Tag Archives: POV

What We Watch: Garry Denny

Bringing Wisconsin Public Television’s delightful mix of programming together takes a lot more work than most of us realize. Beyond PBS itself, WPT previews and purchases programs from American Public Television, the BBC, our own local production teams and multiple other independent sources.

Garry Denny

In our latest installment of What We Watch, we chat with Garry Denny, WPT’s director of programming. A member of our staff since 1986, he’s the one who brings it all together: acquisition, scheduling and delivery of programming services on WPT’s six-station network.

Read more to find out what Garry is most looking forward to in WPT’s fall schedule!
Continue reading What We Watch: Garry Denny

My Favorite Things: Carol Griskavich

Carol jpg headshot, croppedAs 2018 begins, we’re looking back on some of our favorite memories of the last year. From favorite programs to community events, this was a big year, with fun run-ins and meaningful moments.

Today’s memories come from Carol Griskavich, WPT’s community engagement coordinator – a brand-new position at the station this year. Read on to find out what she’ll remember the most from 2017!

Continue reading My Favorite Things: Carol Griskavich

POV Brings a “Rare Bird” to Television

Think about the most stylish people you know. How many of them have had the contents of their closets on display at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, or inspired a line of MAC makeup? Have they been a visiting professor at a major university, admired by Alexander Wang and Kanye West or sold a shoe and jewelry collection on the Home Shopping Network – all after age 90?

That’s Iris Apfel, the subject of this week’s POV – simply titled Iris. You may not know the name, but once you see her, she’s hard to forget. Continue reading POV Brings a “Rare Bird” to Television

Streaming Favorites for January


Screen Shot 2016-01-24 at 2.21.04 PMWe’ve officially made it to a new year, and with it comes fantastic new content on WPT’s video portal. Discover new streaming favorites with us, whether you’re a fan of cooking or the cosmos. Some of my favorite finds this month are:

These quick videos are musical, inspiring and focused on farm-to-table recipes. Host Patricia Wong shares delicious meals with fresh ingredients that will get you trying something new in less than five minutes.

Pulling its name from a cinema term that means “point of view,” POV is television’s longest-running showcase for independent non-fiction films. It’s hard not to get drawn into these provocative, compelling documentaries. Check out Girl Model or StoryCorps Shorts: The Saint of Dry Creek for a personal window into contemporary social issues.

Don’t let this tongue twister of a name turn you off: these short, beautiful and interesting videos share so much interesting info in just a few minutes. If you are trying to figure out the difference between fair trade and direct trade, or if you’d like to learn more about how American farms get their water, dive into this video series aimed at educating about sustainability.

What is weird metallic hydrogen? How does Saturn have a solid core? Would a gas giant planet really float in a giant bathtub? Find out by watching these quick, beautifully animated and SUPER interesting videos about our universe.

LGBT Pride Month: Special Programs Airing This June

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Pride Month (LGBT Pride Month) is celebrated each June to honor the 1969 Stonewall riots in Manhattan, a tipping point for the Gay Liberation Movement in the United States. This June on Wisconsin Public Television, enjoy programs including:

Independent Lens “The New Black”
9 p.m. Monday, June 1
See how the African American community is grappling with gay rights in light of the gay marriage movement and the fight over civil rights. This program documents activists, families and clergy on both sides of the campaign to legalize gay marriage.

Independent Lens “We Were Here”
10:30 p.m. Friday, June 5
Both inspiring and devastating, David Weissman’s film revisits the arrival in San Francisco of what was called the “Gay Plague” in the early 1980s. It illuminates the profound issues raised by the AIDS epidemic as well as the broad political and social upheavals it unleashed, offering a cathartic validation for the generation that suffered through the onset of AIDS while opening a window of understanding to those who have only the vaguest notions of what transpired in those years.

Facing Fear
5:30 p.m. Sunday, June 14
This 30-minute documentary shows what happens when a former neo-Nazi skinhead and a gay victim of his hate crime attack meet by chance after 25 years.

Independent Lens “Limited Partnership”
9 p.m. Monday, June 15 
In 1975, when American Richard married Australian native Tony in one of the first same sex marriages performed in the U.S., they found themselves on the front lines in the battle for legal immigration status for same sex spouses.

POV “Out in the Night”
9 p.m. Monday, June 22 
Examine the uphill battle of a group of African American lesbians charged with attempted murder when they fought back after being threatened. The case reveals the role that race, gender identity and sexuality play in the criminal justice system.

Out and Proud in Chicago
11 p.m. Wednesday, June 24
Hosted by actress Jane Lynch, “Out & Proud” charts the history of Chicago’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community from the 19th century to the present.

A True Political Satire Unfolds in Iowa

Poster for the film Janeane From Des MoinesThis week on Director’s Cut it is my pleasure to welcome the very talented Grace Lee, director of “Janeane From Des Moines.”  This is a unique look into the 2012 Republican caucuses in Iowa through the eyes of Janeane Wilson, a housewife played by Jane Edith Wilson. This is a film you won’t want to miss because of Wilson’s portrayal of the troubled Janeane and some deft storytelling by Lee and Wilson who co-wrote the script.

‘Janeane’ is a genre hybrid. The film is scripted and improvised but shot documentary style which will keep viewers guessing for the first 30 minutes, at least those viewers who don’t read this blog.

A staunch conservative, Janeane searches for a candidate to throw her support behind in the 2012 election. The film is engaging from the start when Diane Sawyer throws to a clip of Janeane talking with Mitt Romney. She manages to talk with just about every candidate in the race without breaking character and even gets a sit down with Michelle Bachman. As the story progresses, Janeane’s life unravels and she struggles with her beliefs and political ideology. Political leanings aside, you find yourself really rooting for this conflicted character.

Grace Lee is an accomplished filmmaker with a diverse and award-winning track record. Her credits also include “The Grace Lee Project” and her most recent film, “American Revolutionary: The Evolution of Grace Lee Boggs” which premiered nationally on POV on Wisconsin Public Television last month.  In case you’re wondering,  I do confront Lee about the fact that she has two films with her own name in the title. I don’t back down from the tough questions!

Lee is a director to keep an eye on and you can start by watching my interview with her and then “Janeane From Des Moines” on Director’s Cut Presents tonight at 10 on Wisconsin Public Television.  Hope you can watch!

56 Up

A half century ago, director Michael Apted (The World Is Not Enough) worked as a researcher on the film Seven Up!, which documented the lives of several seven-year-olds in Britain. Seems a bit innocuous in today’s reality TV soaked culture, but because Seven Up! was followed by 7 more films, the body of work has become one of the most significant documentary series of all time.

56 Up on WPTApted stuck with the project and directed all the subsequent films — including the latest, 56 Up — which airs 9 p.m. Monday, Oct. 14 on WPT. In a 2006 interview with moviefone, the now 72-year-old director doubted whether the series will outlive him. See his perspective now and learn about the genesis of the Up series in this POV interview.

Aside from its global appeal as a landmark documentary series, Up has local appeal too. One of the film’s stars is Nick Hitchon, a professor of electrical engineering at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

In the film, Hitchon admits that he’d prefer to be known for his scientific contributions. But, he seems accepting of his movie star status, even if the films don’t portray a true representation of his life. (Hear Nick and fellow star Suzy speak on the limitations of compressing 7 years worth of time into a documentary that’s barely more than 2 hours long).

Tune in this coming Monday, or watch online to see how Hitchon and his fellow stars — long removed from childhood — are settling into middle age at 56.

In Case You Missed It

The world we live in is media saturated. How could you possibly watch everything you want to when it airs on TV at whatever time eastern/the time that really matters central. Here are a few shows you may have missed that live on via the Web and can be watched anytime that matters to you.

POV “5 Broken Cameras”
What would you do if you woke up one morning to find a construction crew altering the landscape around you. In the 21st century, a logical reaction might be to grab a video camera and start recording. That’s exactly what filmmaker Emad Burnat did when Israel began constructing a security fence in his West Bank village, Bil’in in 2005.

Burnat’s Oscar nominated film is an account of life and nonviolent resistance, and it’s deeply personal (after all, he bought his first camera to record his newborn son). In a 24-hour news world in which most accounts of Israeli-Palestinian relations include violence alone, “5 Broken Cameras” offers a unique perspective by showing us life in the region through the lens of an average citizen.

In its review, The New York Times eloquently states “[the film] is partly a piece of advocacy journalism. But it is also a visual essay in autobiography and, as such, a modest, rigorous and moving work of art.”


The March @ 50
PBS The MarchA majority of media are looking to the past this week by honoring the historic 1963 March on Washington. WPT is among that majority, but we’re also part of a small group that is asking “what’s in store for the future of Black America?”

The March @ 50 is a web series companion to the historical doc The March that examines the major themes of the March on Washington through a contemporary lens. Each 5-7 minute episode looks at the disparity in Jobs, Freedom, Equal Education and Voting Rights between whites and blacks as it was in 1963 compared to 2013.

Episode 1: Jobs reveals that while average unemployment among blacks ebbs and flows just as it does among whites, black unemployment has consistently been two times higher than white unemployment — over 19% at its worst.

Featuring hard hitting statistics and interviews with leading researchers and community leaders, The March @ 50 is an important piece of journalism that will help carry forth the marchers’ mission for the next 50 years.

PBS NewsHour “Do Innocent Citizens Risk Police Seizure of Their Property?”
PBS NewsHour LogoOver the weekend an article published in The New Yorker made its way around the web. The focus was civil forfeiture: a little known policy that makes it ok for law enforcement to seize property (your car, cash, jewelry, even your kids) upon the faintest suspicion of criminal activity. No charges need to be filed, no guilty verdict…nothing. Just your word against theirs.

Sounds a bit unjust right? It can be if used the wrong way. But it can also be a benefit to society. Many a public service has been funded by the yachts and mansions of drug dealers.

Whether used for good or for evil, civil forfeiture came to light in a big way in the The New Yorker article. It’s a long read (30 minutes in and I’m just over half way through it). So for the time crunched, I recommend you check out Ray Suarez’s 6 minute interview with the author Sarah Stillman.

High Tech Low Life

Watch POV “High Tech Low Life” at 9 p.m. Monday, July 22 on Wisconsin Public Television.

Zola - High Tech Low LifeI’m always happy to see films that remind us of some of the things we take for granted – freedom of speech for example. It’s unfortunate that the only cases that make it into mainstream media are the ones where a person or persons are claiming their freedoms are being infringed upon. It just sets the stage for everyone to forget that they have rights in the first place and that the cops won’t be showing up at their door just because they posted a news article about the happenings in their home town.

I think it’s important to remember that the life we live here in America is not the same as the lives people live in other parts of the world. If nothing else, it helps us remember to be grateful for what we do have instead of focusing on what we don’t. I hope you’ll find the time to tune in and appreciate the courage of these two men as they struggle to tell their stories as citizen-reporters.

A Journey Into Adulthood

POV “Only the Young” — with sun-drenched visuals and a soul-music soundtrack — airs Monday night at 9 on Wisconsin Public Television.

Only the Young on Wisconsin Public TelevisionOn the surface, “Only the Young” seems like a fairly obvious title. Yes the film’s three subjects are young, but the title could also be a cheeky reference to the age of the filmmakers, who are barely older than the film’s teen-aged subjects.

While watching an interview with directors Jason Tippet and Elizabeth Mims, I got the sense that the CalArts graduates’ first feature tells dual coming-of-age stories.

Nevertheless, the focus of the film is on three teens from SoCal, not five. But one sure advantage of the close proximity in age between the filmmakers and the subjects is that “Only the Young” captures true teenage emotions, far from the dream-crushing grasp of adult supervision.

The film follows unconventional Christian friends Garrison and Kevin, and Garrison’s on-and-off girlfriend, Skye in their small Southern California town and the surrounding desert.

In a statement, Tippet says he and Mims purposely focused filming on weekends and afternoons outside of school — “the hours when they had time to explore, to try out love and to hope and wonder about the intimidating ‘real world.'”

“We just focused on the lives of the kids as they were…
We tried just to listen.”

With that focus, the film becomes less an issue film and more an accurate picture of how kids spend their time goofing around and dealing with the pressure of maintaining friendships and finding true love.

Originally,the filmmakers thought they were going to record a short film on Garrison and Kevin, a more complex story developed when Skye showed up during filming. In one scene, following an incident in which Kevin kissed Garrison’s girlfriend, rather than witnessing a childish feud we see maturity displayed as Kevin apologies to Garrison. It’s an honest moment when Garrison asks “So is Skye a good kisser?” and Kevin off-the-cuff admits she is. But compassion follows as Kevin tries to minimize the damage (and save face) when he corrects himself saying, “Uh, actually she was very sloppy.”

The scene rolls out in a sort of unpredictable, genuine fashion that mirrors the lives of Kevin, Garrison and Skye — or any teen for that matter. What will ultimately happen to these endearing kids and their friendship? The trailer, and a few additional scenes I’ve seen foreshadow heartbreak at the film’s end. But let’s hope for the best for the film’s subjects, and also for the budding director’s on the other side of lens.