First look at Season 8 with new sizzle reel
The documentary series Reel South has acquired 11 new films to broadcast and stream as part of its eighth season, coming to PBS this spring. The series, executive produced by PBS North Carolina, South Carolina ETV and Louisiana Public Broadcasting, will be broadcast on PBS, streamed on the PBS app and then will have expanded streaming distribution on Amazon Prime PBS Documentaries Channel with PBSd. Season 8 refines the meaning of individualism across 11 films, within 6 episodes, beginning April 10.
The season premiere, Stay Prayed Up, charts the legacy and gospel of 83-year-old Lena Mae ‘Mother’ Perry. The charismatic performer has spent the last 50 years as the frontwoman of the legendary North Carolina gospel group, The Branchettes, which has packed churches and lifted weary hearts throughout the South.
Other feature films in the series include Carlo Nasisse, Andrew Kornylak and Luisa Santos’ environmental odyssey of the American South, Stay Here Awhile, told through the stories of four disparate individuals finding solace in the landscape of the region. Additionally, Ray Whitehouse offers a stirring and timely election biopic of San Antonio’s trans-politico-turned-candidate Frankie Gonzalez-Wolfe. Premiering as the season finale on May 16, A Run for More, chronicles Wolfe’s local campaign for city council while exploring the detritus of Texas’ rising anti-transgender legislation.
In a first for the strand, Reel South will broadcast three new short film compilation episodes. Eight short films were curated to showcase the exemplary storytelling taking place in the South and even among Southerners abroad.
On April 24, the episode titled Justice is a Beginning will feature two stories from the South’s penitentiary systems: In Louisiana, a devastating investigation into youth suicide and systemic neglect (8 Days at Ware, If/Then | Field of Vision), and in Alabama, an incarcerated man’s rehabilitation starts with his marriage (Love Without Parole).
In recognition of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, the series will broadcast the compilation South by South Korea whereby two films bridge the American South and the Korean peninsula, showcasing the historical and contemporary currents connecting these regions. From stories about one restaurant’s overnight fame and the perils of celebrity culture (Ten by Ten), and another chronicling the overlooked crises of motherhood and adoption, comes a clearer complexion of Korean-American life at home and abroad (The Space Between You & Me). The two films were directed by American graduate students in the United Kingdom each hailing from the South (Tennessee and Alabama).
The episode titled A Culture Askance curates four short films from West Texas to Appalachia. These shorts follow a diverse swath of the South’s artists and activists–– two students, a quilter, a performer and an environmentalist–– who seek to rectify and reclaim the region’s culture and history left askew from the values they hold to be true.
Below is a full list of the titles airing as part of Season 8, with their premiere dates online and broadcast.
- Stay Prayed Up (April 10), Dir. by Derek Anderson and Matt Durning
- Stay Here Awhile (April 17), Dir. by Carlo Nasisse and Andrew Kornylak
- 8 Days at Ware (April 24), Dir. by Meg Shutzer and Rachel Mueller
- Love Without Parole (April 24), Dir. by Greg Womble
- Ten by Ten (May 1), Dir. Jami Bennett
- The Space Between You & Me (May 1), Dir. by Lily Ahree Siegel
- Quilted Education (May 8), Dir. by Kayla Robinson
- Jared Dawson is the Church of Lavonia Elberton (May 8), Dir. by Adam Forrester
- Disrupted Borders (May 8), Dir. by Alejandra Aragón
- Wiley’s Last Resort (May 8), Dir. by Evan Mascagni and Shawn Lind
- A Run for More (May 15), Dir. by Ray Whitehouse
Learn more about Reel South and view films from prior seasons at www.reelsouth.org.
“Unearthed within three feature-length films and three short-film compilations is the journey and story of every person’s privilege, sacrifice and ultimately, the love required to live and strive in the South, to call it home, and to create and believe in their place in it. Reel South exists to amplify these stories and these voices.” -Reel South Series Producer Nick Price
“As a founding partner for Reel South, SCETV remains committed to this independent film series. The value of sharing these stories to the entire nation amplifies the culture, people and history of the South. Each film delivers compelling characters and storytelling that will resonate with the audience.” -SCETV Director of National Content and Regional Operations Don Godish
- The documentary series Reel South has acquired 11 new films to broadcast and stream as part of its eighth season, coming to PBS this spring.
- The series is executive produced by the PBS stations PBS North Carolina, South Carolina ETV and Louisiana Public Broadcasting.
- The series will roll out six weeks of new releases beginning April 10.
- The season premiere, Stay Prayed Up, charts the legacy and gospel of 83-year-old Lena Mae ‘Mother’ Perry.
- In a first for the strand, Reel South will broadcast three new short film compilation episodes.
About South Carolina ETV and Public Radio
South Carolina ETV and Public Radio (SCETV) is the state's public educational broadcasting network. SCETV amplifies South Carolina voices, provides educational experiences and strengthens communities, while working toward creating a stronger, more connected and informed South Carolina. In addition to airing local programs, such as Carolina Classrooms, Making It Grow, and This Week in South Carolina, SCETV also presents multiple programs to regional and national audiences, including By The River, After Action, Reconnecting Roots, Reel South, Somewhere South, Yoga in Practice and How She Rolls. In addition, SC Public Radio produces the national radio production, Chamber Music from Spoleto Festival USA.
About Reel South
Reel South is a PBS documentary series co-produced by PBS North Carolina, South Carolina ETV and Louisiana Public Broadcasting, and produced in association with Alabama Public Television, Arkansas PBS, Texas PBS, Tennessee Public Television Council and VPM. Reel South is a platform for and a service to non-fiction filmmakers in the American South working within the region’s tradition of storytelling.
- A Press Kit is available for PBS Stations on the Source and for public use on Dropbox.
- All filmmakers are available for interview and engagement. Screeners available upon request. Please email Nick Price for outreach.