Immigration, civil rights injustice, and stereotyping are all highlighted in the Point of View documentary series beginning its 14th season Tuesday (June 19th) on PBS (WKNO, Channel 10). “The films we include in this series deal with conversations and issues going on in society today,” P.O.V. executive producer Cara Mertes says. “The series is designed to reach everyone by featuring various filmmakers’ imprints on these issues.” The films featured this season: Scout’s Honor, My American Girl: A Dominican Story, Of Civil Wrongs and Rights: The Fred Korematsu Story, The Sweetest Sound, True-Hearted Vixens, Take It From Me, La Boda, In the Light of Reverence, Life and Debt and High School. The films tell the stories of struggling New York women who try to live without welfare, the defense of three Native Americans fighting for their land, and the disturbing effects of economic globalization on developing countries. Some of the filmakers include Tom Shepard, Mylene Moreno, Aaron Matthews, Eric Paul Fournier, Emily Abt and others. P.O.V. called for entries, and after screening 600 films, a committee of P.O.V. staff and professional filmmakers decided upon the ones most passionate about the contemporary issues. “It is a rigorous process that takes weeks,” Mertes says. “All of the films are reviewed at least twice before making cuts.” Alan Berliner, filmmaker of The Sweetest Sound, says he is honored to have his film chosen for the series. Berliner says he would like to think it was chosen because it fulfills the mission that P.O.V. upholds in this series: to have viewers want to change something in their own lives as a result of watching them. Berliner’s film, which explores the meaning of family names, is just one example that challenges the audience to think about their identity in a way they have not thought of it before. P.O.V. encourages viewers to write them, e-mail them, contact them in any way to get heard their own values, beliefs, and attitudes. “P.O.V. wants more than anything to create a dialogue with viewers, and it works to everyone’s benefit,” Berliner said. “As a filmmaker, it is so helpful to receive the tremendous feedback I have gotten from my films in the previous P.O.V. series.” Scout’s Honor, following the fight for gay members to be a part of the Boy Scouts, was chosen for the first film of the series. It has been less than a year since the June 28, 2000, Supreme Court decision excluding openly gay members into the Boy Scouts. Since this trial people have been paying attention to the topic. Mertes says she expects viewers of all ages because each of these films are a different slice of life. “Each one of these films is a dimension to another world and each sheds light on issues that will most likely transform viewers in one way or another, as well as educate them,” Berliner says.


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