process offers an intriguingly different perspective on contemporary Native Americans. [116 minutes]

  • My Louisiana Love (#108)

    MY LOUISIANA LOVE traces a young woman's quest to find a place in her Native American community as it reels from decades of environmental degradation. Monique Verdin returns to Southeast Louisiana to reunite with her Houma Indian family. But soon she sees that her people's traditional way of life is threatened by a cycle of man-made environmental crises. Hurricane Katrina and the BP oil leak are just the latest rounds in this century-old cycle that is forcing Monique's clan to adapt in new ways. Monique must overcome the loss of her house, her father, and her partner, and redefine the meaning of home. [77 minutes]

  • Meat Hooked (#109)

    Meat Hooked! is part history of butchering but mostly an entertaining look at the current phenomenon of environmentally conscience twenty and thirtysomethings bringing butchering back as a kind of new green color job. [56 minutes]

  • AbUSed: The Postville Raid (#110)

    ABUSED: THE POSTVILLE RAID looks at the effects of US Enforcement Immigration Policies on communities, families and children. The film tells the gripping personal stories from Postville, Iowa, the site of the most expensive and largest immigration raid in the history of the United States. [116 minutes]

  • Red Without Blue (#111)

    The intimate bond between two identical twin brothers is challenged when one decides to transition from male to female; this is the story of their evolving relationship, and the resurrection of their family from a darker past. [116 minutes]

  • 90 Miles (#112)

    Probing and thoughtful, Juan Carlos Zaldvar's 90 Miles is a personal memoir that offers a rare glimpse into Cuba, a country as mythologized to Americans as the United States is to the rest of the world. The Cuban-born filmmaker recounts the strange fate that brought him as a teenage communist to exile in Miami in 1980 during the dramatic Mariel boatlift. Zaldvar uses news clips, family photos and home movies to depict the emotional journey of an immigrant father and son struggling to understand the historical and individual forces shaping their relationships and identities in a new country. A Latino Public Broadcasting (LPB) Co-presentation. A Diverse Voices Project Selection. [116 minutes]

  • All Me: The Winfred Rembert Story (#113)

    With his intensely autobiographical paintings depicting the day-to-day existence of African Americans in the segregated South, Winfred Rembert has preserved an important, if often disturbing, chapter of American history. His indelible images of toiling in the cotton fields, singing in church, dancing in juke joints, or working on a chain gang are especially powerful, not just because he lived every moment, but because he experienced so much of the injustice and bigotry they show as recently as the 1960s and 70s. Now in his sixties, Rembert has developed a growing following among collectors and connoisseurs, and enjoyed a number of tributes and exhibitions of his work. The artist relives his turbulent life, abundantly visualized by his extensive paintings and, in a series of intimate reminiscences, shows us how even the most painful memories can be transformed into something meaningful and beautiful. A glowing portrait of how an artist, and his art, is made, the documentary is also a triumphant saga of race in contemporary America. [86 minutes]

  • America Dreams Deferred (#114)

    A young Latino man, William Caballero, juggles unconditional family love with the challenges of breaking the cycle that has kept so many relatives from reaching their dreams. Set against a backdrop of Coney Island and Fayetteville, North Carolina, an NYU graduate student turns the camera on his Puerto Rican-American family plagued by social, medical and public health issues. U.S. health care and culture is examined through this young man's lens, which also explores both his and family's dreams. Many immigrants in the U.S. aspire to achieve the American dream and this Latino family comprised of immigrants to second-generation Americans is no different. As subjective as the barometer of reaching this goal is, the film begs the ultimate question: who attains their American dream? [91 minutes]

  • Beyond Belief (#115)

    Susan Retik and Patti Quigley are two ordinary soccer moms living in the affluent suburbs of Boston until tragedy strikes. Rather than turning inwards, grief compels these women to focus on the country where the terrorists who took their husbands' lives were trained: Afghanistan. Over the course of two years, as they cope with loss and struggle to raise their families as single mothers, these extraordinary women dedicate themselves to empowering Afghan widows whose lives have been ravaged by decades of war, poverty and oppression - factors they consider to be the root causes of terrorism. As Susan and Patti make the courageous journey from their comfortable neighborhoods to the most desperate Afghan villages, they discover a powerful bond with each other, an unlikely kinship with widows halfway around the world, and a profound way to move beyond tragedy. From the ruins of the World Trade Center to those of Kabul and back, theirs is a journey of personal strength and international reconciliation, and a testament to the vision that peace can be forged... one woman at a time. [116 minutes]

  • Trembling Before God (#116)

    A cinematic portrait of various gay Orthodox Jews who struggle to reconcile their faith and their sexual orientation. [106 minutes]

  • New Muslim Cool (#117)

    Puerto Rican-American rapper Hamza Perez pulled himself out of drug dealing and street life 12 years ago and became a Muslim. Now he's moved to Pittsburgh's tough North Side to start a new religious community, rebuild his shattered family and take his message of faith to other young people through hard-hitting hip-hop music. But when the FBI raids his mosque, Hamza must confront the realities of the post-9/11 world, and himself. New Muslim Cool takes viewers on Hamza's ride through streets, slums and jail cells; following his spiritual journey to some surprising places in an America that never stops changing. Produced in association with Latino Public Broadcasting (LPB) and the Center for Asian American Media (CAAM). [86 minutes]

  • Brother Outsider: The Life of Bayard Rustin (#118)

    During his 60-year career as an activist, organizer and "troublemaker, " Bayard Rustin formulated many of the strategies that propelled the American civil rights movement. His passionate belief in Gandhi' s philosophy of nonviolence drew Martin Luther King Jr. and other leaders to him in the 1940's and 50's; his practice of those beliefs drew the attention of the FBI and police. But his open homosexuality forced him to remain in the background, marking him again and again as a "brother outsider." Brother Outsider combines rare archival footage - some of it never before broadcast in the U.S. - with provocative interviews to illuminate the life and work of a forgotten prophet of social change. [110 minutes]

  • After Happily Ever After (#119)

    After Happily Ever After is Emmy winning filmmaker Kate Schermerhorn's quirky, funny and movingpersonal quest for the secret to a happy marriage and for answers to some timely questions about an institution which might just be due for some review. This engaging doc features an eclectic mix of long married couples -from a couple who dress alike every day; to a pair of nudists and a newlywed pair of mothers, to a feisty English widow. A lively and world-renowned group of marriage experts - including psychologist John Gottman (who can predict divorce with 90% accuracy), marrriage historian Stephanie Coontz, and a Beverly Hills divorce attorney, ground the film in fact as they piece together the history and possible future and motivations for marriage. Along the way, Schermerhorn chronicles the joys and heartbreaks of her own marriage and finds that even the best advice can?t always guarantee a happily ever after. [56 minutes]

  • 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]

  • Flying: Confessions of a Free Woman (1 of 2) (#121)

    In this two part documentary, master storyteller Jennifer Fox lays bare her own turbulent life to penetrate what it means to be a free woman today. As her drama of work and relationships unfolds over four years, our protagonist travels to over seventeen countries to understand how diverse women define their lives when there is no map. Employing an ingenious new camera technique, called "passing the camera", Fox creates a documentary language that mirrors the special way women communicate. Over intimate conversations around kitchen tables from South Africa to Russia, India and Pakistan, she initiates a groundbreaking dialogue among women, illuminating universal concerns across race, class and nationality. [116 minutes]

  • Flying: Confessions of a Free Woman (2 of 2) (#122)

    In this two part documentary, master storyteller Jennifer Fox lays bare her own turbulent life to penetrate what it means to be a free woman today. As her drama of work and relationships unfolds over four years, our protagonist travels to over seventeen countries to understand how diverse women define their lives when there is no map. Employing an ingenious new camera technique, called "passing the camera", Fox creates a documentary language that mirrors the special way women communicate. Over intimate conversations around kitchen tables from South Africa to Russia, India and Pakistan, she initiates a groundbreaking dialogue among women, illuminating universal concerns across race, class and nationality. [146 minutes]

  • Men of Hula (#123)

    This program captures the journey of legendary master teacher Robert Cazimero and the only all-male hula school in Hawai'i as they prepare to compete at the world's largest hula festival. Beyond deep-rooted stereotypes of "grass-skirt girls," the film tells a story of Hawaiian pride as the men celebrate their 30th anniversary in continuing the revival of men dancing hula. [86 minutes]

  • West 47th Street (#124)

    Mental illness is a topic rife with stereotypes and misunderstanding. Made with depth and compassion, West 47th Street is an intimate cinema verite portrait of four people struggling to recover from serious mental illness. They've all come to Fountain House, a renowned rehabilitation center in New York City's Hell's Kitchen. Over three years, the film follows its subjects as they deal with drug regimens, health issues, group homes and work programs with courage and humor. [116 minutes]

  • Big Enough (#125)

    In this intimate portrait, several dwarfs who appeared in Jan Krawitz and Thomas Ott's 1982 film Little People welcome the camera into their lives once again. Through a prism of "then and now," the characters in the film confront physical and emotional challenges with humor, grace, and sometimes, frustration. [86 minutes]

  • Follow the Leader (#126)

    A political coming-of-age documentary about three boys who want to be President. Over three life-changing years, each rethinks his beliefs and discovers who he truly wants to be as an adult. [86 minutes]

  • Building Babel (#201)

    The film follows a year in the life of Sharif El-Gamal, developer of the so-called "Ground Zero Mosque," a Muslim-led community center two blocks from the World Trade Center. With unlimited access to his home and office, the film paints a portrait of a Muslim-American businessman up against impossible odds. A passionate Brooklyn-born Muslim, Sharif El-Gamal sees Park51 as a centerpiece of his own Muslim American identity. Born of a Polish-Catholic mother and Egyptian-Muslim father, El-Gamal only turned to Islam after 9/11 shook his faith to the core, and sees Park51 as a way to give back to the Lower Manhattan community. Married to a Muslim convert and the father of two daughters, Sharif represents an Islam that remains foreign to most Americans, especially given the way the media and politicians have continued to use Park51 as a point of controversy. Despite a principle goal of helping to rebuild Lower Manhattan, opposition to the plan has been virulent and non-stop. Thousands of Americans have rallied against the prospect of a Muslim institution being constructed in such proximity to Ground Zero, and Park51 has become an internationally discussed symbol of Islam's relationship to the Western world. Building Babel follows Park51?s development through the daily experiences and struggles of the men and women trying to make it a reality. [86 minutes]

  • Radio Unnameable (#202)

    Legendary radio personality Bob Fass revolutionized late night FM radio by serving as a cultural hub for music, politics and audience participation for nearly 50 years. Long before today's innovations in social media, Fass utilized the airwaves for mobilization encouraging luminaries and ordinary listeners to talk openly and take the program in surprising directions. Fass and his committed group of friends, peers, and listeners proved time and time again through massive, planned meetups and other similar events that radio was not a solitary experience but rather a platform to unite communities of like-minded, or even just open-minded, individuals without the dependence on large scale corporate backing. Radio Unnameable is a visual and aural collage that pulls from Bob Fass's immense archive of audio from his program, film, photographs, and video that has been sitting dormant until now. Revealing the underexposed world of independent radio, the film illustrates the intimate relationship Fass and, by extension, WBAI formed with their listeners that were strong enough to maintain the station's role as one of the most successful listener-sponsored programs in the United States. [116 minutes]

  • The Medicine Game (#203)

    The Medicine Game shares the remarkable journey of two brothers from the Onondaga Nation driven by a single goal; to beat the odds and play lacrosse for national powerhouse Syracuse University. The obstacles in their way are frequent and daunting. In their darkest hour, and with their dreams crumbling around them, the boys must look to their family and to their Native teachings for guidance and stability. It is their search for identity that transitions The Medicine Game from a playful coming of age story, into an important study of modern Native American life. The film follows their story over the next six years as they struggle to rebuild their friendship, rescue a fading childhood dream, and gain a more resolute understanding of their identity and culture, both as athletes and the next generation of the Onondaga people. [86 minutes]

  • The New Public (#204)

    The New Public follows the lives of the ambitious educators and lively students of Bed Stuy's new Brooklyn Community Arts and Media High School (BCAM) over the course of the founding year, with the filmmakers returning three years later to again document the senior year of that first graduating class. Beginning in August 2006, just days before BCAM will open its doors for the first time. Dr. James O'Brien, former D.J. and point guard turned first-time principal, and his faculty of eight, take to the streets in Bed Stuy, Brooklyn to recruit students. Their enthusiasm is infectious and enticing: strong support for the individual student, a rigorous academic curriculum and unconventional arts electives taught by local artists. While at first running smoothly, as months go by, conflicts arise, and by the end of freshman year, the school's idealistic vision is addressing some issues, but aggravating others. Flash-forward to September 2010, the first day of senior year, the school is complete with 4 grades and 450 students, with a faculty that has grown from 8 to 50. Of the 104 students in their founding class, almost half have transferred or dropped out, leaving a senior class of 60 and only 30 on track to graduate. BCAM has made major adjustments, most notably, more disciplinary structure and no arts electives for seniors. What happens in the 4 years is both compelling and frustrating, and it's what makes The New Public a critical document of the complexities, frustrations and personal dramas that put public education at the center of national debate. What makes a kid or a school succeed are a series of complicated, interconnected dynamics, including, a re-evaluation of how we define success. The program includes a conversation with Host Natasha Del Toro and special guests about issues raised in the film. [116 minutes]

  • Code of the West (#205)

    At a time when the world is rethinking its drug policies large and small, one state rises to the forefront. Once a pioneer in legalizing medical marijuana, the state of Montana may now become the first to repeal its medical marijuana law. Set against the sweeping vistas of the Rockies, the steamy lamplight of marijuana grow houses, and the bustling halls of the State Capitol, CODE OF THE WEST follows the political process of marijuana policy reform and the recent federal crackdown on medical marijuana growers across the country. Chronicling the opinions and reactions of patients, growers, politicians, activists, and community members on both sides of the issue, the story paints an image of what happens when federal and state governments clash with communities in the crossfire,and the individuals involved who ultimately pay the price. [86 minutes]

  • Plagues and Pleasures on the Salton Sea (#206)

    Once known as the California Riviera, the Salton Sea is now called one of America's worst ecological disasters: a fetid, stagnant, salty lake, that coughs up dead fish and birds by the thousands in frequent die-offs that occur. However, amongst the ruins of this man-made mistake, a few remaining eccentrics (a roadside nudist, a religious folk artist, a Hungarian revolutionary, and real estate speculators) struggle to keep a remodeled version of the original Salton Sea dream alive. Accidentally created by an engineering error in 1905, reworked in the 50's as a world class vacation destination for the rich and famous, suddenly abandoned after a series of hurricanes, floods, and fish die-offs, and finally almost saved by Congressman Sonny Bono, the Salton Sea has a bittersweet past. The film shares these people's stories and their difficulties in keeping their unique community alive, as the nearby cities of Los Angeles and San Diego attempt to take the agricultural water run-off that barely sustains the Salton Sea. While covering the historical, economic, political, and environmental issues that face the Sea, PLAGUES AND PLEASURES offers an offbeat portrait of the peculiar and individualistic people who populate its shores. It is an epic western tale of fantastic real estate ventures and failed boomtowns, inner-city gangs fleeing to white small town America, and the subjective notion of success and failure amidst the ruins of the past. [86 minutes]

  • The Way We Get By (#207)

    On call 24 hours a day for the past five years, a group of senior citizens has made history by greeting nearly 800,000 American troops at a tiny airport in Bangor, Maine. This film is an intimate look at three of these greeters as they confront the universal losses that come with aging and rediscover their reason for living. Bill Knight, Jerry Mundy and Joan Gaudet find the strength to overcome their personal battles and transform their lives through service. This inspirational and surprising story shatters the stereotypes of today's senior citizens as the greeters redefine the meaning of community. [86 minutes]

  • My Brooklyn/Fate of a Salesman (#208)

    My Brooklyn is a documentary about Director Kelly Anderson?s personal journey, as a Brooklyn "gentrifier," to understand the forces reshaping her neighborhood along lines of race and class. The film asks how to heal the deep racial wounds embedded in our urban development patterns, and how citizens can become active in restoring democracy to a broken planning process. Fate of a Salesman is an intimate portrait of a way of life on the verge of disappearing. In its 60th year of business, Men's Fashion Center in Washington, DC has come to represent identity, legacy and redemption for salesmen Willie and Steve and owner Jerry. But business has crawled to a halt in the face of a tough economy and changing neighborhood, pushing the store to the verge of closure. Set amidst racks of pin-striped suits and feathered hats, the clothing of a bygone era, the men struggle to redefine themselves as the place with which they have long identified begins to vanish. [116 minutes]

  • The Pruitt-Igoe Myth (#209)

    The Pruitt-Igoe Myth tells the story of the transformation of the American city in the decades after World War II, through the lens of the infamous Pruitt-Igoe housing development and the St. Louis residents who called it home. At the film's historical center is an analysis of the massive impact of the national urban renewal program of the 1950s and 1960s, which prompted the process of mass suburbanization and emptied American cities of their residents, businesses, and industries. Those left behind in the city faced a destitute, rapidly de-industrializing St. Louis , parceled out to downtown interests and increasingly segregated by class and race. The residents of Pruitt-Igoe were among the hardest hit. Their gripping stories of survival, adaptation, and success are at the emotional heart of the film. [56 minutes]

  • Downeast (#210)

    Set during an era of U.S. post-industrialization in which numerous factories have been exported, Downeast focuses on Antonio Bussone's efforts to open a processing factory in rural Maine. [86 minutes]

  • Drivers Wanted (#211)

    Drivers Wanted reveals the impossibly eclectic community inhabiting a taxi garage in Queens, New York. Each day, a million New Yorkers depend on the anonymous faces behind the wheels, the men who tirelessly drive the city that doesn't sleep. The film follows Eric, a new immigrant from China with a fresh start in America. With dreams of his own business, and a wife and two young sons to support, he turns to a simple job - driving a taxicab. But the easy route proves to be a Herculean struggle for Eric, who can neither speak the language of his customers nor navigate the city's 6,174 miles of streets. Along for Eric's ride, we meet classic New York personalities, including the city's oldest taxi driver, the rumored inspiration behind Danny DeVito's Louie DePalma, and a melting pot of immigrants with dreams of making it in America. [56 minutes]

  • The Prep School Negro (#212)

    uAndre Robert Lee and his sister grew up in the ghettos of Philadelphia. Their mother struggled to support them by putting strings in the waistbands of track pants and swimsuits in a local factory. When Andre was 14 years old, he received what his family believed to be a golden ticket, a full scholarship to attend one of the most prestigious prep schools in the country. Elite education was Andre's way up and out, but at what price? Yes, the exorbitant tuition was covered, but this new world cost him and his family much more than anyone could have anticipated. In The Prep School Negro, Andre takes a journey back in time to revisit the events of his adolescence while also spending time with current day prep school students of color and their classmates to see how much has really changed inside the ivory tower. What he discovers along the way is the poignant and unapologetic truth about who really pays the consequences for yesterday's accelerated desegregation and today's racial naivete. The program includes a conversation with Host Natasha Del Toro and The Prep School Negro's director, producer and subject Andre Robert Lee, and journalist Judith Ohikuare of The Atlantic, both former students at elite prep schools, who share their experiences of achievement and cultural gaps in the private education system. They also discuss the challenges minority students are confronted with today. [85 minutes]

  • 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 professor. Dr. Louise Nutter, or LuLu has just discovered a new anti-cancer drug when she finds out she is dying of breast cancer herself at 42. Shot during those last 15 months of LuLu's life, The LuLu Sessions is a raw, intimate, yet surprisingly humorous story about the filmmaker showing up for her best friend and ex-something, and together, testing the limits of their bond while taking on life's ultimate adventure. [86 minutes]

  • Mothers of Bedford (#215)

    Eighty percent of women in US prisons today are mothers of school-age children. Filmmaker Jenifer McShane spent four years visiting Bedford Hills and following the women and their families. A mother herself, Jenifer was drawn to the universal themes of motherhood and the staggering power of the mother-child relationship. In all walks of life, mother and child care for each other. As we watch the mothers inside Bedford trying to become their better selves, we see parts of our own selves - and that gives us all hope. [95 minutes]

  • Rachel Is (#216)

    Filmmaker Charlotte Glynn moves home to chronicle her sister Rachel's last year in school. Rachel is developmentally disabled, and the resulting film, Rachel is, moves past the safety of political correctness and into the most intimate and honest moments in their family's life. Rachel is mysterious, funny, difficult and full of contradictions but she wants what most people her age want -- to move out of her mother's house. This dream of independence seems impossible. Rachel can't be left alone and the social services needed for her to live an "adult life" are unavailable. [86 minutes]

  • Deputized (#218)

    In the aftermath of a senseless hate crime, an all-American town finds itself desperately seeking answers: What really killed Marcelo Lucero? In a deceptively peaceful Long Island town just before midnight on November 8, 2008, 37-year-old Ecuadorian immigrant Marcelo Lucero is assaulted by a group of teenaged boys cruising the streets "beaner-hopping," a term used to describe the decade-long ritual of attacking Latinos for sport. The adolescent ?game? comes to an end with the fatal stabbing of Lucero, exposing a thinly veiled systemic intolerance for immigrants. Seventeen-year-old Jeffery Conroy, a popular high school athlete, is sentenced to 25-years for a hate crime, while the other teens get 5 to 8-years behind bars. [60 minutes]

  • Come Hell or High Water: The Battle for Turkey Creek (#219)

    Come Hell or High Water: The Battle for Turkey Creek follows the painful but inspiring journey of Derrick Evans, a Boston teacher who moves home to coastal Mississippi when the graves of his ancestors are bulldozed to make way for the sprawling city of Gulfport. Over the course of a decade, Derrick and his neighbors stand up to powerful corporate interests and politicians and face ordeals that include Hurricane Katrina and the BP oil disaster in their struggle for self-determination and environmental justice. [83 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. In the shadow of the Arch, several makeshift communities - Hopeville, Sparta, and Dignity Harbor - are erected when work begins to fill the tunnels under Tucker Boulevard, displacing many homeless. In Dignity Harbor, the self-appointed mayor promises a safe environment - women are especially to be welcomed - and the residents work cooperatively to cut wood and build rudimentary shelters. But conflicts inevitably arise, tempers occasionally flare, and everyone struggles to survive the harsh St. Louis winter. Although the utopian dream finally dies for good when the city bulldozes the shantytowns, not all is lost, with several of the residents moving to more permanent housing. [56 minutes]

  • Reserved to Fight (#221)

    In May 2003, Fox Company of Marine Reserve Unit 2/23 returned home from front-line combat in Iraq. Reserved To Fight follows four Marines of Fox Company for four years through their postwar minefield of social and psychological reintegration into civilian life. The return to their communities proves as formidable a battle as the more literal firefights of previous months. Living among loved ones who don't yet understand them and how they have changed, contending with a media focused on the politics rather than the human experience of war, and suffering from a psychological disorder that is difficult to acknowledge, these young veterans grapple to find purpose and healing. [86 minutes]

  • Broken Heart Land (#222)

    On an early autumn afternoon, in his parent's ranch in Norman, Oklahoma, gay teen Zack Harrington killed himself with a gunshot to the head. One week earlier, Zack attended a local city council meeting in support of a proposal for LGBTQ History Month in his bible-belt town. When the floor was opened up for public comment, some community members made highly controversial statements equating being gay with the spread of diseases such as HIV and AIDS. Against the backdrop of a town bitterly divided on the issue of homosexuality, Zack's grief-stricken parents, both conservative Republicans and military veterans, are forced to reconcile their own social and political beliefs with their son's death. Determined to understand Zack, they discover a private diary, which paints a gripping portrait of a boy in crisis. Ultimately, they discover a chilling secret that Zack kept hidden for almost two years, which leads them to some painful conclusions about their son's life and death. When an outspoken conservative citizen runs for City Council, the Harringtons decide to join a politically active group called "MOMS: Mothers of Many" (mainly comprised of local mothers of LGBTQ youth). Over the course of the local election season, we witness Zack's family, once private and politically conservative, come out of their own closet, moving from private denial to a climactic and very public acceptance of their son's legacy. [116 minutes]

  • Purgatorio (#301)

    Reyes' provocative essay film re-imagines the Mexico/U.S. border as a mythical place comparable to Dante's purgatory. Leaving politics aside, he takes a fresh look at the brutal beauty of the border and the people caught in its spell. By capturing a stunning mosaic of compelling characters and broken landscapes that live on the US/Mexico border, the filmmaker reflects on the flaws of human nature and the powerful absurdities of the modern world. An unusual border film, in the auteur tradition of camera-stylo, Purgatorio ultimately becomes a fable of humanity, an epic and visceral experience with powerful and lingering images. [116 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 sanitation workers on their daily routes to observe and later convince them to perform a most unlikely spectacle. On an abandoned airport runway, two dozen trash collectors and their trucks deliver - for one night only - a stunningly beautiful and moving performance, in front of an audience of thousands. [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 throughout the course of the film, and their trajectories prove surprising even to their doctors. At the center of it all is a remarkable health clinic, tucked away in the Hamline-Midway neighborhood of St. Paul. The HealthPartners Center for International Health serves a diverse population of refugees and immigrants from around the world. American Heart is directed by Minneapolis filmmaker Chris Newberry. [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]

  • Our Mockingbird (#305)

    A documentary that uses Harper Lee's 1960 novel To Kill a Mockingbird as a lens to view race, class, gender and justice -- then and now. Woven through OUR MOCKINGBIRD is the story of two extraordinarily different high schools in Birmingham, Alabama who collaborate on a remarkable production of the adapted play, To Kill a Mockingbird. [116 minutes]

  • The Hill (#306)

    Clinging to the last affordable housing in a rapidly gentrifying city, a determined group of neighbors struggle to save their homes from destruction when the City of New Haven, CT proposes to build a new school complex where their properties stand. [86 minutes]

  • Shell Shocked (#307)

    SHELLSHOCKED: Saving Oysters to Save Ourselves follows efforts to prevent the extinction of wild oyster reefs, which keep our oceans healthy by filtering water and engineering ecosystems. Today, because of overfishing and pollution, wild oyster reefs have been declared 'the most severely impacted marine habitat on Earth' and no longer play a role in their ecosystems. Now scientists, government officials, artists and environmentalists are fighting to bring oysters back to the former oyster capital of the world - New York Harbor. [56 minutes]

  • A Will for the Woods (#308)

    Musician, folk dancer, and psychiatrist Clark Wang prepares for his own green burial, determined that his final resting place will benefit the earth. He has discovered a movement that uses burial to conserve and restore natural areas, forgoing toxic, wasteful funeral practices engineered to preserve the body at the ecosystem's expense. Clark, a spirited and charismatic advocate, sets out to save a tract of forest with the help of green burial pioneers and a compassionate local cemeterian. [116 minutes]

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