Station-Backed Series Reel South Launches into Sixth Season

Jasper Mall (May 17, 2021) film still by directors Bradford Thomason and Brett Whitcomb

Reel South premieres seven new films to premiere as part of the PBS series’ sixth season. This powerful collection of films will feed over six weeks beginning Monday, April 5, 2021. Distribution includes television broadcast on PBS stations across the country, the WORLD Channel, and online streaming available on the PBS app and

Season six of Reel South tackles this moment in American life and proves that the value of and need for diverse Southern stories is inextricable from the amazing contributions and lived experiences of Black Americans. This collection of films is in direct conversation with the year that was 2020 and the perilous role of the South in any kind of pathway forward in America. In its most geographically diverse season to date, spanning seven states, new parts of the region are uncovered, including little-seen explorations of Black life in San Antonio, Texas (The Passing On) and in Asheville, North Carolina (Muni). Additionally, the series explores the majesty of other parts of America through a uniquely Southern lens. Other themes that are explored in the season are rural youth activism, civil rights through sport, and suburban Americana.

In a unique model of producing for public television, Reel South is co-produced and funded by PBS North Carolina, South Carolina ETV, and Louisiana Public Broadcasting, and produced in association with Alabama Public Television, Arkansas PBS, Texas Tech Public Media, and VPM. Reel South serves as a platform for non-fiction filmmakers in the American South working within the region’s tradition of storytelling. Since 2016, Reel South has worked across public media and the national documentary landscape to be a platform for filmmakers from and working in the South. Reel South has built a burgeoning television series and digital media footprint that rectifies harmful and overly simplified narratives about the region. This consortium of stations is a testament to the importance of cultivating and building relationships between independent filmmakers and public broadcasting stations by offering content that speaks to the impact a station can aspire to create in their local communities and those next door.

The season six films are below.

Streaming Premiere April 5
Directed by Paul Bonesteel

A jovial love letter to the game of golf, told by the Black golfers who, despite segregation and racist systems, built a vibrant culture and lasting community on a municipal golf course in Asheville, North Carolina.

Flat Town
Streaming Premiere April 5
Directed by Bryan Tucker

A small Cajun town in rural Louisiana holds an annual exhibition football game between the majority-Black public school and majority-White private school, called the Tee Cotton Bowl. This meditative small-town portrait examines segregation, and a range of perspectives on the game.

You Asked for the Facts
Streaming Premiere April 12
Directed by Mary Blessey

Four years after the historic enrollment of James Meredith, student activists at the University of Mississippi  devise a plan to defy the campus’ speaker-ban in 1966 by inviting Robert F. Kennedy, who reveals the truth about back-room politics, the belief-systems of those holding the highest power, and how campus-activism shapes the future of civil rights and all those who bear witness.

That’s Wild
Streaming Premiere April 19
Directed by Michiel Thomas

When Atlanta teens Cliff, Ahmani, and Nicholas attempt to trek four 12,000 ft snow-capped peaks in the heart of the Rocky Mountains, they face the thrills, joy, and struggles of navigating the wilds of Colorado and daily life back home in Georgia.

The Passing On
Streaming Premiere April 26
Directed by Nathan Clarke, Produced by Lana Garland, Tyler Trumbo

Renowned African American embalmer, James Bryant, puts his faith in a new generation to continue the legacy of Black funeral homes in San Antonio, Texas. But his young intern, Clarence Pierre, is conflicted about his commitment due to the judgment he receives as a queer, Christian man.

Rap Squad
Streaming Premiere May 3
Directed by Nathan Willis

An Arkansas community mobilizes around a divisive ballot initiative for a new high school, led by a group of high school writers and performers who seek healing for themselves and justice for their community through hip hop.

Jasper Mall
Streaming Premiere May 10
Directed by Bradford Thomason and Brett Whitcomb

A dying shopping mall outside of Birmingham, Alabama, its patrons, and its tenants embody the diversity and tenderness of Americana culture in a changing South.

All promotional materials and information is available via the PBS Source and the Season 6 Press Kit.

For filmmaker contact and screening links, please contact Series Producer, Nick Price. Season 6 feeds via PBS Plus on Mondays beginning April 5, 2021.

Nick Price, Reel South
[email protected]