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Documentary Series REEL SOUTH Returns for Season Three

January 31, 2018 - Posted in Reel South


Documentary Series REEL SOUTH Returns for Season Three

Darius Rucker Hosts New Season Premiering on WORLD Channel Sunday, March 11, 2018

February 9, 2018 — REEL SOUTH, the public television series showcasing documentaries rooted in the tradition of Southern storytelling, returns for its third season with compelling stories and unforgettable characters from Memphis and Austin, New Orleans and Birmingham, and the small towns in between. The series, a co-production of UNC-TV and SCETV, airs weekly on WORLD Channel on Sunday nights, March 11 through April 29, 2018, at 9:00 p.m. ET/6:00 p.m. PT.

Season Three of REEL SOUTH features 10 documentaries from across the region highlighting the passion and perseverance of Southerners in an age of emboldened civic engagement: from a comedian-turn-mayoral candidate agitating for disability rights in Jonah Stands Up, to gay families fighting for equality in Alabama Bound. In one of the slate’s most timely films, Divided City, New Orleans reckons with its Confederate monuments. Bookending the season are two raucous tales rooted in Southern music: the Season 3 premiere, Gip, focuses on a ramshackle Alabama juke joint wrestling with changing laws and attitudes; and the season finale, Honky Tonk Heaven, two-steps into a world-famous Austin, Texas dancehall brimming with cowboy boots, country music, and longneck beers.

Charleston, South Carolina native Darius Rucker is back for another season hosting REEL SOUTH. After phenomenal success with Hootie & The Blowfish, Darius embarked on a solo career in country music, making history atop the country charts. Throughout his three decades of worldwide fame and acclaim he has remained committed to the South and doing his part to bring out its best—as his involvement with REEL SOUTH attests.

All films from Season Three will stream at the day after broadcast. The complete lineup for Season Three of REEL SOUTH, on WORLD Channel is below. Episodes premiere Sundays, 9:00-10:00 p.m. ET / 6:00-7:00 p.m. PT.

Season 3 Film Descriptions

Film by Patrick Sheehan
Premieres March 11, 2018

In 1952, gravedigger by day and bluesman by night Henry ‘Gip’ Gipson opened a ramshackle backyard juke joint in Alabama. Once scattered across the rural South, juke joints have become relics of the past. In the Spring of 2013, Gip’s Place, the last juke joint in Alabama, was raided and ordered to shut down. Gip follows the battle to keep the blues alive.

Logline: Fans of the blues in Birmingham protest after an iconic juke joint is ordered to close.

Alabama Bound
Film by Lara Embry & Carolyn Sherer
Premieres March 18, 2018

In the months leading up to the Supreme Court decision on marriage equality, gay families in Alabama were busy fighting discriminatory state laws. Alabama Bound chronicles the roller-coaster ride for gay rights in the South, and a resilient community that lives with both frustration and hope in a place where the line between church and state is often blurred.

Logline: Three families in Alabama fight for equality while gay marriage cases crowd the courts.

First Lady of the Revolution
Film by Andrea Kalin
Premieres March 25, 2018

Henrietta Boggs, a reluctant Southern belle, finds her way to Central America in the 1940s, in search of freedom and adventure. Instead, she is swept up in political upheaval, when her new husband is elected president of Costa Rica. First Lady of the Revolution portrays a courageous woman who escaped the confines of a sheltered existence to help nurture a young democracy.

Logline: A Southern belle’s journey from romance to revolution to First Lady of Costa Rica.

Divided City
Film by Katie Mitchell & Andrea B. Scott
Premieres April 1, 2018

Monuments to the Confederacy permeate the American South. Emotions run high and tensions mount when, in 2015, the New Orleans city council convenes a public debate over the fate of its Confederate statues. As the council prepares to vote, Divided City reveals deep divisions about the history and symbolism of the monuments, and their place in the public space and in the South.

Logline: A battle emerges in New Orleans as the city debates Confederate monuments.

Jonah Stands Up
Film by Hannah Engelson
Premieres April 1, 2018

Jonah Bascle was an unconventional mayoral candidate, even by New Orleans standards: artist, comedian, disability-rights activist. Born with muscular dystrophy, Jonah raced against mortality throughout his twenties. Combining humor, political action, and a sense of urgency, Jonah Stands Up challenges stereotypes associated with differently-abled individuals in New Orleans.

Logline: A young New Orleans rabble-rouser faces his mortality through comedy and advocacy.

120 Days
Film by Ted Roach
Premieres April 8, 2018

After an unexpected traffic stop, family man Miguel Cortes faces an agonizing decision. Due to his immigration status, a North Carolina judge has offered Miguel 120 Days to get his affairs in order and self-deport to Mexico. Will Miguel return to Mexico, leaving his wife and two daughters behind, or disappear into the shadows of his adopted homeland?

Logline: A judge gives an immigrant in North Carolina 120 days to self-deport to Mexico.

62 Days
Film by Rebecca Haimowitz
Premieres April 15, 2018

Marlise Muñoz was 33 years old and 14 weeks pregnant when she suffered a pulmonary embolism and was pronounced brain-dead. Due to a little-known Texas law, the Muñoz family was forced to keep Marlise on life support against her wishes. 62 Days follows the Muñoz family’s journey from tragedy to activism as they fight to change this law, revealing the human toll behind a growing political trend.

Logline: A brain-dead, pregnant woman in TX is forced to remain on life support against her wishes.

Driven Blind
Film by Scott E. Schimmel
Premieres April 15, 2018

Dan Parker, a world champion drag racer, struggles to adjust to his new reality after he is blinded in a fiery racing accident. Though visually impaired, Dan has not given up his love of working with his hands, or his love of racing. Driven Blind follows Dan’s single-minded quest to find meaningful work and to get back behind the wheel.

Logline: A world champion drag racer faces a new reality after a fiery accident blinds him.

See the Keepers
Film by Sara Kaye Larson & Joann Self Selvidge
Premieres April 22,2018

With unprecedented behind-the-scenes access at the Memphis Zoo, See the Keepers gets up close and personal with big cats, penguins, snakes, Komodo dragons, and their human caretakers. When Kofi the giraffe faces an uncertain future, the film bears witness to the complexity of caring for animals in captivity, and the love and fortitude of the keepers that care for them.

Log: Get up close and personal with the animals, and the zookeepers, at the Memphis Zoo.

Honky Tonk Heaven
Film by Brenda Greene Mitchell & Sam Wainwright Douglas
Premieres April 29, 2018

Brimming with cowboy boots, country music, and longneck beers, Honky Tonk Heaven is a toe-tapping tour of this legendary Texas dancehall. With fifty years under its belt, the Broken Spoke has endured Austin’s rapid growth and skyrocketing rents. Beyond the story of its illustrious history and celebrated performers, the Spoke is a treasured family business that has survived against the odds.

Logline: Two-step through Texas’ most famous honky tonk’s celebrated past and uncertain future.


REEL SOUTH is an anthology series highlighting the best non-fiction storytelling from across the American South. The series is a collaboration between UNC-TV and SCETV. Rachel Raney and Amy Shumaker are Executive Producers. Distributed to public television stations nationally, the series brings diverse Southern voices, topics and points of view into millions of homes. Visit and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.


South Carolina ETV is the state's public educational broadcasting network.  Using television, radio and the web, ETV's mission is to enrich lives by educating children, informing and connecting citizens, celebrating our culture and environment and instilling the joy of learning.  ETV provides national and local content to classrooms via internet services, LearningWhy, StreamlineSC and PBS Learning Media.  SCETV also provides teacher training and re-certification in face-to-face and online settings.  SCETV currently presents A Chef’s Life, Expeditions, Reel South (with UNC-TV), and For Your Home on public television in addition to national radio productions Piano Jazz and Chamber Music from Spoleto Festival USA.  SCETV began in 1958 in the library of Dreher High School in Columbia, SC teaching French and Plane Geometry classes to multiple schools via closed-circuit.  Today the network comprises 11 TV stations, eight radio stations, and a statewide tower network that serves schools, hospitals, and emergency management teams.

About UNC-TV Public Media North Carolina

UNC-TV Public Media North Carolina (PMNC) is a growing multiplatform statewide public media network, providing four channels of digital television: our flagship channel UNC-TV, PBS & More, The Explorer Channel, North Carolina Channel Stories with a Local Accent, and Rootle, UNC-TV's 24/7 PBS KIDS Channel. PMNC also distributes content through and a variety of social media platforms. For more information, visit and join the conversation by liking us at and following us on Twitter @unctv.

About WORLD Channel

WORLD Channel delivers the best of public television’s nonfiction, news and documentary programming. The channel features original content by and about diverse communities to U.S. audiences through local public television stations and streaming online at Last year alone, WORLD reached 35.8 million unique viewers 18+ (55% adults 18-49) and it over-indexes in key diversity demographics. Online, WORLD Channel expands on broadcast topics and fuels dialogue across social media, providing opportunities for broad and diverse audience interaction. For its exploration of the human spirit, WORLD Channel won the 2016 Christopher Award in the TV/cable category for the episode IF YOU BUILD IT, a part of its America ReFramed series.

WORLD is programmed by WGBH/Boston, in partnership with American Public Television and WNET/New York, and in association with PBS and National Educational Telecommunications Association. Funding for the WORLD Channel is provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the Ford Foundation, The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and the Kendeda Fund. For more information about The WORLD Channel, visit

Media Contact: Nick Price,

Additional information and photos available at


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