‘POV’ showcases independent film screenings in local communities

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American Documentary

American Documentary’s PBS series POV announced this year’s grantees for a documentary initiative focused on promoting independent films around the country.

Two statewide public media networks — Georgia Public Broadcasting and Prairie Public Broadcasting in North Dakota — are among the six participants in the 2022 Our America: Documentaries in Dialogue program and will host screening events for POV films. Each organization receives up to $10,000 toward their engagement efforts, funded by the Open Society Foundations.

Both GPB and Prairie Public plan to screen the films Let the Little Light Shine, which focuses on parents and students at a high-performing, predominantly Black elementary school in Chicago dealing with gentrification, and Manzanar Diverted: When Water Becomes Dust, a film about how Native Americans, Japanese Americans imprisoned during World War II and environmentalists form an alliance to defend waterways in Los Angeles.

The goal of the program is to “inspire dialogue, community action, and mutual understanding around the most divisive social issues in modern-day America,” according to a news release. American Documentary said the program was created in the aftermath of the 2016 presidential election as a way to bridge divides created by the current political landscape.

“‘Our America’ challenges us to question our assumptions and reveals what is possible when we come together to watch, listen, and speak up,” said Robert Salyer, POV’s manager of outreach and impact. “The initiative is successful partly because our grantees lead it, and it continues to grow and expand each year primarily because we’re not setting the agenda.”

The other four 2022 grantees include nonprofits Found Sound Nation, From Prison Cells, the Clemente Course in Humanities and DOC Savannah in Georgia, which was also a 2021 grantee. Last year’s recipients that were public media stations included Alaska Public Media; PBS Hawaii; WGCU Public Media in Fort Myers, Fla.; and WQLN in Erie, Pa.

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