Watch the Global Voices Season Six Premiere!

Travel from your living room with the latest season of Global Voices! Airing on the WORLD channel, season six premieres June 2 with 18 weeks of international documentaries that give you vistas into other worlds.

Peek into the spectacular, treacherous terrain of Eastern Java, Indonesia, where miners haul sulfur through toxic gases to supply material for our matches and makeup. Where Heaven Meets Hell makes its U.S. debut June 2, 10 p.m. EST.

The next premiere, When Hari Got Married (June 16), follows a 30-year-old taxi driver in the Indian Himalayas, marrying a young girl he has only known through his cell phone. Follow Muslim women seeking radical change in their court system in South India (Invoking Justice, July 14), and the disappeared children of El Salvador’s 1980s civil war as they return to their native country (Niños de la Memoria, June 30).

Learn more about the corners of our globe that you never expected to see: Watch Global Voices online and “like” the Facebook page to keep up with the season!

‘Tis the Season for Global Voices

After a whirlwind fifth season, Global Voices is recognized by the New York Times as one of the best series of 2012!

In his article “Still Going Strong: Detectives, Killers and Bill Moyers”, New York Times television critic Mike Hale gave a special shout out to the ITVS series in his 2012 report:

SPECIAL NONFICTION MENTION The “Global Voices” series, carried on some PBS stations, presents international documentaries you’re unlikely to see anywhere else. Recent standouts have included “Street Ballad: A Jakarta Story,” a heartbreaking look at an Indonesian busker, and “Last Days of the Arctic,” a profile of the Icelandic photographer Ragnar Axelsson full of magnificent images of the Arctic landscape and people.

Global Voices offers audiences an intimate look at the uncommon stories by and about everyday people. The fifth season of Global Voices brought Ethiopian runners, Russian political activists, and Indonesian street musicians into the homes of everyday Americans, bringing these rare insights and firsthand perspectives to life. From the Ukraine to Afghanistan, Global Voices is an eclectic showcase of internationally themed documentaries made by independent filmmakers around the globe.

To read Hale’s full article, please click here.

Online Symposium Examines and Asks: Why Poverty?

Women play a vital role in the economic prosperity of their families, communities, and countries. Yet in every part of the world, women work longer hours than men, are consistently paid less for their work, are at a higher risk of unemployment, and are far more likely to live in poverty. This central theme is the topic of a global online film symposium Wednesday, December 12 at 2pm ET / 19:00 UTC. To participate, visit bit.ly/PovertyChat.

The online symposium will feature clips from Welcome to the WorldSolar Mamas, and other films from Why Poverty?, a global media event created to encourage people to talk about poverty around the world. Continue reading

Welcome to the World, Tonight on Why Poverty?

By Brian Hill
Director of Welcome to the World

130 million babies are born each year, and not one of them decides where they’ll be born or how they’ll live. Welcome to the World premieres tonight as part of the Why Poverty? series special on Global Voices.

Apart from those in the medical profession, there can’t be many men in the world who have seen as many babies born as I did this year. It all started when I was invited to make one of the films for the Why Poverty? season, a global initiative posing important questions about poverty and inequality.

I wanted to start at the beginning, at the birth of a child, to see how poverty might impact the life of an infant, and how we might then imagine how that life would turn out. Once you decide to start right there, at the moment of birth, you are necessarily involved in questions of infant mortality — the chances a child has of survival. And infant mortality goes hand in hand with maternal mortality. You can’t talk about one without the other. Continue reading

Poor Us: An Animated History of Poverty

By Ben Lewis
Director of Poor Us

The poor may always have been with us, but attitudes towards them have changed. Beginning in the Neolithic Age, Ben Lewis’s film Poor Us, which premieres tonight as part of the Why Poverty? series special on Global Voices, takes us through the changing world of poverty. You go to sleep, you dream, you become poor through the ages. And when you awake, what can you say about poverty now? There are still very poor people, to be sure, but the new poverty has more to do with inequality…

I got the idea of how I wanted to make this film from a coincidence of spelling. The first three letters of the word POVERTY are POV, which in filmmaking language is an acronym for Point-of-View. It made me realize instantly that I wanted to tell the history of poverty from the point of view of a poor person.

I wanted to make a film that, like the others I have made, was simultaneously a meticulously researched historical documentary and a wildly imaginative fictional envisioning of history. In other words, I wanted to make a film that blurred the line in new ways between documentary and fiction.

So the first thing I did was spend two months in the British Library reading scores of new micro-histories of poverty, studies of poverty in specific historical epochs and locations, which have been published in the last fifteen years. All this new research is little known. I read Sharon Farmer’s Surviving Poverty in Medieval Paris, Mine Ener’s Managing Eygpt’s Poor 1800-1952, and Lillian Li’s Fighting Famine in North China, as well as John Iliffe’s classic The African Poor. Continue reading

Questioning the Power of Celebrity: The Making of Give Us the Money

By Bosse Lindquist
Director of Give Us the Money

From Live Aid to Make Poverty History, celebrities have become activists against poverty. Bob Geldof and Bono have been the most prominent voices advocating on behalf of the poor. But have their concerts and campaigns really lifted millions out of poverty? Give Us the Money premieres tonight as part of the Why Poverty? series special on Global Voices.

Summer of 1974, I hitchhiked from Sweden to Kenya in order to escape my family and upbringing. I ended up teaching in a small rural secondary school by Lake Victoria. It changed my life in many ways and I fear I learned more about life than I managed to teach my students.

Living on a local Kenyan salary in a mud hut gave me a crash course in the basics of life for a substantial part of Earth’s population. It also gave me a different perspective on development workers and foreign aid. I could see my fellow wazungus (white people) whiz by on the national road in luxurious air-conditioned cars, too often insulated from reality physically, culturally, and intellectually. To me, this seemed like at least a partial explanation to why many development projects didn’t deliver the goods in those days.

Ever since I’ve been wondering what outsiders can do to affect change in somebody else’s country. Especially when it comes to beating the totally atrocious and unacceptable extent of people living in extreme poverty. Continue reading

Audiences Ask Why Poverty?, This Week on Global Voices

Why Poverty? is a groundbreaking film series featuring a simultaneous global broadcast of documentaries, online shorts, and interactive discussions. Why Poverty? focuses on the question: Why do a billion people in the world still live in poverty?

Why Poverty? was created four years ago by STEPS, a group of broadcasters and producers who created a series focusing on HIV in South Africa (STEPS for the Future) and the multi-part documentary series Why Democracy? For Why Poverty?, STEPS and other broadcasters collaborated to create an international media event that would showcase films about poverty and engage a global debate on issues revolving around poverty.

Spearheaded by STEPS Producer Don Edkins, BBC Storyville Commissioning Editor Nick Fraser, and DR (Denmark) Commissioning Editor Mette Hoffman Meyer, the project now involves over 70 international broadcasters who will broadcast and transmit the films during the month of November and reach over 50 million people.

ITVS is the US partner for Why Poverty? and has already broadcast the premiere film, Mona Eldaief and Jehane Noujaim’s Solar Mamas on November 5th, followed by Alex Gibney’s Park Avenue: Money, Power and the American Dream on November 12th on the PBS series Independent Lens. The remaining 6 films will be broadcast on the Global Voices series on the World Channel during the week of November 26. Continue reading

Why Poverty? Launches Global Dialogue on Poverty

ITVS and STEPS International to premiere 8 docs and 30 online shorts in 200 countries to address global inequality.

Why do one billion people still live in poverty worldwide, and what can be done to change it?

That’s the complex question the Why Poverty? series hopes to answer. Presented by ITVS’s Global Perspectives Project in partnership with STEPS International, a Denmark based nonprofit, the Why Poverty? series is a global cross-media project aimed at raising awareness of poverty in America and around the world. Continue reading

Dinner with the President, Sunday on Global Voices

Dinner with the President: A Nation’s Journey by Sabiha Sumar airs Sunday, October 28 on Global Voices on the WORLD Channel.

Dictator or liberator? General or president? Pakistani filmmaker Sabiha Sumar sits down with former Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf, prior to his resignation, to find answers. In an intimate and hard-hitting interview, the former president discusses his vision for the future of Pakistan and its people, and reveals childhood stories that have shaped his life.

Dinner with the President: A Nation’s Journey will air as part of the Global Voices series on the WORLD Channel, Sunday, October 28 at 10 p.m. (check local listings). Starting October 29, the documentary will be available to view in entirety online via PBS Video (for a limited time only).

Street Ballad: A Jakarta Story, Sunday on Global Voices

On Sunday, Global Voices brings you Street Ballad: A Jakarta Story by first time filmmaker Daniel Ziv, who provided BTB with this inside look on the motivation behind his documentary. The film airs Sunday, October 21 on the WORLD Channel (check local listings).

Street Ballad: A Jakarta Story is my first film. I was drawn to the unusual tale behind it not because of any ambition to become a filmmaker or the quest to find a ‘good topic’ for a documentary, but because one day on the streets of Jakarta, Indonesia, I stumbled across a gang of unique individuals whose amazing life story I could not ignore.

Street buskers: disaffected yet spirited youngsters who navigate Jakarta’s crowded buses and polluted streets, croon songs that spell out their life stories and challenge the powers that be. Marginalized youngsters working hard for enough loose change to get them through another week, never turning to crime, unemployment, or despair.

I was drawn into their world and as I spent more time with them, I realized their tale deserved to be told. I also recognized that it was a story with the potential to fascinate and charm audiences as much as it captivated me. Although I wasn’t yet a filmmaker, it was a story that happened to contain everything a documentary filmmaker could ask for: contagious personalities, compelling social justice issues, individual struggles that shed light on universal problems, a colorful urban sub-culture and – as an added bonus – a built-in soundtrack of wonderful original music. Continue reading