A new documentary exposes the dark truth of a west Texas massacre

A new documentary exposes the dark truth of a west Texas massacre

Source:  Texas Monthly

Tensions along the border ran high in the final years of the Mexican Revolution.  Violence spilled across from northern Mexico into the Texas frontier, where recent Anglo settlers clashed with Mexican-Americans who had lived there for generations.  The complex dynamics between newcomers and longtime residents often led to retaliatory attacks—then everything came to a head.

On the morning of January 28, 1918, a band of Texas Rangers, U.S. cavalry soldiers, and a group of local ranchers entered the small farming community of Porvenir—a town in Presidio County with a population of roughly 140.

They forced several residents from their homes before leading away 15 unarmed men and boys to a nearby hill where they were executed.

The massacre went unreported for weeks, and didn’t come to light until Captain J. M. Fox, of the Texas Rangers, told command that they’d been ambushed by locals suspected of having ties to a raid at a nearby ranch a month earlier; he characterized them as “thieves, informers, spies, and murderers.”

For nearly a century, Fox’s account was widely accepted as fact.  But in recent years, researchers and descendents of the massacre began unraveling the truth of what transpired that day.

In “Porvenir, Texas,” late director Andrew Shapter examines the dynamics that led up to the tragedy, along with the scars it left behind, that reconsiders something that’s long been deemed historical truth.

“Porvenir, Texas” is streaming on PBS until October 19.

Read the story at Texas Monthly.


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“Mike Wallace Is Here” uses only archival footage to tell the story of modern broadcast journalism

“Mike Wallace Is Here” uses only archival footage to tell the story of modern broadcast journalism

Source:  IndieWire

After the newspaper reporting drama “Spotlight” won the Oscar for best picture in 2016, and just before Donald Trump was elected president and “fake news” was slapped on everything, “Mike Wallace is Here” documentarian Avi Belkin recognized journalism was at a tipping point.

“I was still living in Tel Aviv — I’m from Israel — and the idea was to address the Genesis story of broadcast journalism.  I was kind of obsessing about the question, ‘how did we get here?’” Belkin said.

To find answers, Belkin focused on longtime “60 Minutes” correspondent Mike Wallace, whose six-decade career in the field began in the earliest days of broadcast news and ended shortly before his 2012 death.

Using raw footage of Wallace both as interviewee and interviewer — with the likes of Ayatollah Khomeini, Donald Trump, and Vladimir Putin — Belkin stitched together a film using only archive footage to tell both the story of Wallace’s career and the trajectory of journalism into the modern era.

For cities and showtimes, visit the “Mike Wallace Is Here” website.

Read the story at IndieWire.


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HBO produces short documentary to help kids understand 9/11

HBO produces short documentary to help kids understand 9/11

Source:  AP

For students from elementary to high school, the Sept. 11 terrorist attack isn’t a memory.  It’s history.  A new HBO documentary that premieres on the event’s 18th anniversary treats it that way.

The necessity of her project, “What Happened on September 11,” struck filmmaker Amy Schatz when a third-grade girl told her about a playdate where she and a friend Googled “Sept. 11 attacks.”

“When a child does that, what he or she finds are some pretty horrific images that are not necessarily appropriate for kids,” Schatz said on Tuesday.  “So I felt a responsibility to try to fill that void and try to give kids something that isn’t horrifying and kind of fills in the gap.”

“What Happened on September 11” premieres today at 6:00 pm on HBO.  A companion piece, “In the Shadow of the Towers: Stuyvesant High on 9/11” focusing on the memories of former students at a high school near ground zero, premieres three hours later.

Read the story at AP.

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“The Feud” reveals the real story behind the most famous family conflict in American history

“The Feud” reveals the real story behind the most famous family conflict in American history

Source:  American Experience

The most famous family conflict in American history, the Hatfield-McCoy feud has evolved into a mythic American tale of jealousy, rage, and revenge — and one which helped create the negative “hillbilly” stereotype that has shaped attitudes towards Appalachia for more than a century.

Yet the truth is much more than a tale of two warring families.  It’s the story of a region and its people forced into sudden change by eastern capitalists, who transformed Appalachia from an agrarian mountain community into a coal and timber producing workplace owned and run primarily by outside interests.

“The Hatfield-McCoy feud conjures up this exaggerated image of two warring families shooting at each other across a river for no good reason, but the story of the feud is really about the impact of capitalism and industrialization on rural America,” says director Randall MacLowry.  “Mountain families lost their land and their livelihoods in the face of this enormous pressure, and became the victims of media accounts that depicted them as violent, uncivilized, and standing in the way of progress.  The Hatfield-McCoy feud is part of that story.”

“The Feud” premieres Tuesday, September 10 on PBS.

Read the story at American Experience.

“9/11: Inside Air Force One” premieres September 11 on History

“9/11: Inside Air Force One” premieres September 11 on History

Source:  Realscreen

History is remembering the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 with the two-hour documentary “9/11: Inside Air Force One.”

The documentary takes viewers aboard Air Force One and into the cockpits, command centers, and underground bunkers across the country as government officials grapple with news of the attacks.

The documentary also reveals the recently declassified transcript of the conversation among the nation’s military and civilian high command, known as the Air Threat Conference Call, which highlights the real-time struggles of the country’s leaders to make sense of the scale of the attack, formulate a coherent response, and keep the President of the United States safe.

“9/11: Inside Air Force One” premieres September 11 on History.

Read the story at Realscreen.

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“The Queen” is a remarkable look at drag culture in pre-Stonewall America

“The Queen” is a remarkable look at drag culture in pre-Stonewall America

Source:  San Francisco Chronicle

Given the dearth of LGBTQ images and movies before the emergence of the gay liberation movement, it’s a remarkable experience to watch “The Queen,” a newly restored, pre-Stonewall documentary that shined a light on the drag queen subculture decades before “Paris Is Burning,” “RuPaul’s Drag Race,” and “Pose” hit the runway.

The 1968 landmark film follows the Miss All-America Camp Beauty Pageant in New York, circa 1967, and as one might expect, “The Queen” details the intense competition and rigorous preparations that the contestants undergo with their makeup, accessories, and wardrobe.

But what makes “The Queen” special is its ability to take us back in time, letting us be flies on the wall as pioneers of the soon-to-be-born LGBTQ movement grapple with boyfriend issues, the Vietnam War, family problems — and with being underground in a society where cross-dressing can be a crime.

The gender identity and racial undercurrents of the film have a prescient quality, foreshadowing some of the tensions that the LGBTQ community is dealing with today.

Visit the Kino Lorber website for cities and showtimes.

Read the story at the San Francisco Chronicle.

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