October 4, 2002

P.O.V.’s Borders, PBS’s First Web-Only Series

P.O.V., public television’s annual award-winning showcase for independent non-fiction films is launching PBS’s first original web-only series, P.O.V.’s Borders. This interactive, multipart series is targeted towards the millions of Americans already using their online access as a source of information and entertainment. Viewers —especially students and young people— can log on to the series at any time since the stories are on-line.

“P.O.V.’s Borders will be a showcase experimenting with innovative approaches to interactive non-fiction storytelling. It is our hope that the series will ultimately serve as a model for high quality, compelling and sustainable storytelling that inspires civic engagement online,” says P.O.V. executive director, Cara Mertes, who created and is executive producer for the series.  

The launch in October will unfold over 10 weeks, and is a prototype for a larger series project beginning in 2003. The second installment of the series is currently being planned.

P.O.V.’s Borders asks questions about the borders, both literal and metaphysical, in our lives. What is a border to you? How easy is it for you to understand another person’s borders? Produced by P.O.V. Interactive, P.O.V.’s award-winning web department, the series will depart from traditional models of interactive media. P.O.V. has teamed up with award-winning web designer Vivian Selbo of cavil.com to create an online environment that will feature commissioned and acquired content that explores our bordered lives, concentrating on ‘migration’ as an overall theme.

The series will include:

Border Stories

The core element of the series, Border Stories is a ten-week interactive drama following the lives of three teenagers from the US-Mexico border, produced for the series by filmmaker Bernardo Ruiz. Ruiz is working closely with the students of the Llano Grande Center in Elsa, Texas to create intimate portraits of these young adults as they face the biggest transition of their lives — leaving home for college. The students have been given digital cameras and during the course of the ten weeks will document their lives in their own words and images. Entries will be posted weekly and site users can follow and respond to the student’s experiences as the first ten weeks of the semester unfold.


Border Journeys

This section of the site offers digital glimpses of migrant life. Following the success of La Boda, filmmaker Hannah Weyer created Escuela, a portrait of Liliana Luis – a teenaged member of the Luis family working to complete high school. The original scenes commissioned for P.O.V.’s Borders are adapted from Escuela (recently featured on P.O.V.) and follow the Luis family through a year-long cycle of migration. This feature, which targets educational use, has quizzes, background information and additional resource material accompanying each episode.


Border Snapshots

Award winning digital media artist Alex Rivera has created original Border Snapshots – short digital meditations on the idea of borders that use humor and digital imagery to challenge the ideas we have about the borders that define our worlds. This section invites site visitors to submit video, poems, music or stills about the borders in their lives. A selection of these will be featured on the site throughout the ten weeks.

In addition to the interactive non-fiction story-telling, P.O.V.’s Borders will feature guest artists, writers, and others who work with border issues, interactive games, webcams and an opportunity for viewers to not only connect with but to comment on and interact with the ongoing stories.

A sneak preview of Borders is available now at www.pbs.org/pov/borders.

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