Perspectives

Eighth Annual PBS Online Film Festival Showcases The “Power of Community”


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Twenty-Five Short-Form Independent Films Available on All PBS Digital Platforms, July 15 – 26 

 

PBS announced today that the Webby Award-nominated PBS Online Film Festival will return for an eighth year on July 15-26, 2019, featuring 25 short-form independent films from multiple public media partners and PBS member stations. This year’s selection of films amplifies compelling stories from resilient communities including strong women, LGBTQ voices and young adults, and grapples with everything from love, values, citizenship, purpose and family turmoil.

“These 25 films presented by filmmakers from across the country illuminate themes of kindness, bravery and extraordinary resilience,” said Ira Rubenstein, Chief Digital and Marketing Officer. “As America’s home for documentary film, we’re hopeful that the unique and powerful stories, reflective of so many of the communities that PBS serves, will encourage engagement and contribute to the growing narratives online around identity and its complexities.”

The PBS Online Film Festival is part of a multi-platform initiative to increase the reach and visibility of independent filmmakers, and to provide a showcase for diverse storytelling that both inspires and engages. The Festival will be available via PBS and station digital platforms, including PBS.org. As in previous years, films will also be available to stream on YouTube and Facebook. View the trailer here.

This year’s lineup features films from Black Public MediaCenter for Asian American Media (CAAM), Independent Television Service (ITVS)Latino Public Broadcasting, National Association of Latino Independent Producers (NALIP)Pacific Islanders in Communications (PIC), POV, Reel South, To The Contrary, Vision Maker Media  and World Channel, as well as PBS local member stations, including Connecticut Public Television (CPTV), Detroit Public TV (DPTV), Illinois Public Media, KLRU-TV Austin PBS, KQED, Louisiana Public Broadcasting (LPB), NET (Nebraska), Twin Cities Public Television, WNET (New York) and WSIU (Illinois).

Generating more than seven million streams over the course of the festival’s history, the PBS Online Film Festival continues to be an engaging annual digital event. The festival also received a nomination in the 2015 Webby Awards category for Online Film & Video: Variety (Channel).

Starting July 15, viewers can once again watch, share their favorites, and vote for their favorite film to win the “Most Popular” award. In addition, a distinguished panel of eight jury members will select their favorite film of the festival for the “Juried Prize.”

This year’s jury members include The Washington Post’s Chief Film Critic Ann Hornaday, International Documentary Association’s Executive Director Simon Kilmurry, Black Film Critics Founder Mike Sargent, WGBH Educational Foundation’s Executive Producer Judith Vecchione, Firelight Media & Films’ Documentary Lab Manager Chloe Walters-Wallace, Digital Media Executive Adnaan Wassey, PBS Programming and Development Senior Director Pamela Aguilar, FRONTLINE Producer & Editor Michelle Mizner and AMERICAN EXPERIENCE Producer Eric Gulliver.

For updates on the festival, follow #PBSFilmFest on Twitter or visit http://www.pbs.org/filmfestival.

Short films featured in the 2019 PBS Online Film Festival include:

Black Public Media
“Paris Blues in Harlem”

An edgy woman attempts to convince her granddad to abandon his jazz club’s legacy for a mound of cash.

The Center for Asian American Media 
“Rani”

A Pakistani transgender woman welcomes life’s challenges in order to care for an abandoned child.

Connecticut Public Television (CPTV)
“Joan”

Despite a life-altering diagnosis, Joan reflects in pride of her beautiful 60 years.

“Blank Canvas”
Two disparate strangers form an unlikely bond on a rooftop after experiencing traumatic situations.

Detroit Public Television
“Who Are You?”
When a writer has a disastrous creative block, a delivery girl arrives with a mysterious box.

“The Shepherd of the Stars”
When the world began, a shepherd and his dog traveled by foot each day to blow in a magic horn and light the night sky.

Illinois Public Media
“BT Lives in the Stitch”

An involved high school teacher creates a knitting group that doubles as an after-school safe haven for students.

“Heroine of Hope”
In hope of assisting those stuck in the systems of addiction and prostitution, Scarlett titles herself “Momma” to improve the women’s livelihood.

ITVS (Independent Television Service)
“Hidden Vote Ep. 4: Are ‘Gay Rights Gun Rights’?”

A queer couple lives in harmony, despite their conflicting political opinions.

KLRU-TV (Austin PBS)
“Audible Static”

When a young boy with a speech impediment falls in love, he takes extreme measures to overcome his adversary.

“Charlotte and Charlie”
As a young woman’s eyesight begins to fade, so does her ability to operate her most prized possession: her car.

KQED (Public Media for Northern California)
“Young Adult”

A teenager with cerebral palsy stops at nothing to connect with her first love.

Latino Public Broadcasting
“Ode to Pablo”

Challenged to a basketball game, a deaf Latino boy connects with another player, despite the evident language barrier.

Louisiana Public Broadcasting
“The Children of Central City”

A look at the impact growing up surrounded by violence in inner city, New Orleans.

NALIP (National Association of Latino Independent Producers)
“Atlantic City”

Two Texas drifters test their friendship when one wants to head north and find his estranged mother.

NET Nebraska
“Under the Milky Way”

Travel to the dark skies prairie of Nebraska and reconnect with nature’s midnight majesty.

Pacific Islanders in Communications
“The Moon and the Night”

In rural Hawaii, a teenage girl must confront her father after he enters her beloved pet in a dog fight.

POV
“Into My Life”

Cassandra appreciates her late mother’s creativity by examining the Super-8 films she shot of 1960s-80s Brooklyn.

Reel South
“The Country Priest”

The impending border wall threatens a chapel and a local priest in Mission, Texas.

To The Contrary
“Love Wins” 

A heartwarming love story which celebrates a relationship that was once forbidden.

Twin Cities Public Television
“All Square: Justice Served in a Sandwich”

Emily Hunt Turner challenges the narrative that stems from having a criminal record through her restaurant, All Square.

Vision Maker Media
“yoox̲atuwatánk (We Speak)”

Ranging from scenic views to tribal ceremonies, we delve into the lessons passed on through an indigenous ancestry.

WNET (New York Public Media)
“Beacon”

When a pilgrim’s arrival disrupts the congregation, one member begins to question everything.

WORLD Channel
“The Jump”

Despite societal pressures to choose a college major, Luna explores opportunities by simply moving forward.

WSIU-TV (Illinois)
“Balloon Girl”

A young girl realizes the art of participating in small acts of kindness.