Study Break! POV Shorts on PBS

If you’re feeling low over the approaching final papers and tests (the curse of a quarter system college), or if you’re looking for some inspiration, why don’t you take a short break and live someone else’s life for a few minutes? Check out the POV short films on PBS.

POV logo

POV is an ongoing PBS series of diverse documentaries. About fifteen are premiered each year on TV, but what I’m most interested in are their online offerings. Honestly, I am not quite sure about the connection between the shorts and the premiered videos, but they are certainly interesting. The 2014 season starts June 23rd (you can find the schedule here) but there are already over 40 films to chose from online, and more are always being added. More are always being taken down too– films are kept online for a period of time, from a few months to a few years, until they expire. At that point, full films are unavailable, but trailers are still accessible. So if there’s something you see on the site that you really want to watch, don’t put it off!

At five to fifteen minutes apiece, a short is a perfect study break. For chronic procrastinators, maybe one of the offered feature films are more to taste (usually an hour or longer).
The shorts that I have found interesting are:

  • Grounded by Reality
    “Diagnosed with Spinal Muscular Atrophy at age 19 months — Jessica took her last steps at three years old, but that didn’t keep her from drawing on the walls of her home. Recognizing her talent early on her family encouraged her as artistic talent and today — even as she loses her ability to draw — Jessica keeps finding ways to create. Grounded by Reality gives you a glimpse into Jessica’s everyday struggles and her fierce determination to be seen as a whole and vital person through her art making.”
  • Irma
    “Irma is an intimate musical portrait of Irma Gonzalez, the former world champion of women’s professional wrestling. Filmed in Ciudad Nezahualcóyotl — a notorious district of Mexico City — Irma contradicts everything we have come to expect from stories reported from Mexico. Featuring music written and performed by Ms. Gonzalez, Irma’s story surges with love and deceit, masculine strength, feminine charms, and an extraordinary sense of humor.”
  • 34x25x36
    “Filmmaker Jesse Epstein takes us inside the Patina V Mannequin Factory in City of Industry, Calif., where the artistry, craft and marketing that go into creating “the ideal woman of the moment” — in plastic — are accompanied by a remarkable amount of reflection on just what that ideal means (one thing it means is a 34″ x 25″ x 36″ figure). Patina V is a place where the owner will tell women (and then run for cover), “There are no perfect bodies out there. We make the perfect body.”
  • Trashed Out
    “This deeply affecting and simple short shows workers cleaning out a house that has been foreclosed upon. What do the things left behind say about a family? What does an empty house say that was once a home? In a mere five minutes, Trash-Out makes a poignant statement on a timely subject.”
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