PBS Series ‘POV’ Reveals Film Lineup For 36th Season, Packed With Oscar Contenders, Award Winners

EXCLUSIVE: The PBS series POV today announced the lineup of films for its historic 36th season, a diverse slate highlighted by documentaries with Oscar pedigree. 

The season kicks off June 26 with Jon-Sesrie Goff’s acclaimed After Sherman, winner of best documentary prizes at the Atlanta Film Festival and Santa Barbara International Film Festival. The Academy Award-nominated A House Made of Splinters makes its POV debut on July 17. Simon Lereng Wilmont’s film creates a deeply moving portrait of Ukrainian children sheltered in a temporary orphanage, where empathetic caregivers tend to their emotional needs as war with Russia rumbles around them.

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Children of the Mist, premiering on POV on July 31, earned a spot on the Oscar shortlist. Hà Lệ Diễm’s film centers on a Hmong teenager living in rural Northern Vietnam who resists a cultural tradition that permits girls to be kidnapped and forced into marriage. [Scroll for the complete list of POV season 36 films].  

POV is the longest-running nonfiction series on American television. “The series’ commitment to provide a public platform to showcase bold forms of nonfiction storytelling by filmmakers with diverse voices and perspectives brings audiences unforgettable protagonists with unique points of views,” PBS notes. “Half of Season 36’s films are directed by women, and over two-thirds by filmmakers of color.”

POV is executive produced by Erika Dilday, the executive director of American Documentary, which produces the series. She also serves as executive producer of WORLD Channel’s America ReFramed.

“I’m so excited about Season 36’s line-up,” Dilday said in a statement. “We are bringing our viewers closer to different countries, different people and different ideas. POV puts a lot of care and effort not only into how we choose stories, but who gets to tell them. We strive for authenticity and relatability.”

Dilday added, “One of the best things about this season is we are not shying away from bold stories. I believe good documentary filmmaking should be about subjects and topics that often make us feel a little uncomfortable and challenge how we see our world.”

POV airs on PBS on Monday nights at 10 p.m./9 p.m. Central and will be available for streaming “concurrent with broadcast” on all station-branded PBS platforms, including PBS.org and the PBS app.

“A diversity of voices and perspectives remains central to PBS’s mission, and we’re excited to bring many new independent films from POV to our audiences,” said Sylvia Bugg, chief programming executive and general manager, general audience programming, PBS. “This new season documents moving stories from across the globe, continuing our legacy of providing programming that is educational, informational, and inspiring.”

The 35th season of POV earned Best Curated Series at the IDA Documentary Awards last December. In 2021, the series earned seven News & Documentary Emmy nominations, and won Best Documentary for the season 33 episode Advocate. Other acclaimed documentaries to air on POV include The Silence of Others(season 32), Through the Night (season 33) and Softie (season 33). POV season 33 film The Mole Agent earned an Academy Award nomination for Best Documentary and was shortlisted in the Oscar’s Best International Feature category. Mayor (season 34) won a Peabody Award and Let the Little Light Shine(season 35) recently received a Peabody nomination.

“From the Amazon Forest to Ukraine and Vietnam, Inner City Los Angeles to the shorelines of South Carolina, this season’s POV artists reveal the contours of our humanity, from various vantage points and lived experiences,” observed Chris White, executive producer, American Documentary and POV. “I am confident each film will serve as an artful revelation to our viewers by introducing them to new perspectives they may have never imagined. We are grateful to be able to share the work of these gifted storytellers to a wide audience.”

This is the lineup for the 36th season of POV:

After Sherman

Director/Producer: Jon-Sesrie Goff; Producers: blair dorosh-walther, Madeleine Hunt-Ehrlich

Premieres: June 26, 2023

Returning to the coastal South Carolina land that his family purchased after emancipation, filmmaker Jon-Sesrie Goff’s desire to explore his Gullah/Geechee roots transforms into a poetic investigation of Black inheritance, trauma, and generational wisdom, amidst the violent tensions that define America’s collective history.
Featured cast: Rev. Dr. Norvel Goff, Sr.
Country: USA. Year: 2022

Produced in association with ITVS, Black Public Media, Hedera Pictures LLC

A Story of Bones

Directors: Joseph Curran, Dominic Aubrey de Vere; Producer: Yvonne Isimeme Ibazebo

Premieres: July 3, 2023

As Chief Environmental Officer for St. Helena’s troubled airport project, Annina van Neel learns about an unmarked mass burial ground of an estimated 9,000 formerly enslaved Africans. Haunted by this historical injustice, she and African American preservationist Peggy King Jorde fight for the proper memorialization of these forgotten victims, exposing the UK’s disturbing colonial past and present. 
Country: UK. Year: 2022

Liquor Store Dreams

Director: So Yun Um; Producers: So Yun Um, Eddie Kim

Premieres: July 10, 2023

In Liquor Store Dreams, two Korean American children of liquor store owners reconcile their own dreams with those of their immigrant parents. Along the way, they confront the complex legacies of LA’s racial landscape, including the 1991 murder of Latasha Harlins and the 1992 uprisings sparked by the police beating of Rodney King, while engaged in current struggles for racial and economic justice.
Featured cast: Mark Burton, Danny Park, May Park.  
Country: USA. Year: 2022

Co-presented with The Center for Asian American Media (CAAM)

A House Made of Splinters

Director: Simon Lereng Wilmont; producer Monica Hellström

Premieres July 17, 2023

In the shadow of poverty, addiction, and war in Eastern Ukraine, a safe haven provides refuge fo children who have been temporarily separated from their parents. A House Made of Splinters chronicles three displaced kids who, despite the perils around them, find moments of joy and friendship, with the aid of dedicated social workers who work tirelessly to protect them from harm.

Countries: Denmark, Finland, Sweden, Ukraine. Year: 2022

Eat Your Catfish

Directors/producers: Adam Isenberg, Noah Amir Arjomand Senem Tüzen

Premieres July 24, 2023

Paralyzed by late-stage ALS and reliant on round-the-clock care, Kathryn clings to a mordant wit as she years to witness her daughter’s wedding. Drawn from 930 hours of footage shot from her fixed point of view, Eat Your Catfish delivers a brutally frank and darkly humorous portrait of a family teetering on the brink, grappling with the daily demands of disability and in-home caregiving.

Countries: USA, Turkey, Spain. Year: 2021

Children of the Mist

Director: Hà Lệ Diễm; Producer: Swann Dubus, Trần Phương Thảo

Premieres July 31, 2023

Children of the Mist traces the story of Di, a 13-year-old girl coming of age in a remote Indigenous Hmong community in the mountains of Northwest Vietnam. As part of the first generation in her village with access to education, Di navigates the cultural and social challenges faced by young girls in her community while balancing inherited tradition with change.

Country: Vietnam. Year: 2021

While We Watched 

Director/Producer: Vinay Shukla

Producers: Khushboo Ranka, Luke W. Moody

Premieres: September 4, 2023

A timely depiction of a newsroom in crisis, While We Watched follows tormented Ravish Kumar for two years as he battles a barrage of “fake news,” falling ratings and the resulting cutbacks. Are there viewers for fact-based analyses anymore? Will his show survive or become a swan song of reason – drowning out in sensationalism, misinformation, and ratings-driven editorial decisions? 
Featured cast: Ravish Kumar, Sushil Bahuguna, Deepak Chaubey. 
Country: UK. Year: 2022

Co-presented with The Center for Asian American Media (CAAM)

Bulls and Saints 

Director: Rodrigo Dorfman; Producer: Peter Eversoll 

Premieres: September 18, 2023

After 20 years of living in the United States, an undocumented family decides to return home. Little do they know it will be the most difficult journey of their lives and reawaken an intense desire for a place to belong. Set between the rodeo arenas of North Carolina and the spellbinding Mexican town they yearn for, Bulls and Saints is a love story about reverse migration, rebellion, and redemption.
Country: USA. Year: 2023

Produced in association with Latino Public Broadcasting (LPB)

Murders That Matter

Director/Producer: Marco Williams

Premieres: September 25, 2023

How would you handle the trauma of losing a loved one? Set in Philadelphia, Murders That Matter documents African American, Muslim mother Movita Johnson-Harrell over five years as she transforms from a victim of violent trauma into a fierce advocate against gun violence in Black communities. Her relentless activism exposes the emotional and psychological toll the killings take on those left behind. 
Featured cast: Movita Johnson-Harrell.
Country: USA. Year: 2022

Produced in association with ITVS

Uýra – The Rising Forest

Director/producer: Juliana Curi; producers João Henrique Kurtz, Lívia Cheibub, Martina Sönksen; co-producer Uýra Sodoma

Premieres October 2, 2023

While traveling through the Amazon, Uýra shares ancestral knowledge with Indigenous youth to promote the significance of identity and place, threatened by Brazil’s oppressive political regime. Through dance, poetry, and stunning characterization, Uýra boldly confronts historical racism, transphobia, and environmental destruction, while emphasizing the interdependence of humans and the environment.

Featured cast: Zahy Guajajara, Uýra Sodoma

Countries: Brazil, USA. Year: 2022

Co-presented with Latino Public Broadcasting (LPB) and Peril and Promise, a public media initiative from The WNET Group

Aurora’s Sunrise 

Director/Producer: Inna Sahakyan ; Producers: Vardan Hovhannisyan, Christian Beetz, Juste Michailinaite, Kestutis Drazdauskas, Eric Esrailian

Premieres: October 23, 2023

At 14, Aurora Madriganian survived the horrors of the Armenian Genocide and escaped to New York, where her story became a media sensation. Her newfound fame led to her starring as herself in Auction of Souls, one of Hollywood’s earliest blockbusters. Blending storybook animation, video testimony, and rediscovered footage from her lost silent epic, Aurora’s Sunrise revives her forgotten story.
Featured Cast: Anzhelika Hakobyan, Arpi Petrossian, Shushan Abrahamyan. 
Countries: Armenia, Germany, Lithuania. Year: 2022

Fire Through Dry Grass 

Directors: Andres “Jay” Molina, Alexis Neophytides; Producer: Jennilie Brewster; Co-Producers: Peter Yearwood, Sarah Feuquay

Premieres: October 30, 2023

Wearing snapback caps and Air Jordans, the Reality Poets don’t look like typical nursing home residents. In Fire Through Dry Grass, these young, Black and brown disabled artists document their lives on lockdown during Covid, using their poetry and art to underscore the danger and imprisonment they feel. In the face of institutional neglect, they refuse to be abused, confined, and erased.
Country: USA. Year: 2023

Wisdom Gone Wild

Director/Producer: Rea Tajiri; Producer: Sian Evans

Premieres: November 20, 2023

A vibrant tender cine-poem, a filmmaker collaborates with her Nisei mother as they confront the painful curious reality of wisdom ‘gone wild’ in the shadows of dementia. Made over 16 years, the film blends humor and sadness in an encounter between mother and daughter that blooms into an affectionate portrait of love, care, and a relationship transformed.
Country: USA. Year: 2022

Produced in association with The Center for Asian American Media CAAM

How to Have an American Baby 

Director/Producer: Leslie Tai; Producers: Jillian Schultz

World Premiere: December 11, 2023

How to Have an American Baby is a kaleidoscopic voyage into the shadow economy catering to Chinese tourists who travel to the US to give birth for citizenship. Told through a series of intimately observed vignettes, the story of a hidden global economy emerges–depicting the fortunes and tragedies that befall the ordinary people caught in its web.
Country: USA. Year: 2023

Co-Presented with Chasing the Dream, a public media initiative from The WNET Group


Director: Set Hernandez ; Producers: Day Al-Mohamed, Felix Endara, Diane Quon; Co-Producer: Dorian Gomez Pestaña

Premieres: Q1, 2024

As a blind, undocumented immigrant, Pedro faces obstacles to obtain his college degree, become a social worker, and support his family. Uncertainty looms over him even after he graduates. Through experimental cinematography and sound, unseen reimagines the accessibility of cinema, while exploring the intersections of immigration, disability, and mental health.
Country: USA. Year: 2023

Co-presented with Latino Public Broadcasting (LPB)

Brief Tender Light

Director/Producer: Arthur Musah

Premieres: Q1, 2024

A Ghanaian MIT alum follows four African students at his alma mater as they strive to become agents of change for their home countries Nigeria, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Zimbabwe. Over an intimate, nearly decade-long journey, all must decide how much of America to absorb, how much of Africa to hold on to, and how to reconcile teenage ideals with the truths they discover about the world and themselves.
Country: United States. Year: 2023

Co-presented with Black Public Media and Chasing the Dream, a public media initiative from The WNET Group

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