Tag Archives: PBS Distribution

Save the date: “Endeavour Season 4” hits shelves September 5 

It’s the summer of 1967, and the effects of the Cold War and ’60s counterculture are being felt in Oxford. It has barely been two weeks since the events depicted in the season three finale, and we find Oxford’s finest picking up the pieces of their personal and professional lives. Endeavour waits to hear the result of his Sergeant’s Exam, and self-medicates to numb his heartache over Joan, but whisky and Tännhauser will only get a man so far. Meanwhile, Thursday and Win deal with their own sense of grief. Their home is empty, Sam gone to the Army and Joan . . . who knows where?

Welcome to Masterpiece Mystery: Endeavour Season 4 will be available on DVD and Blu-ray on September 5. The program will also be available for digital download. Save the date!

A description of each of the episodes from Season 4 is listed below.

Game
Endeavour, struggling with Joan Thursday’s sudden departure, finds himself consumed by a nightmarish hunt for a serial killer. He must race against time to find the connection between a chess-playing “thinking” machine and a baffling drowning.

Canticle
When morality advocate Joy Pettybon receives a death threat, Endeavour must protect her at all costs. But the arrival of a rebellious band, The Wildwood, quickly drags Endeavour into a bloody war of social attitudes that just had its first fatality.

Lazaretto
Whispers of a cursed ward at the local hospital and a seemingly innocuous death begin a chain of events that leads Endeavour to investigate the dark depths of the hospital, its staff and its patients. Meanwhile, he is forced to confront his own ghosts as he discovers a chilling secret.

Harvest
The extraordinary discovery of a 2,000-year-old body reveals a new lead in a missing person case. Endeavour and Thursday must investigate the eerie village of Bramford, where nature is pitted against man and pagan rites hide nuclear mysteries.

 

A Quaret of DVDs from PBS Distribution to watch inside and beat the heat outdoors

Too hot to enjoy the outdoors? PBS Distribution has made it cooler to stay inside and enjoy some of their DVD release.  Here are four picks.

Every year, millions of animals embark on epic journeys on an astonishing scale, crossing hostile landscapes, traveling hundreds of miles, overcoming fearsome obstacles, and facing intense dangers and voracious predators in a race to reach their destination. Follow three iconic animals—caribou, elephants, and zebra—on three of the world’s most breathtaking wildlife adventures, journeying across hundreds of miles of Canadian arctic wilderness and African bush.

Such is the world of Nature’s Great Race. Every decision could mean life or death, and for the first time ever, watch the animals every step of the way. Using the latest tagging technology, the scientific team tracks individual animal journeys precisely, ensuring that camera teams on the ground can follow and film key animals, capturing all of the action, the close calls, the successes, and the failures. Uncover the true driving forces that compel these animals to risk everything, and why they must win these great races.

Last Days of Jesus peels back thousands of years of tradition to explore a new political context to the historical events in Jerusalem.  Examining how dramatic incidents in Rome could have played a crucial role in shaping Jesus’ destiny, the program reveals an extraordinary political alliance that altered the course of history.

For almost 2,000 years, the story of Jesus’ final days has been celebrated by Christians around the world. From his triumphant entry into Jerusalem, through his eventual crucifixion six days later, the key moments have been immortalized in countless films, pieces of music and works of art.  However, in recent years, some historians have begun to question inconsistencies in the Gospels’ version of events.  They believe that the Gospels could hide a very different story: one that casts the historical Jesus in an entirely new light.

In an investigation that stretches from Dallas to Miami to an upscale resort in Costa Rica, Frontline and NPR examine two of the government’s key affordable housing programs to see whether they’re working as they should. Frontline: Poverty, Politics and Profit also explores the inseparability of race and housing programs in America, tracing a legacy of segregation that began more than 80 years ago.

From exploring why even those who receive Section 8 vouchers often struggle to find housing, to examining charges that developers have stolen money meant to house low-income people, the program is a timely and probing exploration of a system in crisis—and who’s being left behind.

What happens when prisoners convicted of first-degree murder as teenagers are given the chance to re-enter society? Frontline takes a look at the fight over the fate of some 2,000 individuals following a landmark 2012 Supreme Court ruling that found sentences of mandatory life without parole for juveniles unconstitutional.

Frontline: Second Chance Kids draws on the experiences of prosecutors, defenders, the families of the murder victims, and several offenders themselves.

Visit Cuba for a weekend with Geoffrey Baer

Travel with host Geoffrey Baer to explore the heart of Cuba’s magical capital city, now open to Americans after more than 50 years. Three young locals—architect and restorationist Daniel de la Regata; Irene Rodriguez, one of Cuba’s top flamenco dancers; and Grammy-nominated jazz pianist Roberto Fonseca—serve as enthusiastic guides, allowing viewers to experience this vibrant and historic place through the eyes of those who love it and call it home. Witness the adventures in Weekend in Havana.

PBS Distribution releases the DVD July 25; the program will also be available for digital download.

Baer, host of the PBS series 10 That Changed America about game-changing buildings, homes, parks, owns as well as more than 20 specials on Chicago history and architecture, takes to the streets of Havana with his guides and new fast friends, Daniel, Irene, and Roberto. After meeting up at a café in Cathedral Plaza in Old Havana, he is given a whirlwind tour of Cuba’s fascinating and colorful history, a hands-on introduction to Afro-Cuban music and dance, a primer on Havana’s varied architecture and efforts being made to restore many of the city’s ruins, and an inside look at how everyday Cubans live in this “old city trying to find its place in the modern world,” a land off-limits to Americans for decades.

Guided by his new friends, Geoffrey witnesses the nightly firing of the cannon at the fortress of San Carlos de la Cabana; visits Plaza de Armas, the city’s first public square; rides in a 1950s-era red Chevrolet on a journey through Havana’s breathtaking but sometimes crumbling architecture; and meets an auto mechanic charged with keeping many of Havana’s vintage automobiles in running order. He also takes a wild ride in a “coco taxi,” a small yellow vehicle sans seatbelts that looks like a coconut, and gets an overview of the vivid local arts scene, which includes street musicians along El Malecón’s crowded sea wall. He dines in one of the city’s many paladars (intimate family restaurants in what were once private homes), and hobnobs with the fashionable young crowd at La Fabrica, a series of art galleries, bars and performance spaces located in an old factory.

Geoffrey also visits a ruined sugar plantation where African slaves once toiled and takes part in a present-day Santeria ritual in a private home. From Roberto and his band, Geoffrey gets a quick tutorial on Afro-Cuban percussion at the famous Studio Areito, one of the oldest surviving recording studios in the world. After a visit to the U.S. Embassy, Geoffrey watches young athletes taking part in America’s and Cuba’s joint national pastime, baseball, unearths some reminders of the turbulent Cuban Revolution era, and is granted rare access to one of Havana’s most important restoration projects: El Capitolio, Cuba’s Capitol building, modeled after the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. He also imbibes at one of Ernest Hemingway’s favorite watering holes and boats out to the small fishing village of Cojimar, the setting for The Old Man and the Sea, and visits Hemingway’s home in San Francisco de Paula

Geoffrey checks out the glitzy floorshow at the Tropicana nightclub, and ends his journey at La Guarida’s rooftop piano bar, perched atop a crumbling mansion. With Roberto’s band playing in the background, he reflects on the new understanding he has gained of Havana.

Two new DVD frame the lives of John James Audubon and Alice Waters

We turn the spotlight onto two must-have documentaries on DVD: Public Media Distribution’s Audubon (available June 20) and PBS Distribution’s American Masters: Alice Waters and Her Delicious Revolution (now available).

John James Audubon was one of the most remarkable men of early America. A contemporary of Lewis and Clark and Davy Crockett, he explored the American frontier in search of “the feathered tribes” he loved and studied. A self-taught artist and ornithologist, he left a legacy of art and science that made him famous in his lifetime and endures to this day. His portrait hangs in the White House, his statue stands over the entrance to the American Museum of Natural History, and his name was adopted by the nation’s first conservation organization.

The program, filmed in locations where Audubon painted, brings to life his timeless paintings with dazzling footage of the living birds he immortalized—and celebrates visually the natural world he described in his writings. Interviews reveal the man, explore his art, and put his groundbreaking work in modern perspective.

Alice Waters and her now-famous restaurant Chez Panisse became a major force behind the way Americans eat and think about food, launching the explosion of local farmers’ markets and redesigned supermarket produce departments.

Distressed by the food she saw in public schools, Waters started an organic garden with an integrated curriculum at the Martin Luther King Middle School near her house, an idea inspired by The Garden Project at the San Francisco county jail. The idea of an Edible Schoolyard has now spread across the U.S.–and inspired similar programs worldwide. She is an activist with a flawless palette who has taken her gift for food and turned it into consciousness about the environment and nutrition, and a device for social change.

“Nova: Building Chernobyl’s MegaTomb” proves another disaster looms

Ever wonder why Nova, now in its 44nd season, is the most-watched primetime science series on American television, reaching an average of five million viewers weekly? The series remains committed to producing in-depth science programming in the form of hour-long (and occasionally longer) documentaries. Witness another wonder: Nova: Building Chernobyl’s MegaTomb (PBS Distribution).

In 1986, in the heart of the Ukraine, the Chernobyl nuclear reactor exploded, releasing 400 times more radiation than the Hiroshima Bomb. It was the world’s worst nuclear disaster.  Thirty workers died. 50,000 people fled the nearest city. And radioactive fallout made an area larger than Long Island a no-go zone. Hastily, a so-called “sarcophagus” was built to contain the radioactive materials that lingered at the site after the explosion. But 30 years later, the sarcophagus is crumbling, and another disaster at Chernobyl looms.

Now, an international team of engineers is racing the clock to assemble one of the most ambitious superstructures ever built … an extraordinary 40,000 ton, 1.5 billion dollar mega dome to entomb the crumbling remains of the Chernobyl nuclear reactor. Battling arctic winter weather–and lethal radiation–this DVD features the inside story of the epic race to build Chernobyl’s MegaTomb.

PBS takes a dramatic, often depression peek in “Victorian Slum House”

What would it be like . . .

In the landmark living history series, a Victorian tenement in the heart of London’s East End has been painstakingly brought back to life. Host Michael Mosley joins a group of 21st-century families as they move in and experience the tough living and working conditions of the Victorian poor.

The experience: Victorian Slum House.

Progressing decade by decade, the Slum residents begin life in tough conditions of the 1860s, when London, capital of the world’s first industrial superpower, and the richest city on Earth, was also home to the nation’s most desperately poor. Most managed to get by but putting food on the table and paying the rent involves long hours of hard labor.

As the slum dwellers move into the 1870s and the 1880s, they are faced with a dire economic depression and increasing competition for jobs; and revolution is in the air. Things get better for some in the 1890s, as Victorian Britain’s economy picks up but it’s during the early 1900s that progressive social change starts to make a real difference. Through their incredible journey they discover the extraordinary story of how the Victorian East End changed Britain’s attitude to poverty forever.

 

PBS Distribution’s “Nova: Holocaust Escape Tunnel” is a powerful history lesson

Once again, PBS Distribution has released a documentary that demands viewing . . . and a place in your library. Make note, please: Nova: Holocaust Escape Tunnel, available now on DVD and also available for digital download.

For centuries, the Lithuanian city of Vilna was one of the most important Jewish centers in the world, earning the title “Jerusalem of the North,” until the Nazis destroyed it. About 95% of its Jewish population of Vilna, its name in Hebrew and Yiddish, was murdered and its synagogues and institutions were reduced to ruins. The Soviets finished the job, paving over the remnants of Vilna’s famous Great Synagogue, for example, so thoroughly that few today know it ever existed. Now, an international team of archaeologists are trying to recover this lost world. They will excavate the remains of its Great Synagogue and uncover one of Vilna’s greatest secrets: a lost escape tunnel dug by Jewish prisoners inside a horrific Nazi execution site.

Chances are you will love the bittersweet “My Mother and Other Strangers”

Chances are . . .

Hattie Morahan and Aaron Staton star as a village teacher and U.S. air force officer whose chance meeting in Northern Ireland during World War II leads to a friendship that blossoms into something deeper.

Welcome to Masterpiece: My Mother and Other Strangers (PBS Distribution), coming to DVD on July 11. Also starring is Owen McDonnell as the teacher’s dour but loving husband, along with Eileen O’Higgins, Michael Nevin, Des McAleer, Kate Phillips, Fiona Button and Ciarán Hinds.

During its recent UK broadcast, viewers and critics were deeply moved by this bittersweet tale. “No other recent drama has captured quite so keenly a sense of the complex, hidden, unspoken desires that can roil away beneath even the quietest surface,” wrote the reviewer for The Telegraph, who added, “Hattie Morahan is superb.”

Shot on the stunningly beautiful Ards Peninsula in Northern Ireland, the film portrays the culture clash when a U.S. bomber base is established near the fictional village of Moybeg in 1943, bringing hundreds of gum-chewing, swing-band-listening American airmen to a remote Ulster farming community, with its winsome women and stolid workingmen.

The action is framed from the point of view of a young boy, Francis Coyne (played by Nevin, with voiceover of Francis as an older man by Hinds). Francis’s childhood is populated by strangers. On the one hand, there are the friendly Americans in their Jeeps and airplanes, who treat him like a little brother. Then there is his mother, Rose (Morahan), an upright Englishwoman who married Michael Coyne (McDonnell) and moved to his hometown, Moybeg, where she is raising their three children, teaching in the village school, and tending a grocery shop next to Michael’s pub. Despite being a pillar of the community, Rose has never fit in. She speaks more properly than the locals, loves English literature, and has a lively interest in the wider world.

Into this isolated domain comes Captain Ronald Dreyfus (Staton), U.S. Army Air Forces, who encounters Rose during a walk on the heath. When they meet again, he quotes her a line from Tennyson’s “The Lady of Shalott”—one of her favorite poems.

Captain Dreyfus is as reserved as Rose is. But in his capacity as base liaison officer, he has occasion to see her frequently: dealing with a fracas between airmen and regulars at the pub, arranging for an army nurse (Phillips) to care for a sick child, and planning a Christmas party for the school.

Both would-be lovers fight against the stronger feelings that are overwhelming them—emotions that are increasingly evident to those around them.

Wary of betraying her husband, Rose feels seized by some otherworldly force, a sentiment she can only recognize from a piece of literature—Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights—which she quotes from memory: “Be with me always—take any form—drive me mad! only do not leave me in this abyss, where I cannot find you!”

 

PBS serves up two fascinating documentaries on DVD, just in time for the July holiday

Food, glorious, food. What better way to celebrate incredible edibles than on July 4, the holiday that offers the independence to choose among so much delish dishes? PBS Distrubtion comes into action with the DVD being released that day.

“What fish should I eat that’s good for me and good for the planet?” That’s the question bestselling author and lifelong fisherman Paul Greenberg sets out to answer. As part of his quest to investigate the health of the ocean—and his own—Greenberg spends a year eating seafood for breakfast, lunch and dinner. It’s a journey that’s brought to life in Frontline: The Fish on My Plate produced by Neil Docherty, David Fanning and Sarah Spinks. The documentary will be available on DVD July 4; the program will also be available for digital download.

The program chronicles Greenberg as he works on his upcoming book, The Omega Principle—and consumes more than 700 fish meals in hopes of improving his health through a dramatic increase in his Omega-3 levels.

With people worldwide consuming more seafood than ever, Greenberg also explores questions of sustainability and overfishing, traveling to Norway, where modern fish farming was invented; Peru to witness the world’s largest wild fishery; Alaska, where 200 million salmon can be caught each year; and Connecticut to visit a sustainable ocean farming pioneer who is trying to transform the fishing industry.

On the wild side, Greenberg finds that not everything is as it seems: At America’s largest seafood trade show, American wild salmon is labeled as a product of China. Why? Alaskan salmon is shipped frozen to China, thawed there to be deboned and filleted, and then refrozen to be shipped back to American supermarkets.

When it comes to farmed fish, things aren’t much more clear-cut: In Norway, the world center for farming America’s favorite fish, the Atlantic salmon, Greenberg finds a “salmon war.” The country’s fjords are festooned with farms, profits are huge, and growth expectations are high—but there is fierce criticism from environmentalists who complain the farms create more sewage than the entire human population of the country, that they spread disease, and that escaped farmed salmon are polluting the genetics of dwindling wild stocks.

Plus, a parasite, the sea louse—which feeds off the blood of the salmon—multiplies exponentially in the farms, and then infects entire fjords. This has led the government to halt the industry’s growth until the louse can be restrained.

In the program, Greenberg charts the industry’s efforts to accommodate its critics and search for solutions—visiting a “green” fish farm just south of the Arctic Circle, and discussing proposals for a genetically modified salmon that will be grown in tanks out of the ocean.

The Fish on My Plate isn’t just the story of one man’s journey. It’s a must-watch documentary for any consumer who cares about both his or her own health, and the health of the planet.

The three-part program Hungry for Food delves into the physics , chemistry and biology that creates each bite of food we take.  Dr. Michael Mosley (below) and botanist James Wong celebrate the physics, chemistry, and biology hidden inside every bite.

Image result for hungry for food Dr. Michael Mosley

Together Mosley and Wong travel the world and take over the UK’s leading food lab as they deconstruct favorite meals, taking viewers inside the food, right down to the molecular level.

The documentary will also  be available on DVD July 4; the program will also be available for digital download.

Descriptions of each of the episodes included on the DVD are listed below:

We Are What We Eat
Michael and James explore how the chemicals in our food feed and build our bodies. The world is full of different cuisines and thousands of different meals. Yet when they’re reduced to their essence, there are actually just a handful of ingredients that our bodies absolutely need from our food to survive. These essential molecules come in a series of familiar sounding groups–carbohydrates, fat, protein, vitamins and minerals–but Michael and James discover plenty of surprises as they seek to understand exactly why each class of molecule is so important for the way our bodies work.

This is food taken to its fundamentals. By using the latest imaging techniques and incredibly detailed specialist photography, Michael and James offer a whole new way of thinking about the relationship we have with our modern diet.

A Matter of Taste
Michael and James explore how the marriage between chemistry and biology is the root of all the sensations, tastes, and flavors that we enjoy in our food. Michael begins by deconstructing a Thai meal. Its effect on the tongue can be reduced down to just five tastes: sweet, sour, salty, bitter and the less well-known umami. Umami is the most recently discovered of all the tastes. It’s a Japanese word that translates as ‘pleasant savory taste.’ By the end of their journey through flavor, they reveal that taste if far more than just being delicious–it’s a matter of survival.

Food on the Brain
Michael and James explore the effect of Food on the Brain. The brain is one of the greediest organs in the body in terms of the energy it needs to run. It influences our diet by generating the cravings we all experience. The food we put in our mouths has a very direct effect on all the grey matter lurking above. And the brain does something rather ingenious with all this sensory input. We all have a series of interconnections in our brains called the reward pathway. This allows us to make pleasant associations between the food we eat, who we eat it with, and where we eat it–and these feelings keep us coming back for more.

 

 

Has the federal government overstepped its authority? “American Patriot” says yes

Drawing on deep access to key people on all sides of the battle, Frontline: American Patriot (PBS Distribution) investigates the standoffs that propelled the Bundy family into the national spotlight and the crosshairs of the federal government. With “Patriot” groups that rallied to the Bundys’ cause surging to levels not seen in decades, the film also reports on what’s next for the family and the wider movement around them. The riveting documentary will be available on DVD June 13; the program will also be available for digital download.

 

The effort traces the Bundy family’s story as ranchers in the high deserts of Nevada, grazing cattle for generations on federal land and ultimately going to war against the government.

Now, their fight has become a lot bigger.

What began as one family’s dispute with the government over grazing fees has reinvigorated a national movement of self-styled militias and “Patriots.” They believe the federal government has overstepped its authority, strayed from its founding principles, and is filled with agents they are duty-bound to oppose. They call themselves Oath Keepers, Constitutional Sheriffs, sovereign citizens, Three Percenters. And while each group has its own cause, they rally under the same banner: opposition to federal overreach.

Over the past several years, many of these “Patriots” have answered the Bundys’ call, taking up arms to defend against what they see as government infringement of their rights as American citizens. In 2014, armed men faced down the federal government at the Bundy ranch when agents came to impound their cattle. In the end, the federal agents backed down. Then, last year, armed “Patriots” again joined Ammon and Ryan when they occupied a federal wildlife preserve in Oregon to protest the imprisonment of fellow ranchers, the Hammonds, who were convicted of starting fires on federal lands. Last October, Ammon, Ryan and five other supporters were acquitted of federal charges relating to the occupation. A trial for the remaining defendants is scheduled to begin next month.

 American Patriot and the accompanying written and audio story helps audiences to understand the Bundys, their fight and the people who have rallied to their cause.