Storyville

10:00pm Monday 14 January on BBC FOUR

As America remains embroiled in overseas conflict, a less visible war is taking place at home, costing countless lives, destroying families, and inflicting untold damage on future generations of Americans.

For over 40 years, the War on Drugs has accounted for 45 million arrests, made America the world’s largest jailer, and damaged poor communities at home and abroad. Yet for all that, drugs are more available today than ever before.

Filmed in more than 20 states by critically acclaimed filmmaker Eugene Jarecki, Storyville: The House I Live In captures a definitive and heart-wrenching portrait of individuals at all levels of America’s War on Drugs. From the dealer to the grieving mother, the narcotics officer to the senator, the inmate to the federal judge, the film offers a penetrating look inside America’s longest war, revealing its profound human rights implications.

While recognizing the seriousness of drug abuse as a matter of public health, the film investigates the tragic errors and shortcomings that have instead treated it as a matter for law enforcement, creating a vast political and economic machine that feeds largely on America’s poor, especially minority communities. Yet beyond simple misguided policy, the film investigates how political and economic corruption have fueled the war for 40 years, despite persistent evidence of its moral, economic, and practical failures.

Ultimately, Storyville: The House I Live In seeks, through compassionate enquiry, to promote public awareness of the history and contemporary mechanics of this human rights crisis and to begin a national conversation about its reform.

9:00pm Monday 25 June on BBC FOUR

Storyville follows the modelling industry’s complex supply chain between Siberia, Japan and the US. The story is told through the eyes of a scout and a 13-year-old model.

A thriving model industry connects the two distant regions of Siberia and Tokyo.

Girl Model follows two protagonists involved in this industry: Ashley, a deeply ambivalent American model scout who scours the Siberian countryside looking for fresh faces to send to the Japanese market, and one of her discoveries, Nadya, a 13-year-old plucked from the Siberian countryside and dropped into the centre of Tokyo on the promise of a profitable career.

After Ashley’s initial discovery of Nadya the two rarely meet again – but their stories are inextricably bound.

10:00pm Monday 13 February on BBC FOUR

Nominated this month for an Academy Award, If A Tree Falls tells the remarkable story of a young American environmentalist involved with the Earth Liberation Front – a group the FBI came to describe as America’s ‘number one domestic terrorism threat’.

For years, the ELF operated in separate anonymous cells without any central leadership, launching spectacular attacks against dozens of logging companies whom they accused of destroying the environment. In December 2005 Daniel McGowan was arrested by Federal agents in a nationwide sweep of radical environmentalists involved with the ELF.

Part coming-of-age tale, part thriller, the film interweaves a chronicle of Daniel as he faces life in prison, with a dramatic recounting of the events that led to his involvement with the group.

10:00pm Monday 23 January on BBC FOUR

Part of Storyville’s Survivors season, Lust For Life is a film about Heather Leach, a cheeky flame-haired documentary director. Based in London for 10 years, Heather was living life to the full. Then at the age of 30 she was suddenly diagnosed with a thyroid disease and, on top of that, cancer.

Heather’s diagnosis triggered a whole range of emotions, but more significantly, she began reconsidering the purpose of life. It forced her to stop and think about what really mattered. Six days after her diagnosis, the vibrant workaholic picked up her camera and started making this film.

Heather returned to her home town Rochdale. Over the next three years, as health problem followed health problem, she had to face up to growing poverty and an increasing dependence on her family. Suddenly she felt like a child again. But out of despair and depression she was finally able to face her mortality with intimacy, insight and fun. This is a film about the importance of really living our lives.

Kate Townsend has been appointed as the new executive producer for BBC Four’s flagship international documentary strand Storyville.

Kate will be responsible for developing and delivering commissions for Storyville, both from the UK and from producers throughout the world, maintaining the highest standards for the critically acclaimed strand and reporting to Storyville editor Nick Fraser.

Storyville has developed an enviable reputation since its inception more than a decade ago. Screening over 340 films, from some 70 different countries, the strand has garnered a staggering array of awards – five Oscars, 15 Griersons, three Peabodys and two International Emmys, including a recent win for The English Surgeon. Storyville delivers an eclectic mix of compelling stories from across the globe.

Kate has experience of directing and producing a wide range of factual programmes, including Paddington Green, Louis Theroux’s Weird Weekend and films in the This World and Cutting Edge strands. She won the 2007 RTS award for best current affairs documentary for BBC Two’s Power To The People.

Most recently, she has been series producer on Horizon.

Nick Fraser, editor of Storyville, says: “Kate has an impressive record of producing, directing and supervising the making of documentaries. She will be a terrific executive producer. She is also a free spirit and that appeals to us at Storyville.”

Kate Townsend says: “I have always been a huge admirer of the quality and distinctiveness of the Storyville strand. I’m delighted to be given the chance to work on such a broad slate of documentaries and am very excited about joining the team in January and working closely with filmmakers throughout the industry.”

Kate takes on the role previously occupied by Greg Sanderson, who was appointed executive producer for The Review Show. She assumes her new role on 4 January 2011.

A new Storyville run begins on BBC Four in early January with six brand-new films including: Secrets Of The Tribe, which delves into one of the greatest controversies to rock the world of anthropology, uncovering horrendous secrets long buried; Out Of The Ashes, tracing the extraordinary journey of the Afghan cricket team as they chase a seemingly impossible dream; and Pablo’s Hippos, the intriguing story of drugs baron Pablo Escobar told from the perspective of one of the hippos living in his zoo.

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