Since its launch in 2012, the PBS Online Film Festival has featured diverse films from PBS member stations, the minority consortia, and ITVS and POV. The PBS Online Film Festival has attracted more than 7 million video streams over the first seven years.
Starting July 15, viewers can once again watch, vote and share their favorites. Go to pbs.org/filmfestival.
2019 Official Selections
All Square: Justice Served in a Sandwich
Emily Hunt Turner saw opportunity for criminal justice reform in her restaurant, All Square. People leaving prison often face challenges and stigma as they attempt to find a job and a place to live. But at the craft grilled cheese restaurant, people with criminal records are employed and taken through a companion professional development program anchored in law and entrepreneurship in order to give those impacted by the criminal justice system a different future.
An Atlantic City postcard is the only remnant that Pony, a Texas drifter has of his estranged mom. Needing money to head north to find her, Pony accepts a job from a local thug who operates out of a skating rink. Here Pony encounters a kindred spirit, a fifteen-year-old runaway girl who claims the rink as her own. When he tries to help her, things spiral out of control.
Thaddeus is a teenager in love. Love comes with panic. Silence. Racing thoughts, but no words. Just, audible static. In the last days on analog, Thaddeus finds a way to cheat the system.
At the park, a little girl proudly carries her red balloon. As she passes a mother trying to soothe her crying baby, the baby stops crying at the sight of the girl's balloon. The girl loves her balloon, but so does the baby –what should she do? Balloon Girl tells the story of a young girl's compassion and how it changes a complete stranger's day, showing that little things make a big difference.
In this dialogue-free short, the youngest member of a small, isolated congregation begins to question her faith when a pilgrim arrives, then mysteriously disappears.
Riley, an early 30’s millennial and Caroline, an early 40s Gen-Xer, happen to meet each other on a rooftop after both experiencing life altering, traumatic experiences. What happens when two strangers discover a new found friendship with someone they never thought they could?
BT Lives in the Stitch
North Lawndale College Prep is a high school located on the south side of Chicago, in a neighborhood notable more for urban blight than quality education. Then teacher, Dorothea Tobin introduced the BT Lives in the Stitch program, creating a much needed after-school program as well as an avid knitting circle amongst an unlikely group of teens.
Charlotte and Charlie
When a young woman suffers vision loss, she realizes that she has to give up her great love — her car Charlie. She can't bring herself to say good-bye until Charlie roars to life and takes her on a final, fantastical journey. Charlotte and Charlie is a sweet, narrative short film that explores loss, disability and how the things we love define us.
The Children of Central City
The film provides an in-depth look at the impact of growing up surrounded by violence in one of New Orleans' most crime-riddled neighborhoods. The film takes you to the playing field, the classrooms, players’ homes and the offices of the social workers whose attempts to treat the children's post-traumatic stress are repeatedly thwarted by state budget cuts to mental healthcare.
The Country Priest
Father Roy Snipes has lived in Texas his whole life and seen it all, especially along the Mexico border. He has dedicated his life to the oblates and keeping religion down to earth. After the threat of a possible wall construction near a historic church in Mission, Texas, the community takes a stand and Father Roy spares insights to the current political climate.
Heroine of Hope
Heroine of Hope tells the story of Scarlet Hudson, a woman who left her career to help women in her community caught in the abusive cycle of addiction and sex trafficking. The theme of the film is the power of individual action. With passion and hard work, a person faced with a societal problem that feels unsolvable can indeed transform lives.
The Hidden Vote | Are Gay Rights Gun Rights?
Meet Vincent, who grew up a Democrat in North Carolina, but is now a conservative, pro-gun activist who thinks gays should take up arms after the Pulse shooting. Meet Mitchell, who grew up conservative but is now a progressive voter who doesn't think the solution is more guns. They also happen to be dating.
Into My Life
Growing up in the 60's and 70's in the largest affordable housing cooperative in Brooklyn, Cassandra Bromfield's world was artfully framed by her mother's Super-8 camera. A schoolteacher with many creative talents, Cassandra's mom documented the exuberance of her neighborhood's public spaces: showcasing the lively pool, the packed playground and the graffitied handball court. Children and teenagers gleefully performed in front of her Bolex.
From a young age, Joan always dreamed of a big family and a place by the ocean. By the age of 20, she was diagnosed with sarcoma and had to face life-altering choices. Joan candidly shares her life-long resolve to conquer her adversity to realize her dreams. After 60 years and 22 surgeries, she reflects on her incredibly beautiful life.
The future is an endless universe of possibilities. But for recent high school graduate Luna, the future is not so clear. Stuck in a job with no decision on a college major, Luna explores opportunities for herself both personally and professionally by just moving forward.
Love Wins tells the story of two women, Jan (83) and Emily (89), who met and fell in love during a time when doing so was strictly taboo. During this time, they raised a family while living completely in the closet. Their story has many layers to it, not the least of which is that Jan met Emily while Emily was working with Jan's husband! After 45 years of living a double life, Jan and Em finally got married and are now community activists and proud flag-waving members of the social movement that changed the course of history.
The Moon and the Night
Set in rural Hawaiʻi, a Native Hawaiian girl must confront her father after he enters her beloved pet in a dog fight. The film explores the cultural and socio-economic strife that burdens many communities in Hawaiʻi, but at its heart, it is a coming-of-age tale of a young woman who must make the difficult realization that to save her family, she must stand on her own.
Ode to Pablo
Challenged to a basketball game by local boys, Pablo, a queer, deaf Latino, agrees to play. He does not reveal much about himself, but let’s his basketball skill speak for itself. He’s enjoying the game when an unexpected incident makes it clear to the other teens that Pablo is deaf. Despite assumptions about each and however brief, Pablo makes a connection with one of the boys.
Paris Blues in Harlem
When a desperate woman attempts to save her grandfather’s insolvent Harlem jazz nightclub, she has a few hours to convince her rigid elder to accept a realtor’s briefcase with mounds of cash in exchange for his nightclub. But as time runs out, he struggles to let go. With only a few seconds left, she is faced with a choice between legacy and money.
Rani is a social outcast, transgender woman who sets out to take care of an abandoned child. Set on the streets of Pakistan, she is determined to do the right thing amid waves of challenges.
The Shepherd of the Stars
A long time ago, a shepherd lived with his dog at the top of a high moutain. His divine mission each day was to blow in his magic horn and lights up the stars. Just before that, he saw the sun and greeted him, every evening. After a while, the shepherd grew old, and it was hard to walk... Will he kept lighting the night?
Under the Milky Way
As a result of light pollution, nearly 80% of Americans cannot see the Milky Way from their homes. In this 360-video experience, join a group of travelers journeying to the dark-skies of Nebraska's Sandhills to reconnect with nature's nocturnal majesty.
Who Are You?
A writer who, after having great success with his first book, has a disastrous creative block. So much so, that not even pencils want to write for him. In his anguish, a delivery girl arrives at his door with a mysterious box. After inviting her in to have a coffee, they share a pleasant conversation about fame and success. What's in the box?... Nobody knows what inspiration can be wrapped in.