PBS SERIES REEL SOUTH ANNOUNCES SIXTH SEASON FOR BROADCAST, STREAMING
Seven films premiere this spring, including inspiring stories of Black life across the American South
March 16, 2021 – Today, Reel South announced 7 new films to premiere as part of the PBS series’ sixth season. This powerful collection of films will air over 6 weeks, starting Monday, April 5, 2021. Distribution includes television broadcast on PBS stations across the country and online streaming available on the PBS app and PBS.org.
Season six of Reel South tackles this moment in American life with nuance and camaraderie. In two half-hour films and five feature films, themes of ritual and participation emerge from stories that face up to the past and bend to the future by finding pathways away from absolution and toward equity. In its most geographically diverse season to date, spanning seven states, new parts of the region are uncovered, including little-seen explorations of Black life in San Antonio, Texas (The Passing On) and in Asheville, North Carolina (Muni). Additionally, the series explores the majesty of other parts of America through a uniquely Southern lens. Other themes emerged in the season are rural youth activism, civil rights through sport, and suburban Americana.
“This season is in direct conversation with the year that was 2020 and the perilous role of the South in any kind of pathway forward in America,” said series producer Nick Price. “The value of and need for diverse Southern stories is inextricable from the amazing contributions and lived experiences of Black Americans. We’re grateful for these storytellers, in front of and behind the camera, for allowing audiences to see a better, complex version of the region.”
The Season 6 Films and Releases are as follows:
Streaming Premiere April 5
Directed by Paul Bonesteel
A jovial love letter to the game of golf, told by the Black golfers who, despite segregation and racist systems, built a vibrant culture and lasting community on a municipal golf course in Asheville, NC.
● Flat Town
Streaming Premiere April 5
Directed by Bryan Tucker
In rural Louisiana, an annual high school football game unites a historically segregated town and allows sport to act as a form of intergenerational, anti-racist reconciliation.
● You Asked for the Facts
Streaming Premiere April 12
Directed by Mary Blessey
Four years after the historic enrollment of James Meredith, student activists at Ole Miss devise a plan to defy the campus’ speaker-ban in 1966 by inviting Robert F. Kennedy, who reveals the truth about back-room politics, the belief-systems of those holding the highest power, and how campus-activism shapes the future of civil rights and all those who bear witness.
● That’s Wild
Streaming Premiere April 19
Directed by Michiel Thomas
When Atlanta teens Cliff, Ahmani, and Nicholas attempt to trek four 12,000 ft snow-capped peaks in the heart of the Rocky Mountains, they face the thrills, joy, and struggles of navigating the wilds of Colorado and daily life back home in Georgia.
● The Passing On
Streaming Premiere April 26
Directed by Nathan Clarke, Produced by Lana Garland, Tyler Trumbo
Renowned African American embalmer, James Bryant, puts his faith in a new generation to continue the legacy of Black funeral homes in San Antonio, Texas. But his young intern, Clarence Pierre, is conflicted about his commitment due to the judgment he receives as a queer, Christian man.
● Rap Squad
Streaming Premiere May 3
Directed by Nathan Willis
An Arkansas community mobilizes around a divisive ballot initiative for a new high school, led by a group of high school writers and performers who seek healing for themselves and justice for their community through hip hop.
● Jasper Mall
Streaming Premiere May 10
Directed by Bradford Thomason and Brett Whitcomb
A dying shopping mall outside of Birmingham, Alabama, its patrons, and its tenants embody the diversity and tenderness of Americana culture in a changing South.
In a unique model of producing for public television, Reel South also welcomes Louisiana Public Broadcasting as the series’ third executive producing station in addition to creator and co-executive producing stations, PBS North Carolina and South Carolina ETV.
For PBS NC Quote: Echoing Price’s enthusiasm for this timely collection of stories, PBS North Carolina CEO Lindsay Bierman said, “This season of Reel South explores the evolution of Southern culture from diverse perspectives through powerful untold stories. We’re honored to present a series that so beautifully reflects, documents, and celebrates underrepresented voices and communities across the American South.”
For ETV Quote: "During these extraordinary times, public media's role as a storyteller and connector of citizens couldn't be more important," said SCETV President and CEO Anthony Padgett. "We're proud to once again be collaborating with our peers in North Carolina, Louisiana and across the Southeast to bring previously untold stories of the South to public media audiences across the country."
For LPB quote: “We are excited to be joining the Reel South Executive Producing team,” says LPB President and CEO Beth Courtney. “Louisiana has a rich and complex cultural heritage, and we look forward to sharing those uniquely Southern Stories in our curated Reel South collection.”
About Reel South
Reel South reveals the South's proud yet complicated heritage, as told by a diversity of voices and perspectives, through the curation and distribution of feature-length and short documentaries. While nationally distributed, the Reel South PBS documentary series is co-produced by PBS North Carolina, South Carolina ETV, and Louisiana Public Broadcasting, and produced in association with Alabama Public Television, Arkansas PBS, Texas Tech Public Media, and VPM. Reel South serves as a platform for non-fiction filmmakers in the American South working within the region’s tradition of storytelling.
Nick Price, Reel South
Jeremy Cauthen, South Carolina ETV
Kathleen Kramer, PBS North Carolina