Documentary fans will have the opportunity to see award-winning P.O.V. films again—or discover them for the first time — in a new monthly online series. Groundbreaking documentaries from P.O.V.’s 21 seasons on PBS can now be seen in their entirety for a limited time on the series’ Webby Award-winning website, www.pbs.org/pov. Among the films on view are American Aloha and My American Girls, at www.pbs.org/pov/videos.html. In March, P.O.V. will stream Sweet Old Song in honor of the centennial of the late Howard “Louie Bluie” Armstrong. P.O.V. (Point of View), which begins its 22nd season on PBS in June 2009, is American television’s longest-running independent documentary series and the winner of a Special News & Documentary Emmy Award for Excellence in Television Documentary Filmmaking.
American Aloha: Hula Beyond Hawai’i, by Lisette Marie Flanary and Evann Siebens, premiered on P.O.V. in 2003 as part of its Diverse Voices Project and can be seen online until March 7, 2009. For Hawaiians, the hula is not just a dance, but a way of life. While most Americans know only the stereotypes of grass skirts and coconut bras, the hula is a living tradition reflecting the rich history and spirituality of Hawai’i through music, language and dance. American Aloha discovers a renaissance in California by following three master hula teachers. Revealing the survival of Hawai’i’s indigenous culture from near-destruction, the film is a reminder of the power of reclaiming tradition. An Independent Television Service (ITVS) and Pacific Islanders in Communications (PIC) co-presentation.
Celebrating Dominican Independence Day on Feb. 27, P.O.V. is currently streaming Aaron Matthews’ My American Girls: A Dominican Story until April 2. In vivid vérité detail, the 2001 film chronicles the joys and struggles over a year in the lives of the Ortiz family, first-generation immigrants from the Dominican Republic. Following the hard-working parents who imagine retiring to their rural homeland and their fast-tracking American-born daughters, the film captures the rewards—and costs—of pursuing the American dream.
From March 2–May 2, P.O.V. is proud to present Leah Mahan’s Sweet Old Song, which premiered in 2002. Howard “Louie Bluie” Armstrong, who passed away on July 30, 2003 (one year to the day after the P.O.V. broadcast), was a performer for most of his 94 years, from the time his father carved his first fiddle from a wooden crate. At the film’s center are the two great loves of Howard’s life: his music and artist Barbara Ward, then age 60. This is the story of Armstrong and Ward’s two-decade courtship and marriage, a unique partnership that inspired an outpouring of art and music. Their creative work drew on nearly a century of African-American experience, beginning with Armstrong’s vivid stories and paintings of his childhood in a segregated town in Tennessee. As the couple took on life’s challenges, they defied our most basic assumptions about what it means to grow older. An Independent Television Service (ITVS) co-presentation. For more information, go to www.pbs.org/pov/sweetoldsong .