AfroPoP, Liberated Lives & Our Climate-Changing World: What to Watch in April


Premiering this month, AfroPoP: The Ultimate Cultural Exchange takes on a new genre of storytelling for the first time in the series’ 16-year history – two narrative films join two documentaries to make up a dynamic season of Black stories, fiction and nonfiction. 

One of those documentaries, Commuted, is a part of our new thematic collection, Liberated Lives – Danielle Metz, who spent 23 years in prison before her triple-life sentence was commuted by President Barack Obama, shares how she and her two children navigated her return home and continue even today to rebuild their relationships. Watch more Liberated Lives films with What These Walls Won’t Hold and Hundreds of Thousands on America ReFramed, plus several stories on Stories from the Stage.

And this Earth Day, we present a Local, USA climate double feature with Freedom Hill, a co-presentation of AfroPoP, and Fire Tender, a presentation of Vision Maker Media – first, a historically-Black community in North Carolina seeks reform as floods continually threaten their homes. Then, Yurok tribe member Margo Robbins advocates for the return of fire practices to ancestral lands in California.

Uniting themes of justice, redemption and forward progress, WORLD mirrors the spring season with films representing hope and renewal.


NEW Commuted | AfroPoP: The Ultimate Cultural Exchange & America ReFramed
April 1 & 4 on TV, online, YouTube & the PBS app

In 1993, Danielle Metz was labeled a drug kingpin and sentenced to triple life in California, many miles away from New Orleans and her two children. Metz's sentence was commuted 23 years later. Now back home, she is stepping into a different reality. The film traces Metz's journey in confronting the wounds of incarceration, and to finding purpose, love and unification with her two grown children.

NEW In an Instant | Stories from the Stage
April 1 on TV, online & the PBS app

Sometimes, fleeting moments define our existence. Swapna juggles dreams of becoming both a doctor and a mother; Omar steps into the chaos of the Waukesha tragedy and discovers a beacon of unity; and from the cold confines of his cell, Jabir confronts the prison's rules to have one last conversation with his mother. 

A Thousand Pines | Independent Lens
April 3 on TV, online & the PBS app

Over the course of a grueling eight months, a crew of Oaxacan guest workers plant trees throughout the United States. This intimate portrait shows how hard it is to balance the physical demands of reforestation and extreme isolation while staying connected to the family back home.

Apart | Independent Lens
April 5 on TV

Since the beginning of the War on Drugs, the number of women in U.S. prisons has grown by over 800%. The majority are mothers. Three unforgettable formerly incarcerated mothers, imprisoned for drug-related charges, fight to overcome alienation – and a society that labels them “felons”  to readjust to life with their families.

The Incomparable Mr. Buckley | American Masters
April 7 on TV, online & the PBS app

Discover the intellectual evolution and political legacy of William F. Buckley, Jr. See how the author and commentator, one of the foremost public intellectuals in American history, galvanized the modern conservative movement.

NEW Supa Modo | AfroPoP: The Ultimate Cultural Exchange
April 8 on TV, online, YouTube & the PBS app

Jo, a witty 9-year-old terminally ill girl, is taken back to her rural village of Maweni to live out the rest of her short life. Her only comfort during these dull times are her dreams of being a superhero, which prove to be something her rebellious teenage sister Mwix, overprotective mother Kathryn and entire community believe they can fulfill.

NEW Turning Point | Stories from the Stage
April 8 on TV, online & the PBS app

Life's journey is punctuated by times that call for courage and change. Lloyd transforms loss into a quest where forgiveness opens doors to justice; Alfred's day as a firefighter shifts when an act of arson shatters dreams; and Shanita becomes an abolitionist to break down the walls that separate her from her mother. 

Matter of Mind: My Parkinson's | Independent Lens
April 10 on TV, online & the PBS app

In Matter of Mind: My Parkinson's, three people navigate their lives with resourcefulness and determination in the face of a degenerative illness, Parkinson’s disease. An optician pursues deep brain stimulation surgery; a mother raising a pre-teen daughter becomes a boxing coach and an advocate for exercise; and a cartoonist contemplates how he will continue to draw as his motor control declines.

NEW What These Walls Won't Hold | America ReFramed
April 11 on TV, online, YouTube & the PBS app

A portrait of resilience and hope blossoming within San Quentin State Prison that transcends the grim realities of the COVID-19 pandemic. Filmmaker Adamu Chan, formerly incarcerated himself, offers an insider's view delving into his own journey towards freedom, while amplifying the voices of his community and their loved ones on both sides of the prison walls.

The Volunteer / The Day That Shook Georgia | Reel South
April 14 on TV, online & the PBS app

The Volunteer: After being mistaken for the enemy by fellow U.S. forces during the Vietnam War, a Japanese-American veteran struggles to overcome his feelings of guilt and anger, find a sense of belonging, and reunite with the soldier from Alabama who saved his life.

The Day That Shook Georgia: In 1971, one of the worst industrial tragedies in U.S. history shook rural Southeast Georgia. The victims were predominantly Black women, manufacturing trip flares for the Vietnam War. Over 50 years later, survivors and first responders shed new light on the bravery and sacrifice of that day, and a grassroots campaign seeks to award the victims with the Congressional Gold Medal.

NEW Kati Kati | AfroPop: The Ultimate Cultural Exchange
April 15 on TV, online, YouTube & the PBS app

When Kaleche wakes up in the middle of the wilderness, she has no idea why or how she got there. She makes her way to Kati Kati where she meets a motley crew living under the leadership of Thoma. As Kaleche strikes up a quick friendship with him, she discovers that Thoma is a very special person at this mysterious place: Kati Kati is inhabited by the souls of dead people waiting for redemption.

NEW Nine-to-Five | Stories from the Stage
April 15 on TV, online & the PBS app

Work can be simply a way to survive. But sometimes it is a nightmare, and other times a dream come true. A parent's urgent call cuts through the noise of Mary’s ordinary workday; Alexis transforms from struggling student into a guiding mentor; and after a trip to the Caribbean, Anne sails into a life of adventure. 

NEW Hundreds of Thousands | America ReFramed
April 18 on TV, online, YouTube & the PBS app

A family reeling from the unjust incarceration of an ailing mentally-ill loved one calls on their faith and the strength of community to right a systemic wrong. Music, love and creativity are used to permeate the isolation of a solitary confinement cell, and a public performance on prison grounds is used to challenge the state to do better.

Veritas | Reel South
April 21 on TV, online & the PBS app

Sixty-three years after the failed Bay of Pigs invasion, the surviving Cuban-American dissidents tell the fuller story. In detailed interviews with the men who fled Cuba only to return alongside US military forces, they narrate the calamity of the US siege and the trauma they faced as prisoners. By reliving the horrors of war and the fragility of service, these men fill a gap in the military record.

NEW Freedom Hill | Local, USA & AfroPop: The Ultimate Cultural Exchange
April 22 on TV, online, YouTube & the PBS app

Princeville, NC sits atop wet, swampy land along the river. In the 1800s, the land was deemed uninhabitable by white people. After the Civil War, this indifference left it available for freed enslaved Africans. Once called ‘Freedom Hill,’ it was gradually established as an all Black town. But the town has been inundated with flooding...and with each flood, a little more of the small town erodes.

NEW Fire Tender | Local, USA
April 22 on TV, online, YouTube & the PBS app

Yurok people have been putting fire on the land since time immemorial...but this practice has been disrupted by California settlers. Catastrophic fires in the West, however, has policymakers rethinking their commitment to fire suppression. The film shares the work of Margo Robbins, a Yurok knowledge keeper, seeking to return practices to Yurok territory, and to restore the land and its people.

One with the Whale | Independent Lens
April 24 on TV, online & on the PBS app

Hunting whales is a matter of life or death for the residents of St. Lawrence. When a shy Alaska Native teen becomes the youngest person ever to harpoon a whale for his village, his family is blindsided by thousands of keyboard activists brutally attacking him online – without full perspective on the importance of the hunt to his community's well-being.

A Decent Home | America ReFramed
April 25 on TV, online & on the PBS app

When housing on the lowest rung of the American dream is being devoured by the wealthiest of the wealthy, whose dream are we serving?  Through the lives of mobile home park residents who can’t afford housing anywhere else, the film addresses urgent issues of class and economic (im)mobility

In Exile / It's in the Voices / Fallout / Finding Us | Reel South
April 28 on TV, online & the PBS app

In Exile: In Springdale, Arkansas, migrants from the Marshall Islands gather to commemorate the 1946 bombing of Bikini Atoll and ask the questions: Why did the United States choose their islands and what are the ongoing impacts on their indigenous Pacific Island community? “In Exile” explores the nuclear legacy of the US in the Pacific and the lingering catastrophe in its wake.

It’s in the Voices: Clinton Bagley revisits his first interview from Mississippi’s Washington County Oral History Program. Amongst the files and folders, one piece of material sticks out, the catalyst for the whole program. In a conversation he recorded in 1975 with Daisy Greene, a retired school teacher from his hometown of Greenville, Mississippi, we learn about a devastating flood in 1927, often cruel systems of oppression, and the disparate voices that define the Delta.

Fallout: Three community members in a rural Appalachian town experience illnesses after exposure to contamination from a nearby US Army Ammunition Plant. Due to the open burning of waste, the facility is considered the largest polluter in Virginia, releasing millions of pounds of toxic pollutants into the air, soil, and water each year. The film incorporates contaminants from the facility into 1200 feet of 16mm film.

Finding Us: Georgetown University sold hundreds of enslaved people to stave off bankruptcy, scattering families across the South, never to see each other again. With the help of DNA databases, their descendants are reconnecting six generations later. “Finding Us” is a portrait of four descendants who are using their unique talents to regrow the family trees felled nearly two centuries ago.

NEW Against the Current: Life on the Eastern Shore | Local, USA
April 29 on TV, online, YouTube & the PBS app

A powerful look at how residents of Virginia’s Eastern Shore, like many coastal towns, are subject to rising sea waters and the challenges it has on their lives and livelihood. Through resilience and perseverance, they learn to co-exist and celebrate their rural home. How can this community shed light on conversations happening around these issues of climate change? A co-production of WHRO and WORLD.

NEW Life Is a Laugh | Stories from the Stage
April 29 on TV, online & the PBS app

Mishaps in life are perhaps the ones we remember most vividly. Tone shares the funny side of his hospital stay; Nina, who is blind and hearing-impaired, searches for the perfect volunteer driver; and Geraldine’s first hitchhiking adventure turns into an unforgettable journey of close calls and gratitude. 


The Cost of Inheritance: An America ReFramed Special
April 6 on TV | Available online, on YouTube, the PBS app, Prime Video and Apple TV+

This one-hour documentary explores the complex issue of reparations in the U.S. using a thoughtful approach to history, historical injustices, systemic inequities, and critical dialogue on racial conciliation. Through personal narratives, community inquiries, and scholarly insights, it aims to inspire understanding of the scope and rationale of the reparations debate.

High Tide, Don't Hide | Pacific Heartbeat
April 17 on TV | Available on PBS Passport

In the race for existence, striking teenagers discover that activism, authority and awareness make for a steep learning curve. Determined to provoke real action, New Zealand teenagers join the global School Strike for Climate. But planning a movement and building momentum are the easy parts as they face political indifference, their own white privilege, and the ongoing struggle to be heard.

Weathering the Future | NOVA
April 22 on TV | Available on the PBS app

As extreme weather in the U.S. impacts more people – with longer heat waves, more intense rainstorms, megafires, and droughts – discover how Americans are fighting back by marshaling ancient wisdom and innovating new solutions.

In the Name of Justice | Stories from the Stage
April 22 on TV | Available online & on the PBS app

Standing up for justice means encountering opposition. When we have the courage to do what is right, we can help justice prevail. After a gas explosion, Gladys helps her neighborhood fight back; Eben switches careers to advocate for climate equity; and Antonio's protest sparks a media frenzy in Brazil. 

Legal Lens: Climate Change
Available on YouTube

A working-class single mom activist and a climate scientist sue Exxon Mobil to hold them accountable for decades of misinformation and inaction on climate change. 

In Their Element | Local, USA
Available on PBS Passport

Spotlighting Indigenous leaders rising up to meet the challenge of the climate crisis. The film features four communities across the United States, each working to protect a different natural resource: earth, air, fire, and water. For people whose existence is inseparable from their native land, climate change is not a tale of the future – it is the present.

Entangled | Local, USA
Available on PBS Passport

There are fewer than 400 North Atlantic right whales in the world, making them among the most endangered species. Threatening their survival are vessel strikes and millions of lobster lines. Explore the efforts to protect the whales, the impacts of those efforts on the lobster industry, and how the National Marine Fisheries Service has struggled to balance the vying interests.

Sapelo | America ReFramed
Available on PBS Passport

On Sapelo island, two young brothers, JerMarkest and Jonathan, are coming of age in the last remaining enclave of the Saltwater Geechee. As Sapelo’s storyteller and elder matriarch, their adoptive mother, Cornelia Walker Bailey, works to preserve what remains of her African-American community in the face of encroachment by property developers.

Inventing Tomorrow: Air and Water
Available on the PBS app

Air: In one of Mexico’s most polluted cities, high school students Jesús Martinez, José Elizalde and Fernando Sanchez invent a paint that can remove pollutants from the air, which takes them all the way to the world-famous ISEF science fair.

Water: As the lakes in her hometown of Bangalore, India fill with clouds of chemical foam that drift through the streets, student Sahithi Pingali creates a “citizen science” project that lets anyone measure and share water quality data, propelling her to the renowned ISEF science fair in Los Angeles.

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