(San Francisco, CA)—The Independent Television Service (ITVS) is proud to announce that its co-production The Oath, a film by Laura Poitras, won the Excellence in Cinematography Award for U.S. Documentary at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival. The film will have its television premiere later this year on the PBS primetime series POV (check local listings).
Filmed in Yemen and in Guantanamo Bay, The Oath tells the story of Abu Jandal, Osama bin Laden's former bodyguard, and Salim Hamdan, a prisoner at Guantanamo Bay Prison, and the first man to face the controversial military tribunals. The Oath is a family drama about two men whose fateful encounter in 1996 set them on a journey that would lead to Osama bin Laden, 9/11, Guantanamo Bay prison, and the U.S. Supreme Court. As the film begins, Salim Hamdan is set to face charges for war crimes at Guantanamo, while Abu Jandal is a free man who drives a taxi in Yemen.
The Oath is Poitras’s second film in a trilogy about America post 9/11. Her first film, My Country, My Country — which earned her an Academy Award® nomination — documented the U.S. occupation of Iraq from the perspective of an Iraqi family. The third film will focus on domestic surveillance. The Oath is a co-production of ITVS in association with American Documentary/POV. The film will premiere on POV in 2010. The Oath was one of three ITVS-funded films selected for competition at The 2010 Sundance Film Festival. My Perestroika, directed by Robin Hessman, had its world premiere in the U.S. documentary competition. The feature documentary tells the stories of five Moscow schoolmates who were brought up behind the Iron Curtain, witnessed the joy and confusion of glasnost (government policy of openness and transparency), and reached adulthood right as the world changed around them. Through candid first-person testimony, revealing verité footage, and vintage home movies, Hessman, who spent many years living in Moscow, reveals a Russia rarely ever seen on film, where people are frank about their lives and forthcoming about their country. My Perestroika is a co-production of Red Square Productions/Bungalow Town Productions, and ITVS International in association with American Documentary/POV. The film will premiere on POV in 2011.
Last Train Home, directed by Lixin Fan, also had its U.S. premiere and competed in the World Cinema Documentary Competition. In Last Train Home, filmmaker Lixin Fan follows the Zhang family, who — along with more than 100 million other migrant workers — save all year to make the arduous journey home for Chinese New Year, to reunite with their distant family. The film recently won the award for Best Feature-Length Documentary at the prestigious International Documentary Festival in Amsterdam. Last Train Home is An EyeSteelFilm production in association with ITVS International. The film will premiere on POV in 2011.
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.org. ITVS is funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, a private corporation funded by the American people.
Produced by American Documentary, Inc., and beginning its 23rd season on PBS in 2010, the award-winning POV series is the longest-running showcase on television to feature the work of America's best contemporary-issue independent filmmakers. Airing June through October, with primetime specials during the year, POV has brought more than 250 acclaimed documentaries to millions nationwide, and has a Webby Award-winning online series, POV's Borders. Since 1988, POV has pioneered the art of presentation and outreach using independent nonfiction media to build new communities in conversation about today's most pressing social issues. For more information, visit www.pbs.org/pov.
Major funding for POV is provided by PBS, The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, The Educational Foundation of America, New York State Council on the Arts, New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, and public television viewers. Funding for POV's Diverse Voices Project is provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, and the Rockefeller Brothers Fund. Special support provided by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. POV is presented by a consortium of public television stations, including KCET Los Angeles, WGBH Boston, and THIRTEEN in association with WNET.ORG.
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