Monday on POV: ‘Return to Homs’: A rare look inside the Syrian insurgency

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Monday on POV: ‘Return to Homs': A rare look inside the Syrian insurgency 
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Abdul Basset Saroot in Return to Homs. Credit: Talal Derki

Tune-in alert! ‘Return to Homs,’ an unforgettable view of Syrian insurgency, Monday, July 20 on POV

War changes people, including Abdul Basset Saroot, once the teenage goalkeeper of the Syrian national soccer team, who morphed into a peaceful advocate of Arab Spring reforms and then into an armed opponent of President Bashar al-Assad’s regime ready to be martyred for his cause. Return to Homs, premiering Monday, July 20 at 10 p.m. (check local listings) on POV, chronicles Basset’s transformation and heroic struggle to save civilians in his hometown of Homs from annihilation.

An underdog winner of Sundance’s 2014 World Cinema Grand Jury Prize for Documentary as well as the recipient of the first-ever George Polk Documentary Film Award, the movie captures the early promise of the Arab Spring and the brutal urban combat that followed. Directed by Talal Derki, the film has been compared to Gillo Pontecorvo’s 1966 classic, “The Battle of Algiers.”

Making Return to Homs was nearly as dangerous as fighting the Assad forces. The regime enforced a news blackout and filmmakers were labeled terrorists. Cameras were often dismantled and hidden in car chassis to get past checkpoints, then reassembled. Footage was smuggled out of the war zone at great risk.

The drama continued after filming ended. While Derki managed to leave Syria, producer Orwa Nyrabia was detained at the Damascus airport and accused of making a film with a terrorist. He was held for three weeks in an underground prison and was finally freed in response to international pressure from, among others, Robert De Niro, Martin Scorsese and Alex Gibney.

A scene from Tea Time. Credit: Alvaro Reyes

July 27 on POV: ‘Tea Time’

Stay tuned to POV next week for Maite Alberdi’s Tea Time, a poignant, lively look at a group of Chilean women whose monthly gatherings for tea and pastries has kept their friendship — and spirits — alive for 60 years. Monday, July 27 at 10 p.m. (check local listings).

Terrain Dandridge, Renata Hill, Out in the Night. Credit: Daniel Patterson

Enter for the chance to win documentary swag with a premiere party!

There is only one more week to stream and host a premiere party for Out in the Night! POV invites viewers to host premiere parties — large or small — to watch and discuss POV’s 28th season of eye-opening new films with friends and family, then enter for a chance to win prizes, including POV posters (many signed by the filmmakers) and — thanks to our sponsors Omnom Chocolate Reykjavík, Grounds for Change and Newman's Own Organics–popcorn, coffee, chocolate and more. Didn’t get a chance to watch the PBS national broadcast? Don’t worry; you can still host a premiere party by watching POV films on during the month after their PBS premieres. The contest is open to people who are 16 years of age and older. Visit to enter and for official entry rules.

Shosh Shlam, co-director of Web Junkie, on "Good Morning America"

‘Web Junkie’ streaming online through August 13!

If you weren’t able to watch Shosh Shlam and Hilla Medalia’s Web Junkie, about Internet addiction in China and the toll it’s taking on children, the film is streaming online through August 13. Shlam, who lives in Israel, visited the U.S. to spread the word about the documentary and the alarming issue of kids getting lost in cyberspace. See her on “Good Morning America,” hear her on the CBC Radio show “Q” and read what had to say.

A scene from Web Junkie. Credit: Dogwoof Global

‘Web Junkie’: free resources to start the conversation

Engage your community in a conversation around the issue of Internet addiction with free resources from POV:

• Discussion Guide
• Standards-Aligned Lesson Plan
• Delve Deeper Reading List
• BorrowWeb Junkie for free from the POV Community Network.

Questions about hosting an event or using these free resources in your work? Contact
Web Junkie continues to stream online. Watch here! Make sure to register your Premiere Party for a chance to win documentary swag, plus popcorn, chocolate and coffee.

Doc Talk on POV's documentary blog

A few things to note before you watch 'The Look of Silence' this weekend
"It's all fairly straight-forward. But then, suddenly, the film takes a radical turn."

The vanishing of the director of 'The Vanquishing of the Witch Baba Yaga'
"Real life trumped the rest." Tom Roston sets out to learn why The Vanquishing of the Witch Baba Yaga filmmaker Jessica Oreck has taken a step back from the documentary film world.

A virtual camera for interactive documentaries, inspired by side-scrolling video games
This new open-source code library creates a virtual camera that can zoom and dolly inside interactive web-based experiences.

Get your documentary artistry right here
Doc Soup Man Tom Roston asks Ann Hornaday of The Washington Post to reconsider her view that today's documentaries aren't "bold, daring or artful."

Tuesday, July 21: America ReFramed takes viewers to the U.S./Mexico border with award-winning ‘Purgatorio’

Take an epic journey to the U.S./Mexico border with Purgatorio (Dir. Rodrigo Reyes) on Tuesday, July 21 at 8 p.m. ET on WORLD Channel. (Check local listings). Purgatorio will also stream for free for a limited time after the broadcast ( and available on demand @iTunesMovies @GooglePlay @AmazonVideo. #Takethejourney with Purgatorio and restart the conversation.
And World Channel’s focus on American Justice continues this month with a special presentation of Mothers of Bedford (Dir. Jenifer McShane) on Saturday, July 25. Follow us on Facebook and on Twitter, and join the discussions online #AmericaReframed.


Upcoming funding and festival deadlines

Don't wait until the next newsletter to find out about a deadline! Visit POV’s ‘For Filmmakers’ Calendar.

• July 17: DOC NYC: WAB Extended Submission Deadline
• July 31: Ambulante: Submission Deadline
• July 31: DOK Leipzig: Registration Deadline for Co-Production Meeting Submissions
• July 31: DOK Leipzig Net Lab Conference: Interactive Projects Submission Deadline
• August 1: IDFA 2015: Film Entry Deadline for Documentaries completed after April 1, 2015
• August 3: Sundance Documentary Fund: Application Deadline
• August 7: ITVS Digital Open Call Fund: Application Deadline
• August 15: Altercine Foundation Documentary Film Grant: Application Deadline
• August 16: 2015 Knight-Mozilla Fellowship: Application Deadline
• August 17: Knight Prototype Fund: Application Deadline

View rolling deadlines and more funding opportunities, calls for entries, festivals and other documentary events on POV's For Filmmakers Calendar.

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Do you love POV? Follow @POVengage on Twitter for news about critical social issues, education resources, screenings & more!

Upcoming POV Screenings

The Storm Makers
Ephrata, Pennsylvania
Thursday, July 18 at 11 a.m.
Ephrata Public Library
Join the Ephrata Public Library for a free sneak preview screening of The Storm Makers. For more information, call 717-738-9291.

Attention Educators

If you are an educator or community organizer and would like to receive updates about upcoming films, free lesson plans and discussion guides, borrow DVDs from our free Lending Library, help spread the word about a broadcast, or continue the dialogue around a film's issues, join our Community Network by registering online (it's free!).

Major funding for POV is provided by PBS, The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Corporation for Public Broadcasting, National Endowment for the Arts, and Schumann Media Center.  Additional funding comes from Nancy Blachman and David desJardins, Bertha Foundation, The Fledgling Fund, Marguerite Casey Foundation, Ettinger Foundation, New York State Council on the Arts, New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, Ann Tenenbaum and Thomas H. Lee, and public television viewers. POV is presented by a consortium of public television stations, including KQED San Francisco, WGBH Boston and THIRTEEN in association with WNET.ORG.
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