Tag Archives: PBS Distribution

Five hot new “Frontline” DVDs, all must-see and must-have

No wonder we love Frontline. Such great shows, now on DVD from PBS Distribution.

Frontline: Trump’s Takeover
President Frump’s first year in office has been marked by ongoing turmoil—including in his own Republican party, where presidential tweet storms, inflammatory rhetoric and high-profile dissent have fueled open conflict.
Gripping and revealing, this program tells the story of Frump’s takeover of the Republican Party—from the perspective of Republican lawmakers and insiders themselves.
Trump’s Takeover examines the president’s unorthodox governing style, showing how after taking office, he displayed a lack of interest in the ins and outs of legislation and policy, and instead took to Twitter, attacking opponents. The film goes behind closed doors in the negotiations to repeal and replace Obamacare—Trump’s first major legislative test—revealing through accounts of people who were there how little Trump seemed to understand or care about the details of the bill.

Frontline: McCain
The program follows the story of the Republican Party’s evolution and an exploration of Senator John McCain (R., Ariz.)’s complicated relationship with President Trump and the Republican Party, as well as his life and politics.

Drawing on both new interviews and Frontline’s deep rchive of reporting, McCain traces the conservative standard-bearer’s motivations and his political history, from his experience as a prisoner of war in Vietnam, to speaking out against torture during the Bush administration, to his dramatic vote against the GOP’s health care bill last year.

Frontline: Blackout in Puerto Rico
More than seven months after Hurricane Maria devastated the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico, more than 100,000 Americans are still without power, as part of the worst blackout in U.S. history.
This program investigates how the federal response in Puerto Rico left millions of Americans in the dark for months—and the storm before the storm: how Wall Street, Puerto Rico’s government, and Washington fueled a debt crisis that left the island’s economy in ruins and its infrastructure crippled even before Maria hit. The investigative team uncovered a trove of insider documents that show a government relief effort in chaos, struggling with key contracts, basic supplies, and its own workforce.

Produced with the Investigative Reporting Workshop at American University, the program uncovers a series of shortcomings after Maria, including how half of FEMA’s staff on the island were trainees or unqualified, how contractors FEMA turned to failed to deliver hundreds of thousands of tarps, and how the Army Corps’ temporary roof repair program was glaringly slow compared to other storms—putting up just 439 roofs in the first 30 days after the storm compared to more than 4,500 in the first month after Irma in Florida.
Gripping and riveting, this program is a must-watch look inside the ongoing recovery effort in Puerto Rico—and the economic crisis that devastated the island long before Maria.

Frontline: Trafficked in America
This program investigates how teenagers from Central America were smuggled into the U.S. by traffickers who promised them jobs and a better life—only to force them to live and work in virtual slavery to pay off their debt.

This documentary shines new light on a labor trafficking case in which Guatemalan teens were forced by a third-party contractor to work against their will at Trillium Farms in Ohio, a major egg producer. The investigative team exposes a criminal network that exploited undocumented minors, the companies who profited from their forced labor, and how U.S. government policies and practices helped to deliver some teens directly to their traffickers.
Gripping and revealing, this program presents viewers a rare look inside the hidden reality of labor trafficking in the United States.

Frontline: Myanmar’s Killing Fields
With secret footage filmed by a network of citizen activists, and firsthand accounts from victims and their families, this program is U.S. television’s most comprehensive investigation of the Myanmar military’s violent crackdown on the Rohingya Muslim minority—an effort that has been described by the UN as having the “hallmarks of genocide.”
The Myanmar military insists that its campaign was simply a counter-insurgency “clearance operation” targeted against a militant Islamist Rohingya group, ARSA, that had attacked and killed security forces at police and army bases. But with shocking footage filmed by citizen activists, the documentary depicts an orchestrated campaign to target civilians, state-sanctioned violence, and mass murder—and uncovers new accounts of atrocities against the Rohingya people, from mass rape of women and children, to babies and children thrown into fires.

The program also investigates the role of Aung San Suu Kyi, State Counsellor of Myanmar in the crisis. The Nobel Laureate was once seen as Myanmar’s hope and a beacon for democracy—including by President Barack Obama, who lifted all sanctions on the country in 2016. But Suu Kyi, who has continued to defend her country from international criticism, has now been accused of standing by as her country’s military led an operation that killed thousands of civilians.

New PBS series, “NOVA: Wonders”, hits high notes

NOVA: Wonders is a fresh, lively series that makes complicated concepts accessible while taking a deep dive into the scientific process. Each episode poses a big scientific question and takes viewers along on a journey to explore how far we’ve come in our quest for answers, and how we’ve managed to get here. Among the intriguing topics pondered are the secret language of animals, what’s hidden in the human body, the artificial intelligence technologies that could rival and surpass the abilities of the human mind, the controversial power to engineer life in a lab, and the mysteries of the universe.

The program travels to some unexpected places to look for answers—including deep underwater, where humpback whales are essentially playing a game of “telephone” across the world, with pods teaching each other new songs; deep beneath our skin, where trillions of microbes are living in our bodies; deep below the earth, in mines where researchers are trying to detect elusive dark matter particles; deep into space, where astrophysicists are hunting for signs of extra-terrestrial life, and more.

Three young scientists serve as enthusiastic guides and science communicators. Talithia Williams is a mathematician and statistician who also applies data models to the human body and the environment. She is joined by co-hosts Rana el Kaliouby, a computer scientist developing emotion recognition technology used in artificial intelligence, and André Fenton, a neuroscientist studying the biology of memory. All three set-up the inquiry, demonstrate key aspects of the challenges facing scientists, and ask provocative questions about research carried out on the winding paths of uncertainty and the unknown.

Set amidst mid-Brexit hysteria, “The Tunnel: Vengeance Season 3” hits DVD

It’s back! PBS Distribution has released the third season of the multi-award winning British crime drama, The Tunnel: Vengeance Season 3 on DVD and Digital HD.  The emotional final season of the critically acclaimed bilingual crime thriller reunites Stephen Dillane  in his International Emmy Award-winning role as Karl Roebuck with Clémence Poésy as Elise Wassermann for their last outing as the beloved and unlikely Anglo-French duo.

In this series, the investigative pair takes on a toxic and terrifying folie à deux whose mutual defining quality is an existential death wish. When the question posed by the couple–what is a life worth?–is directed straight back at Karl, he is forced to confront an utterly impossible choice that will haunt the audience long after the closing credits.

Set amidst mid-Brexit hysteria, The Tunnel: Vengeance tackles an escalating refugee crisis and examines the increasing threat of terror occasioned by disenfranchised, exiled souls on whom society has turned its back.

Last summer, season 2, The Tunnel: Sabotage had 1.1 million streams across PBS digital platforms, making it one of the most-streamed drama limited series on PBS. The season reached more than 2.8 million unique viewers on broadcast television.

Now you know why you must watch!

“American Masters: Basquiat: Rage to Riches” details the life ans creativity of Jean-Michel Basquiat

Another artistic adventure from PBS: American Masters: Basquiat: Rage to Riches.
Directed and produced by David Shulman, this program tells the story of Jean-Michel Basquiat like never before. One of the most influential American artists of the 20th century, Basquiat was a rock star of the early ’80s New York art scene. He lived fast, died young and created thousands of drawings and paintings. It took less than a decade for Basquiat, an accountant’s son from Brooklyn, to go from anonymous graffiti writer known as SAMO to an epoch-defining art star.

American Masters: Basquiat - Rage To RichesToday, Basquiat is in the top tier of the international art market along with Picasso, de Kooning, and Francis Bacon. 2018 marks the 30th anniversary of Basquiat’s untimely death from a heroin overdose. In death, he has emerged as one of the most important artists of his generation and now exhibits in museums all over the world.

The program features exclusive interviews with Basquiat’s two sisters, Lisane and Jeanine, who have never before spoken about their brother and his art for a television documentary. With striking candor, art world colleagues, including dealers Bruno Bischofberger, Larry Gagosian and Mary Boone, and Basquiat’s most intimate friends, lovers and fellow artists draw a portrait of a handsome, charismatic and fragile personality – one enmeshed in a world of cash, drugs and the pernicious racism that he encountered. The main weapon Basquiat used to fight prejudice was his art. A game changer, his painting embodied and reflected breakthroughs in music, poetry and a new type of expressionism in modern art.

Prepare for a journey like no other: “Earth’s Natural Wonders: Season 2: Life at the Extremes”

Somehow, human beings have found a way to exist alongside Mother Nature’s most breath-taking creations. What makes these Natural Wonders so extreme? What are the challenges to human survival within them? And what helps and what hinders us in that struggle?

Answer (and stunning photography) are found with PBS Distribution’s Earth’s Natural Wonders: Season 2: Life at the Extremes. This program, presented in partnership with the BBC, takes viewers to parts of the natural world that nature has carved out on such a scale that they beggar belief.

Vast mountain ranges, impenetrable rainforests and dazzling tropical islands—places where nature is visible at its most primal, most powerful, and most extraordinarily beautiful. For human beings, survival within these wonders can pose extraordinary challenges. Yet in even the most extreme and remote parts of our planet people do survive.

“Ted Williams: The Greatest Hitter Who Ever Lives” hits a home run!

PBS Distribution has hit yet another home run.

American Masters—Ted Williams: The Greatest Hitter Who Ever Lives in now on DVD and Digital HD. The new program, co-produced by Albert M. Tapper Productions, in association with Major League Baseball, David Ortiz’ Big Papi Productions and Nick Davis Productions, explores not only the Baseball Hall of Famer’s remarkable on-field accomplishments but also his complicated relationships with family, teammates, press, fans and himself.

During his remarkable career with the Boston Red Sox, Williams earned many nicknames—The Kid, The Splendid Splinter and Teddy Ballgame, but the only nickname that he wanted was “the greatest hitter who ever lived.” In that pursuit, he combined his preternatural gifts with a fierce work ethic to become widely regarded as one of the greatest ever to play the game of baseball and in the process elevated the science of hitting in ways still emulated today.

Through never-before-seen archival footage and in-depth interviews with those who knew and studied Williams, including his daughter Claudia Williams, author/journalist Ben Bradlee, Jr., veteran baseball writer Roger Angela, and award-winning broadcasters Bob Costas and the late Dick Enberg, the program demonstrates the power of the heroic myth-making culture in which Williams flourished. Lesser-known topics explored int eh film include Williams’ Mexican-American background, his experiences serving during World War II and the Korean War, and his deep rage over his mother’s virtual abandonment of him and his younger brother.

Narrated by Emmy- and Golden Globe-winning actor Jon Hamm,  the documentary also looks at the legendary player’s impact on the game of baseball and his relevance in the almost 60 years since his retirement, highlighted by Williams’ iconic achievement—he is the last player to hit over .400, finishing the 1941 season batting .406. Former players—including Baseball Hall of Famers Willie McCovey and Wade Boggs, three-time All-Star Jim Kaat and current Cincinnati Reds first baseman and former National League MVP Joey Votto—share how Williams’ philosophy, commitment to greatness and approach to hitting influenced them in the film.

The life and treks of Sir Edmund Hillary are chronicled in “Hillary”

Hillary is not about dear Ms. Clinton.

It is from New Zealand, a six-part mini-series based on the life of mountaineer and philanthropist Sir Edmund Hillary. Capturing Hillary’s life of incredible bravery and heartbreaking tragedy, the program lovingly and vividly brings back to life the man New Zealander’s affectionately called “Sir Ed.”

The saga is available on DVD from PBS Distribution.

Based on thousands of hours of exclusive interviews, Hillary tells the story of the first man to conquer Mt. Everest. The program recounts his beekeeping days in South Auckland, to his ascent of the world’s highest mountain with climbing partner Tenzing Norgay, to the plane crash that killed his wife and daughter.

When he summited Everest in May 1953 and, as he told it, “knocked the bastard off,” Hillary put his small home country on the map. He was so beloved in New Zealand that his likeness is featured on the five-dollar note, and he was given a state funeral after his 2008 death.

Andrew Munro stars as Hillary, while Dean O’Gorman plays George Lowe, his longtime friend and climbing partner, and Amy Usherwood plays his wife, Lady Louise Hillary.

Magnificent!

“The Outback”, a new three-part series that explores the people and animals of Australia’s Kimberley region, is great

Filmed over the course of two distinct seasons, The Outback is a new three-part series that explores the people and animals of Australia’s Kimberley region in North West Australia, a vast, rugged and remote wilderness bursting with character. As large as California, the Kimberley has a population of only about 40,000 people, living alongside animals so superbly adapted to the harsh and beautiful extremes of their habitat. It’s a spectacular adventure into the life of Australia’s unique and precious North West corner.

 Catch the adventures on the PBS Distribution on DVD, though you have to save the date: It will be released August 2.

Episodes for this program include:

The Kimberley Comes Alive
The Kimberley region in North West Australia boasts some of the most spectacular wilderness—and tough characters—in existence. As the wet season comes to an end, the humans and the creatures begin their adventures across this diverse and surprising landscape. From tiny, orphaned joeys to majestic ospreys, survival takes guts (and sometimes even the huge hearts of humans to care for them). It’s a land where humans and animals live in dangerous, and exquisite, proximity.

 The Dry Season
It might be the dry season but there’s no rest in the Outback: there are turtle eggs to be laid, saltwater crocodiles to dodge and young birds on maiden flights. Cattle must be mustered from the far corners of vast cattle properties and, when that is done, rodeos spring into action. More quietly, archaeologists are led through remote wilderness by traditional owners, revealing breathtaking galleries of ancient rock art. Out at sea, elite athletes dive the ocean depths in the name of the world’s most spectacular pearl, risking dangerous encounters with curious giants. While mother to marsupials, Mandy Watson, sets her babies free.

Return of the Wet
Inland Kimberley is now so stiflingly hot, everything and everyone moves with caution with the exception of gold diggers Honest John and Steve. The region’s remaining waterholes are packed with animals, forced dangerously close together. Windjana Gorge is a prime example–a pristine oasis where brave humans wade into crocodile-infested water in the name of science. The coast is also a place to congregate. Thousands of shorebirds arrive from the world’s longest single migration, only to be blasted with nets by crafty bird lovers. The humidity builds until the skies finally explode with thunder and rain. Nyul Nyul ranger Albert Wiggan sings a welcome to the life it brings and arrival of a new season in his ancient land.

PBS Distribution flies high with the landmark “Kingdoms of the Sky”

PBS Distribution flies high with Kingdoms of the Sky, a landmark three-part series, presented in partnership with the BBC, reveals the extraordinary animals and remarkable people who make a home on the iconic mountain ranges of the world, including the Himalaya, the Rockies and the Andes.

It’s now available on DVD and the Blu-ray edition hits Blu-ray on August 7.

Episodes for this program include:

Himalaya
Meet the extraordinary wildlife and people of the Himalaya–the highest mountain range on earth, where the air is the thinnest, the wind the strongest, the storms the fiercest. The higher you climb, the tougher it gets to survive. See snub-nosed monkeys, snow leopards on the prowl, and Tibetan monks performing ancient rituals high in the mountains.

Rockies
The Rockies stretch 3000 miles across a beautiful wilderness of snow-capped peaks and hidden valleys. It is home to cougars, wolverines, wolves, and grizzlies, and where daredevil wingsuit fliers jump from high peaks and Native Americans compete in breakneck horse races.

Andes
The longest mountain range on the planet holds dozens of hidden worlds, from the driest desert on Earth to cloud forests teeming with life. Pumas hunt guanaco, shape-shifting frogs hide in remote forests, and the descendants of Inca build bridges of grass. Magnificent snow sculptures, huge salt lakes, and spectacular peaks are all found in these rugged peaks.

PBS Distribution offers two hot new “Nature” titles on DVD

Mother Nature, with some help from  PBS Distribution, has two new hot NATURE titles: Nature: Shark Mountain and Nature: The World’s Most Wanted Animal on DVD and Digital HD. Both titles are also available now on Digital HD.

Nature: Shark Mountain
In the dead of the night, a team of filmmakers jump into the ocean to film hunting behavior on the reef. But first, they must make it through a pack of as many as 50 large and dangerous sharks gathering just below the surface. It is not a dive that many would make. But with Howard and Michele Hall, two of the world’s leading underwater filmmakers, something incredible is always just about to happen.

Thousands of sharks–silkies, white tips, black tips and hammerheads–hunt along the volcanic reefs of Cocos Island, so many that the island has also become known as Shark Mountain. But the waters around this tiny outpost in the Pacific are filled with ocean life so rich and diverse that the island and a twelve-mile zone all around it has been designated a Costa Rican National Park and World Heritage Site.

Shot in spectacular high definition video, the program takes viewers on the underwater journey of a lifetime, showing the wonders of Cocos. Yet it is a world that is disappearing as the years pass, for even places as remote and protected as Cocos are at risk in today’s world.

Nature: The World’s Most Wanted Animal
Pangolins are often described as “the most endangered animal you’ve never heard of.” The world’s only scaly mammal, pangolins are now trafficked at a higher rate than rhinos, elephants and tigers combined, for medicinal use in China, Thailand and Vietnam. Very little is known about even their most basic biology, and this is hampering conservation efforts–pangolins almost always die in captivity. In Namibia, conservationist Maria Diekmann found herself on the frontline of the battle to save these wanted animals after unexpectedly becoming a surrogate mother to an orphaned baby pangolin named Honey Bun.

On an emotional journey, Diekmann travels to Asia to better understand the global issues facing pangolins, before joining forces with a Chinese megastar to help build a campaign to bring awareness to the plight of these surprisingly charming creatures.