“And She Could Be Next,” a two-part documentary series, chronicles the story of a defiant movement of women of color who are transforming American politics from the ground up. Directed by Peabody Award-winner Grace Lee (American Revolutionary: The Evolution of Grace Lee Boggs) and Iranian documentary filmmaker Marjan Safinia (Seeds), “And She Could Be Next” makes its world premiere on PBS and at pov.org Monday, June 29th and Tuesday, June 30th at 9pm (check local listings).
This is the first miniseries to be co-produced by POV, the longest-running documentary series on American television, now in its 33rd season. “And She Could Be Next” is a co-production of POV and ITVS in association with the Center for Asian American Media and Latino Public Broadcasting, and a co-presentation of Black Public Media and the Center for Asian American Media.
Filmed from 2018 through 2019, the miniseries follows forward-thinking candidates and organizers across the U.S., asking whether democracy itself can be preserved —and made stronger— by those most marginalized. The episode centers individuals at the heart of the movement behind the New American Majority, including: Stacey Abrams (Georgia), Bushra Amiwala (Skokie, IL), Maria Elena Durazo (Los Angeles, CA), Veronica Escobar (El Paso, TX), Lucy McBath (Atlanta, GA), Rashida Tlaib (Detroit, MI) and Nse Ufot, Executive Director of the New Georgia Project (Atlanta, GA). The documentary also features an entirely women of color creative team. In addition to Lee, Safinia, producer Jyoti Sarda and executive producers like Ava DuVernay, And She Could Be Next credits contributing field directors: Yoruba Richen, Geeta Gandbhir, Amber Fares, Deborah Esquenazi, Ramona Emerson and Anayansi Prado.
“Episode One: Building The Movement” opens with the powerful reminder that “women of color have been the backbone of our communities forever.” An energetic montage of modern American civil rights movements–from women’s suffrage to Stonewall, Black Lives Matter to Standing Rock–brings us to the 2018 midterm elections where a new generation of women of color is ready to take the lead. The documentary goes behind-the-scenes at local rallies, war rooms and church basements, where candidates and organizers embark on the campaign trail. We also witness the unique challenges they face, from well-resourced incumbents to systemic barriers that disproportionately affect black, brown and immigrant communities. As we get to know these women, we see how they do not live “single issue lives” but are each a product of a larger movement–one that is coalition-based, intergenerational and interfaith.
“Episode Two: Claiming Power” takes us to the weeks leading up to election day and focuses on how organizers combat voter suppression in their own communities. At the heart of the episode is a growing multi-ethnic coalition in Georgia, a state with a rich history of civil rights organizing and poised to be a “majority minority” state as early as 2025. In addition to the New Georgia Project, groups like Mijente and Asians for Abrams put boots on the ground to address language barriers, poll purges and “exact match” laws that impact thousands of voters across the state. As results roll in, there is celebration for some and disappointment for others–but for these community organizers, the work does not stop when the polls close. Through it all, these women present a collective vision of political power that is rooted in care, dignity and joy, and remind us that there is an organizer in all of us.
“We are excited to launch, And She Could be Next during this moment in American politics, where questions of civic engagement, voter suppression, and the future of our representative democracy are coming to a head,” said Grace Lee, director/producer of And She Could Be Next. “By bringing this documentary to people across the country, we hope to add to the conversation during this election year.”
“And She Could Be Next unapologetically centers race and gender in our political discourse,” said Marjan Safinia, director/producer of And She Could Be Next. “We can’t have an astute conversation about America without this critical lens. So many audiences who feel unseen by our system, will see their power reflected in this project. We cannot underestimate the power of being seen.”
“And She Could Be Next” is part of PBS’ summer “Trailblazers” initiative celebrating the centennial of the women’s vote and illuminating the stories of modern women who continue to make their voices heard to bring about change. The docuseries is an official selection of the upcoming 2020 We Are One: A Global Film Festival.
“In this time, we need stories of hope and of communities coming together across this country to overcome adversity,” said Justine Nagan, one of the executive producers of POV. “During COVID-19, women of color have disproportionately served on the front lines of the crisis. And She Could Be Next reminding us of their power when they’re on the front lines of political and social change as well.”
In association with POV, And She Could Be Next is produced by Grace Lee, Marjan Safinia and Jyoti Sarda and directed by Grace Lee and Marjan Safinia. Academy Award nominee and Emmy, BAFTA, Peabody winner Ava DuVernay is an executive producer and Justine Nagan and Chris White are the executive producers for POV.
And She Could Be Next is made possible by generous support from funders including IDA Enterprise Fund, Julia Meltzer, Jonathan Logan Family Foundation, Patty Quillin, Lynda Weinman & Bruce Heavin, Neda Nobari, James Costa, Nion McEvoy & Leslie Berriman, Sundance Institute Documentary Film Fund, Good Gravy Fund, Women Donors Network, Women in Film Finishing Fund, Barbara Lee Family Foundation and other donors.
Produced by American Documentary, POV is the longest-running independent documentary showcase on American television. Since 1988, POV has presented films on PBS that capture the full spectrum of the human experience, with a long commitment to centering women and people of color in front of, and behind, the camera. It’s on POV where American television audiences were introduced to groundbreaking works like Tongues Untied, The Act of Killing and American Promiseand innovative filmmakers including Jonathan Demme, Nanfu Wang, and Laura Poitras. In 2018, POV Shorts launched as one of the first PBS series dedicated to bold and timely short-form documentaries.
Over a generation, POV has championed accessibility and innovation in nonfiction storytelling. POV Engage works with educators, community organizations and PBS stations to present hundreds of free screenings every year, inspiring dialogue around today’s most pressing social issues. The series’ interactive arm, POV Spark, creates and advances experiential forms of storytelling and programming, redefining U.S. public media to be more inclusive of emerging technologies and interactive makers.
POV films and projects have won 38 Emmy Awards, 25 George Foster Peabody Awards, 14 Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Awards, three Academy Awards and the first-ever George Polk Documentary Film Award. Learn more at pbs.org/pov and follow @povdocs on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.
About PBS Trailblazers
In the summer of 2020, PBS is celebrating the women’s vote centennial with a slate of multiplatform content honoring and commemorating U.S. women’s suffrage, the feminist movement and modern-day change makers. AMERICAN EXPERIENCE “The Vote” tells the story of the campaign to grant women the right to vote, a transformative cultural and political movement that resulted in the largest expansion of voting rights in U.S. history. AMERICAN MASTERS “Unladylike2020” is a multimedia series featuring courageous, little-known and diverse female trailblazers from the turn of the 20th century. “And She Could Be Next,” a POV miniseries, follows women of color as political candidates and organizers who seek to expand the electorate, asking whether democracy itself can be preserved — and made stronger — by those most marginalized. And a two-part FIRING LINE WITH MARGARET HOOVER special documents what motivated several conservative women to run for office. Two fan-favorite PBS series will salute female changemakers: AMERICAN MASTERS with “Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am” and “Mae West: Dirty Blonde;” and GREAT PERFORMANCES with “Gloria: A Life,” about Gloria Steinem, and “Ann,” about Texas governor Ann Richards. ANTIQUES ROADSHOW spotlights outstanding contributions from female athletes, artists, activists and more in the all-new special “Women’s Work.” The lineup also features two new miniseries: PREHISTORIC ROAD TRIP,hosted by the Field Museum’s Emily Graslie, who embarks on an epic adventure through America’s fossil country; and in the latest BBC co-production, Lucy Worsley investigates notable women and their roles in historical events in LUCY WORSLEY’S ROYAL MYTHS & SECRETS. In addition, PBS will also encore the critically acclaimed and award-winning FRONTLINE documentary “For Sama,” an intimate yet epic journey of one woman’s experience of the Syrian war.
About American Documentary, Inc.
American Documentary, Inc. (AmDoc) is a multimedia company dedicated to creating, identifying and presenting contemporary stories that express opinions and perspectives rarely featured in mainstream media outlets. AmDoc is a catalyst for public culture, developing collaborative strategic engagement activities around socially relevant content on television, online and in community settings. These activities are designed to trigger action, from dialogue and feedback to educational opportunities and community participation.
Major funding for POV is provided by PBS, The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts and the Wyncote Foundation. Additional funding comes from Acton Family Giving, The John S. and James Knight Foundation, Nancy Blachman and David desJardins, Bertha Foundation, Reva & David Logan Foundation, Open Society Foundations, Chicago Media Project, Lefkofsky Family Foundation, Sage Foundation, New York State Council on the Arts, New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, Ann Tenenbaum and Thomas H. Lee and public television viewers. POV is presented by a consortium of public television stations, including KQED San Francisco, WGBH Boston and THIRTEEN in association with WNET.ORG.