Independent Television Service Returns to Sundance with Two Films in the U.S. Documentary Competition and One in the World Cinema Narrative Competition

The Three International Films Explore the Changing Dynamics of a Global Community, Domestic Surveillance Post 9-11 and the Largest Human Migration in the World

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San Francisco, CA)—The Independent Television Service (ITVS) announced today that three of its funded films have been selected for competition in the upcoming 2010 Sundance Film Festival, to be held in Park City, Utah from January 21-31. This brings the number of ITVS funded films that have screened at Sundance to a total of 69, since ITVS’s first presence at the festival in 1994. MY PERESTROIKA, directed by Robin Hessman, and THE OATH produced and directed by Laura Poitras are two ITVS films of the 16 films selected from 862 submissions to premiere and compete in the U.S. Documentary Competition. LAST TRAIN HOME, directed by Lixin Fan, will have its U.S. premiere and compete in the World Cinema Narrative Competition. The film is one of 14 films selected from 1,022 international narrative feature submissions. All three films will eventually broadcast on PBS’s show P.O.V. 

The three ITVS films in competition include: 


Directed by: Robin Hessman World Premiere 

When the USSR broke apart in 1991, a generation of young people faced a new realm of possibilities. Filmmaker Robin Hessman follows this last generation of Soviet children brought up behind the Iron Curtain. Using a wealth of rare Russian footage, MY PERESTROIKA interweaves an intimate view of the past with the contemporary lives of a married couple and their childhood friends, telling the story of a nation still very much in transition. A co-production of Red Square Productions/Bungalow Town Productions and ITVS International, in association with American Documentary | P.O.V.


Produced by Laura Poitras World Premiere 

Filmed in Yemen, THE OATH is a family drama about Al Qaeda and Guantanamo Bay Prison. This documentary is the second in a trilogy about America post 9/11. The first film, MY COUNTRY, MY COUNTRY, documented the U.S. occupation of Iraq from the perspective of an Iraqi family. The third film will focus on domestic surveillance. This film is a co-production of ITVS. 


Directed by: Lixin Fan 

U.S. Premiere China experiences the largest internal migration in the world as rural workers travel to cities looking for employment. In LAST TRAIN HOME, filmmaker Lixin Fan follows the Zhang family, who save all year to travel home for Chinese New Year—along with over 100 million other migrant workers—hoping to salvage the relationship with their teenage daughter. This film is an EyeSteelFilm production in association with ITVS International. Screening dates and times are still pending. Up-to-date information can be found online at 


The Independent Television Service (ITVS) funds and presents award-winning documentaries and dramas on public television, innovative new media projects on the Web and the Emmy® Award-winning weekly series Independent Lens on Tuesday nights at 10 PM on PBS. ITVS is a miracle of public policy created by media activists, citizens and politicians seeking to foster plurality and diversity in public television. ITVS was established by a historic mandate of Congress to champion independently produced programs that take creative risks, spark public dialogue and provide for underserved audiences. Since its inception in 1991, ITVS programs have revitalized the relationship between the public and public television, bringing TV audiences face-to-face with the lives and concerns of their fellow Americans. More information about ITVS can be obtained by visiting ITVS is funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, a private corporation funded by the American people. 

CONTACT: Voleine Amilcar, 415-356-8383, ext 244 Mobile telephone at Sundance: 510-912-0631

Posted on December 2, 2009