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PBS Documentary Series to Spotlight Syrian, Refugee Crises in First Three Weeks of New Season

1:36 PM

Last Men in Aleppo, The War Show, Dalya’s Other Country, 4.1 Miles and From Damascus to Chicago.
Special Series is First of Its Kind in POV’s 30-Year History; Events on World Refugee Day to Kick Off Season

In a series first, following events nationwide commemorating World Refugee Day on June 20, POV’s 30th season opens with three feature films and two shorts about a single subject: the Syrian war and global refugee crisis.

The 30th season begins June 26 at 9 p.m. (check local listings) on PBS with concurrent streaming at pov.org

The series continues for three weeks with each broadcast premiere airing on Monday at 10 p.m. POV is American television’s longest-running independent documentary series.

The first film in the special series, Dalya’s Other Country, follows a young Syrian girl and her mother displaced by the conflict at home as they adjust to their new life in Los Angeles. 

The feature documentary will premiere with two shorts, beginning with 4.1 Miles, an Oscar®-nominated short spotlighting a small Greek town on the sea and the coast guard’s daily efforts to save thousands of migrants crossing the Mediterranean. 

For some refugees, new beginnings bring hope and opportunity. 

In From Damascus to Chicago, two young Syrian siblings resettle in Chicago and enroll in a dance class, while their family navigates a new city and new country. 

Dalya’s Other Country and the two shorts have their national broadcast on June 26 on PBS.

The special series then turns to the collateral damage of the Syrian civil war with The War Show and Last Men in Aleppo

Captured through the lens of radio host Obaidah Zytoon, The War Show, airing July 3, is a wrenching chronicle that starts with the country’s protests in 2011 and the youth that fueled them, then follows the country’s descent into violent conflict. 

"Last Men in Aleppo," premiering July 10, unveils the war’s terrifying repercussions, and shines a light on the volunteer rescue workers and first responders known as the White Helmets who have stayed behind to pull their neighbors from the rubble.
“During last year’s submission process, we noticed an uptick in films featuring stories of displacement in Europe and the Middle East,” Justine Nagan, executive producer/executive director of POV/American Documentary, said. “Meanwhile, elections here and abroad were throwing these issues into stark relief.”
“Given this unique historical moment and the competing narratives around the Syrian conflict and migrants here and in Europe, we felt no one voice or film could adequately capture these complex crises. Though POV has always showcased storytelling on contemporary social issues, this series is exceptional in its breadth and scope. From Los Angeles to Greece to Aleppo, filmmakers across the country and around the world are showing how these events are truly global in scale, and how few people are untouched by these developments. We’re humbled to be able to bring these stories to American audiences this summer and continue the national conversation.”
The series will follow a day of events held nationwide to honor World Refugee Day on June 20, a day to raise awareness of forcibly displaced people worldwide. 

POV will co-host two events that day, one in New York and the other in Los Angeles.

In New York, POV is partnering with the New York Times Op-Docs team for an evening screening of curated film clips from Dalya’s Other Country, The War Show and New York Times Op-Docs. 

A post-screening discussion will include Julia Meltzer, director of Dalya’s Other Country; Jennifer Patterson, deputy executive director at USA for UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency; and Alaa Hassan, producer and writer of The War Show. 

Michael Slackman, deputy international editor for The New York Times, will moderate the panel, which will be held at Manhattan Center Productions’ TV-1 studio. Register to attend here.

In Los Angeles. POV is partnering with the Skirball Cultural Center and the International Documentary Association (IDA) for an evening screening of Dalya’s Other Country and clips from 4.1 Miles. 

The post-screening discussion will include Mustafa Rony Zeno, co-producer of Dalya’s Other Country; Daphne Matziaraki, director of 4.1 Miles; Cate Thompson, associate curator at the Skirball Cultural Center; and Simon Kilmurry, executive director of IDA and former executive producer/executive director of POV/American Documentary. 

The screening will be held at the Skirball Cultural Center in association with its new exhibition, “Future Aleppo.” Register to attend here.

Community partners across the country are also hosting screenings and conversations in recognition of World Refugee Day—15 such events in 11 states.

Highlights include:
  • In partnership with the Committee in Solidarity with the People of Syria, Arrive Ministries is hosting Accidental Neighbors: Conversations on World Refugee Day at the Wilder Center in St. Paul, Minn., featuring a screening of 4.1 Miles and Last Men in Aleppo. The screenings will be followed by a conversation with members of the local Greek-American and Syrian-American communities.
  • In partnership with Bridge Refugee Services, the Knoxville Museum of Art is hosting a screening of From Damascus to Chicago and Dalya's Other Country as a part of its Refugee Film Festival. For more info, visit bridgerefugees.org.
Additional screenings are taking place across the United States in California, New Hampshire, Arizona, South Carolina, Colorado and New Jersey. To find other local events, visit POV's screenings map: communitynetwork.amdoc.org/events

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