A Myriad of POVs: History Documentaries

POV (meaning "point of view") is a PBS series of documentaries by independent filmmakers. According to PBS, POV is the longest running series featuring independent documentary films. For the past 25 years, PBS has premiered approximately 15 independent nonfiction films yearly-many of these featuring stunning, history-related topics. Discover a myriad of history POVs with this PBS documentary series.

How POV began

PBS used its national platform to create a venue for independent filmmakers that would not normally have such an opportunity. POV exposes the wide PBS viewership to new, sometimes offbeat, ideas, concepts, issues and niche subject matter that may never have been brought to light otherwise. POV history documentaries (as well as the other POV films,) have impacted ideas about social change, spurred community-based activities and enlightened many viewers with an unflinching, sometimes prickly honesty.

What makes POV history films special?

POV is known for its intimate style that personalizes the subject matter and transports the viewer into the past. The pared-down productions minimize distractions while allowing the focus to be the film's essential questions. The compelling storytelling and humanizing qualities of POV have garnered these films every major film and broadcasting award. From the 27 Emmys, 15 George Foster Peabody Awards, 10 Alfred I. DuPont-Columbia Broadcast Journalism Awards to the three Academy Awards and many more, POV documentaries are admired and appreciated by peers, professionals and all viewers.

POV history documentary standouts

POV has introduced the PBS audience to now-illustrious directors and their films. These famous directors include: Michael Moore with his film Pets or Meat, Terry Zwigoff with Louie Bluie, Albert and David Maysles offering Salesman and Errol Morris with his Gates of Heaven. These outstanding directors are just a few of the famous and not-so-famous, directors to contribute to POV programming.

A myriad of POV historical documentary topics

The POV style illuminates history in compelling ways. The POV history documentary allows a glimpse into heretofore-undisclosed, first-person awareness of history. Try looking at history from the POV perspective and awaken to an array of historical topics such as:

  • Japanese internment in Who's Going to Pay for These Donuts, Anyway? by Janice Tanaka
  • The Holocaust in Hiding and Seeking: Faith and Tolerance After the Holocaust by Oren Rudavsky and Menachem Daum
  • An offbeat take on the Iran-Contra affair in David Goldsmith and Seven Day's The Times of a Sign: A Folk History of the Iran-Contra Scandal
  • Homes Apart: The Two Koreas by Christine Choy and J. T. Takagi, which speaks to the line between North and South Korea
  • Building Bombs: The Legacy by Mark Mori and Susan Robinson, which involves the bomb manufacturing of South Carolina's Savannah River Plant
  • Of Civil Wrongs and Rights: The Fred Korematsu Story by Eric Paul Fournier, which speaks to a Japanese-American's choice to be a fugitive rather than suffer internment.
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