Summary: The P.O.V. series (a cinema term for “point of view”) is now in its 20th year on PBS. P.O.V. is broadcast Tuesdays at 10 p.m. (check local listings), June through September on PBS, with primetime specials in the fall and winter.
Air Date: P.O.V.’s Revolution ‘67 (www.pbs.org/pov/revolution67), airs on Tuesday, July 10 at 10 p.m. on PBS. (Check local listings.)
Description: Revolution ’67 is an illuminating account of events too often relegated to footnotes in U.S. history—the black urban rebellions of the 1960s. Focusing on the six-day Newark, N.J., outbreak on July 12, 1967, the film reveals how the disturbance began as spontaneous revolts against poverty and police brutality and ended as fateful milestones in America’s struggles over race and economic justice. Voices from across the spectrum—activist Tom Hayden journalist Bob Herbert, former Mayor Sharpe James and other officials, National Guardsmen and Newark citizens—recall lessons as hard-learned then as they have been easy to neglect since.
When black Newark, N.J., taxi driver John Smith was stopped for a traffic violation on July 12, 1967, the false rumor that he had been beaten to death by police spread through Newark’s impoverished neighborhoods. After six days of riots, 26 people died, 725 people were injured, and close to 1,500 people had been arrested.
Revolution ’67, directed by Marylou Bongiorno-Tibaldo, makes use of archival news footage, punctuated by editor Jerome Bongiorno’s bold animation, to illustrate the film’s events and statistics. A musical score comprised of more than 60 contemporary jazz pieces by international artists sets the mood for Newark in the late ‘60s.
Revolution ’67 documents the social forces at work: poverty, racial injustice, a city government and police force that didn’t sufficiently analyze the demographic change that had made Newark a black city, and the suburban and rural State Police and National Guardsmen sent into a conflict for which they were ill-prepared.
Statement: “I’m a native daughter and resident of Newark,” says director Marylou Tibaldo-Bongiorno, “and for as long as I can remember, Newark has been stigmatized by the riots of 1967. The questions remain: What really happened, who’s to blame, and why hasn’t the city recovered? Are the problems Newark faced in the ‘60s the same that plague it today? That’s why my husband and I made this film — to get those answers.”
Featured: Activists Tom Hayden, Amiri Baraka (then known as LeRoi Jones). Richard Cammarieri, Larry Hamm, Carol Glassman and George Richardson; journalists Bob Herbert and Ron Smothers; National Guardsman/historian Paul Zigo; historians Dr. Clement A. Price (Rutgers) and Dr. Kenneth Jackson (Columbia); former New Jersey Prosecutor/Governor Brendan T. Byrne; the late Hugh Addonizio, Newark’s mayor in 1967; recent Newark Mayor Sharpe James; former police officer/current Essex County Sherriff Armando Fontoura; photographer Bud Lee; and historian/author Nell Irvin Painter.
Soundtrack: In place of a traditional musical score, Revolution ‘67 features more than 60 contemporary jazz tunes by 20 artists from the United States, Japan, Israel and the former Soviet Union. Editor Jerome Bongiorno says, “Because of Newark’s preeminent place in jazz history, one of the first decisions we made when we began editing was to use jazz music." With recommendations from industry professionals and New York’s famed Blue Note jazz club and Berklee College of Music, Bongiorno collected material from an impressive group of talented musicians he describes as "fearless in their craft."
Filmmakers: Marylou Tibaldo-Bongiorno, Producer/Director,
Jerome Bongiorno, Cinematographer/Editor/Animator
Marylou Tibaldo-Bongiorno and Jerome Bongiorno are award-winning husband-and-wife filmmakers who formed their own production company, Bongiorno Productions, in Newark. Marylou is a producer and director; Jerome is a cinematographer, editor and animator. Marylou is a graduate of New York University’s Graduate Film Program.
The Bongiornos’ documentary “Mother-Tongue: Italian American Sons & Mothers,” featuring Martin Scorsese, earned an Emmy nomination. Their global warming-themed screenplay, “Watermark,” was featured at the Tribeca Film Festival/Sloan Summit.
Marylou and Jerome are in preproduction for the fictional version of Revolution ‘67, executive produced by Spike Lee. They are currently completing a series of short films on post-Katrina New Orleans and flood-plagued Venice, Italy. They are the recipients of a Film Fellowship from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts and are long-time residents of Newark, N.J., where Marylou has lived all her life.
Credits: Revolution ’67 is a co-production of the Independent Television Service (ITVS) and American Documentary P.O.V. in association with WSKG.
Running time: 86:46
P.O.V. Web: The Revolution '67 companion Web site (www.pbs.org/pov/revolution67) offers a streaming video trailer of the film, an interview with Marylou Tibaldo-Bongiorno (video, podcast and text); a list of related Web sites, organizations and books; a downloadable discussion guide and classroom activity; and the following special features:
Film Update - Directors' Cut: Watch a special video update from the filmmakers about Newark today.
Special Podcast – New Jersey Historical Society Panel: The NJ Historical Society is holding a special exhibition this summer in observance of the 40th anniversary of the Newark Riots. The museum hosted a special screening of Revolution '67 and assembled a panel of historians and activists to discuss the 1967 riot and its aftermath. Listen to an audio podcast or read a transcript of the conversation.
Outreach: P.O.V. is working with PBS stations and groups across the country to foster community dialogue around the issues presented in Revolution ‘67. For a list of upcoming screening and discussion events, go to http://www.amdoc.org/outreach_news.php.
P.O.V. is also working with nationally recognized media educator Dr. Faith Rogow to develop a facilitation guide to help event organizers carry out substantive and sensitive discussions around the film’s content. The guide contains discussion questions and background information. Cari Ladd is creating a lesson plan. In addition, the American Library Association and P.O.V. are creating a multi-media resource list of books and videos that further explore the issues in the film. The materials will be available free of charge at www.pbs.org/pov/outreach.
P.O.V.: Produced by American Documentary, Inc. and celebrating its 20th season on PBS in 2007, the award-winning P.O.V. series is the longest-running showcase on television to feature the work of America's best contemporary-issue independent filmmakers. Airing on PBS on Tuesdays at 10 p.m., June through September, with primetime specials during the year, P.O.V. has brought more than 250 documentaries to millions nationwide, and has a Webby Award-winning online series, P.O.V.'s Borders. Since 1988, P.O.V. has pioneered the art of presentation and outreach using independent nonfiction media to build new communities in conversation about today's most pressing social issues. More information about P.O.V is available at www.pbs.org/pov.
Major funding for P.O.V. is provided by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the New York State Council on the Arts, the Ford Foundation, the Educational Foundation of America, PBS and public television viewers. Funding for P.O.V.’s Diverse Voices Project is provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, with additional support from JPMorgan Chase Foundation, the official sponsor of P.O.V.'s 20th Anniversary Campaign. P.O.V. is presented by a consortium of public television stations, including KCET Los Angeles, WGBH Boston, and Thirteen/WNET New York.