Wednesday, April 13, 2011

"Rhode Island Stories" presented in April and May

Saturday nights, WSBE is the neighborly place to be, thanks to Rhode Island Stories – a collection of independent films with a uniquely "Rhode Island" flavor. For an hour (beginning at 7 p.m.), visit with neighbors - local people, places, and events that punctuate our history and reflect contemporary issues. Some subjects will be familiar; others will be more obscure. Either way, you can count on gaining deeper insight and new perspective you had not considered.

The films chosen for Rhode Island Stories have a strong local connection: the documentaries are made by Rhode Islanders, or feature Rhode Island in some significant way. The current collection includes a mix of new and previously broadcast programs, and may be a single hour-long documentary or two 30-minute films.

Rhode Island Stories airs Saturdays at 7 p.m., with re-broadcast on Sundays at 11 p.m., on WSBE Rhode Island PBS, digital 36.1, Cox/Verizon/Full channel 08 (Comcast cable subscribers should check local listings for correct channel number), DirecTV 36, and Dish 7776.

April 18 Lizbeth: A Victorian Nightmare – The documentary film explores the legend and lore of Lizzie Borden, the woman accused - and acquitted - of killing her father and stepmother with an ax. The documentary looks at not only the facts of the murder, but at the "popularity" of the crime and the culture of those who follow it. The film started as a master's thesis project by the director, Bristol Community College film instructor, Ricardo Rebelo. He said people are drawn to Lizzie for different reasons, even almost 120 years later. For some, it's the Victorian-era that draws them; for others, it's the fact that an upper-class woman is embroiled in the murder controversy. For still others, they like a good spooky story, or true crime element. No matter what the draw may be, the crime – and the woman at its center – remains one of the most studied in American history.

April 23 Free Wheelin' with Susan Boyce (7 p.m.) – In this breezy half hour, Rhode Island performer Susan Boyce sets off in her Vintage Airstream to explore the warm winters of Florida.

Greatest Salesman in Rhode Island (7:30 p.m.) - From the lost manuscript of Rhode Island's Pulitzer Prize winning author Edwin O'Connor (The Last Hurrah), comes a short story about the power of motivation. Six-time New England Emmy® Award-winning director Robert Rose produced the film in the style of a 1950s TV comedy, complete with laugh track and swipe transitions. The Greatest Salesman in Rhode Island is rich in historical and cultural content, and is peppered with humorous local Rhode Island references. The cast features Trinity Repertory Company’s Stephen Thorne; Bob Colonna, winner of the prestigious Pell Award for Excellence in the Arts; and Susan Boyce, national touring performer.

April 30 Home Across Lands - The documentary chronicles the journey of a small group of resettled Kunama refugees as they strive to become self-reliant, invested participants in their new home, Rhode Island. Guiding their transition is the local resettlement agency, International Institute of Rhode Island, which connects them to the resources they need as they work to establish a new community and a better life for their families. Director / producer John Lavall is an Emmy® Award-winning producer and director from Pawtucket, Rhode Island. His work has been broadcast nationally, his films shown in festivals throughout the country.

May 7 – Pre-empted for the Rhode Island PBS Spring Auction

May 14Drinking, Driving, Lethal Choices (7 p.m.) – In this half-hour documentary, drinking and driving is explored through powerful stories told by family members, victims and offenders, and those who have survived catastrophic crashes with debilitating brain and spinal cord injuries. This is the second in a drunken driving educational series targeting youth by award-winning producer and director Deborah A. Hoch of Seekonk, Massachusetts. Her first documentary, The Impact of Your Choice: Underage Drinking and Reckless Driving, won a New England Emmy award and was honored with four Bronze Telly Awards for outstanding achievement in Film and Video.

Hidden in the Leaves (7:30 p.m.) – The half-hour documentary spotlights the efforts of University of Rhode Island entomology professor and director of the Center for Vector-Borne Disease, Thomas Mather, and his team, to help people understand the risks of tick-transmitted disease. Directed by award-winning filmmaker and URI film media professor, Mary Healey Jamiel, the film explores the serious dangers lurking in an increasing number of rural, suburban, and even semi-urban landscapes in the eastern United States.

May 21 Ilha dos Meus Sonhos (Island of My Dreams) - Ricardo Rebelo, an Azorean immigrant, local filmmaker, and instructor of TV and film courses at Bristol Community College, captures the untold stories of Portuguese emigration to the Fall River area, particularly the two waves of emigration from the Azores in the 1950s and the 70s. The film also explores how Portuguese immigrants have maintained the culture of their homeland here, while the Azorean culture has changed since the revolution.

May 28 D-Day: The Price of Freedom - This film captures the moving stories and memories of five Rhode Island veterans who return to Normandy 60 years after the invasion. Throughout the documentary, former paratroopers, gunners, landing craft operators and others representing the U.S. Army and U.S. Navy share their harrowing tales of survival. This film was written, directed, and filmed by Tim Gray and Jim Karpeichik.