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New Season of ‘America ReFramed’ Features Diverse Docs By and About Women

New Season of 'America ReFramed' Features Diverse Docs By and About Women

The fourth season of documentary series “America ReFramed” premiered this week on World Channel.

The series, which features the work of emerging and veteran filmmakers alike, aims to shine a spotlight on a number of diverse contemporary issues, from racial tension to wage equity. This season provides a welcome showcase for the work of eight women directors, and several of the docs have women at their center — such as Brittany Huckabee’s “The Mosque in Morgantown,” which follows the work of Muslim women’s-rights activist Asra Nomani.

Also featured is “BaddDDD Sonia Sanchez” from directors Barbara Attie, Janet Goldwater and Sabrina Schmidt Gordon: a celebration of the life and work of the renowned poet, educator and activist. Women and Hollywood interviewed Schmidt Gordon about the film back when it premiered at DOC NYC last year. She told us that she wants the doc to make people “think about what dedication and a sense of purpose looks like and what a life lived in commitment to justice and dignity for all people looks like,” and to “feel gratitude for the treasure that we have in Sonia and to discover/rediscover her work.”

Other women-centric docs featured include “Adama” — described as a portrait of “the extreme pressures bearing down on a teenage Muslim girl suspected of being a ‘potential’ suicide bomber” — and “Divide in Concord,” which sees fiery, 84 year-old environmental activist Jean Hill take on the bottled water industry.

Executive Director and Executive Producer, Justine Nagan explains,”In these turbulent media times, it is increasingly important to share with viewers illuminating and thought-provoking films from independent voices with a variety of perspectives,” said “America ReFramed” executive director and executive producer Justine Nagan. “This series continues to build momentum, viewership and access to themes not often explored in typical media.” 

“America ReFramed” is co-produced by American Documentary Inc. and WGBH Boston, and will air Tuesdays at 8pm on World Channel. The series is also available to be streamed free online at worldchannel.org.

Find more details below.

February 2 * Television Premiere
OLD SOUTH by Danielle Beverly
 
In a classic tale of two cities, OLD SOUTH delivers a quiet yet emotionally charged portrait of two communities living on one block. Steeped in history – one black, one white – each strives to keep their respective legacies relevant in a changing American South. 
 
February 9 * Television Premiere
AMERICAN ARAB by Usama Alshaibi
 
The first of three films reporting on the American-Muslim experience: “Why is being an Arab suddenly the opposite of being a decent man?” Throughout AMERICAN ARAB, Iraqi-American filmmaker Usama Alshaibi explores what it’s like to occupy the ‘space in between’ as a hyphenated American, specifically of Arab origin, during the surge of anti-Muslim sentiment that arose in Post-9/11 America.

February 16
THE MOSQUE IN MORGANTOWN by Brittany Huckabee
 
THE MOSQUE IN MORGANTOWN is an observational documentary that follows Asra Nomani’s early activism and the backlash she faced within her West Virginia mosque. A real “insider’s” look at controversies that can divide a Muslim community, the film is revelatory for Muslims and non-Muslims alike. It tells a story of differing paths to social change, American identity and how to strike a balance between respect for tradition and independent thinking. 
 
February 23
ADAMA by David Felix Sutcliffe
 
Intimate, vérité footage in ADAMA captures the extreme pressures bearing down on a teenage Muslim girl suspected of being a “potential” suicide bomber, and her desperate efforts to keep her family from unraveling. From the co-director of the acclaimed film(T)ERROR, ADAMA provides a timely perspective on the ongoing challenges American Muslims face practicing Islam at a time when mainstream media has effectively equated the religion with violence and terror.
 
March 1 
REVOLUTION ’67 by Marylou Tibaldo-Bongiorno
 
Focusing on the six-day Newark, New Jersey outbreak, REVOLUTION ’67 reveals how the event began as spontaneous revolts against poverty and police brutality, and ended as a fateful milestone in America’s struggles over race and economic justice.
Voices from across the spectrum—activist Tom Hayden, former Newark Mayor Sharpe James, and other officials, academics, National Guardsman and Newark citizens – recall lessons as hard-earned as they have been easy to neglect. A co-production with the Independent Television Service (ITVS). 
 
March 8 * Television Premiere
BaddDDD SONIA SANCHEZ by Barbara Attie, Janet Goldwater, and Sabrina Schmidt Gordon
 
In BaddDDD SONIA SANCHEZ, the 80-year-old poet, her friends and family reflect on her committed and uncompromising lifeDeemed “a lion in literature’s forest” by poet Maya Angelou, Sanchez is a winner of major literary awards including the American Book Awards. A seminal figure in the 1960s Black Arts Movement, she raised her voice in the name of black culture, civil rights, women’s liberation, and most importantly, peace. The documentary unfolds with readings and jazz-accompanied performances of her work featuring special appearances by Questlove, Talib Kweli, Amiri Baraka, Haki Ruby Dee, Yasiin Bey, and Bryonn Bain.
 
March 15
DIVIDE IN CONCORD by Kris Kaczor and Dave Regos
 
DIVIDE IN CONCORD follows a fiery 84-year-old widow and mother of four, Jean Hill. Inspired by her environmentally conscious grandson, she presents a bylaw to ban the sale of single-serve plastic bottles. Hill, who has been defeated several times at town meetings, is determined to make hers the first community in the nation to take a stand against the disastrous impact of bottled water. Her opponents claim that people should have the right to choose, and that buying water is not akin to buying drugs. But Hill’s concern is urgent, global and greater. With time “a winged chariot at her heels,” she enlists the support of Harvard Law Grad, Jill Appel and together they forge a new coalition of young, proud and informed citizens. Can one grandmother take on the privatized bottled water industry?
 
Coming Up in America Reframed Season 4 
 
THE HAND THAT FEEDS by Rachel Lears and Robin Blotnick
 
THE HAND THAT FEEDS tells the story of an epic power struggle that turned a single city block into a battlefield in America’s new service economy wage wars. At a popular bakery café in Manhattan’s Upper East Side, patrons get bagels and coffee served with a smile 24 hours a day. But behind the scenes, the immigrant workers, many undocumented, earn far below the minimum wage with no overtime or paid sick days. With the support of the Laundry Workers Coalition, young “Occupy” activists and law students, Mahoma López, a mild-mannered sandwich-maker turned organizer-activist emerges. The unlikely coalition launches a journey that tests the limits of their resolve and their commitment to the cause and each other.
 
IN AN IDEAL WORLD by Noel Schwerin
 
In California’s infamous Soledad prison, a veteran warden, a white Mafioso murderer and a black ex-gang member struggle to move beyond the stark reality of America’s locked down racial order. Plagued by race riots and racial hierarchies, the warden attempts a novel mixed-race program just before the U.S. Supreme Court mandates desegregation of prisons. Shot over seven years with unlimited access, the film is an immersive, observational and firsthand account of three men on the frontlines of crime and punishment in America.
 
THE LAST SEASON by Sara Dosa
 
In the lush mountain forests of Oregon, a bustling camp of migrant workers hunts the elusive matsutake mushroom. Prized in Japan, the mushroom can be worth up to $40 a pound. Here, Kuoy a 46-year-old platoon leader of Cambodia’s Khmer Freedom Fighters, crosses paths with Roger Higgins, an ailing 75-year-old sniper formerly with the US Special Forces in Vietnam. The unlikely pair, both of whom suffer from PTSD, discover more than just mushrooms in the woods; they create a new familial bond, and a means to slowly heal wounds of war. Told over the course of one matsutake mushroom season, THE LAST SEASON is a journey into the woods, an exploration into the delicate balance of nature and its elements, and into the memory of war and survival.
 
CHILDREN OF THE ARCTIC by Nick Brandestini
 
CHILDREN OF THE ARCTIC is a portrait of five Native Alaskan teenagers coming of age in Barrow, Alaska—the northern-most community of the United States. As they embark on their journey into adulthood in and outside of Barrow, they strive to be both modern American kids and the inheritors of an ancient whaling culture.
 

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