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Documentaries in October | Independent Films on WETA TV26

This October on WETA TV26 & HD, tune in every Monday night for fascinating independent films presented by POV and Independent Lens. Read about each film below and mark your calendars!

Monday October 6 at 10pm POV: The Act of Killing
This film explores a horrifying era in Indonesian history and provides a window into modern

Indonesia, where corruption reigns. Not only is the 1965 murder of an estimated one million people honored as a patriotic act, but the killers remain in power. In a mind-bending twist, death-squad leaders dramatize their brutal deeds in the style of the American westerns, musicals and gangster movies they love — and play both themselves and their victims. As their heroic facade crumbles, they come to question what they've done. Watch the trailer here. Some images may be disturbing.

Monday October 13 at 10pm Independent Lens: Bully
An intimate, unflinching look at how bullying affects five kids and their families. Opening a window onto the pained lives of bullied kids, it documents the responses of adults to aggressive behaviors beyond “kids will be kids” clichés, capturing a growing movement to change how bullying is handled in schools, communities, and society. Watch the trailer here.

Monday October 20 at 11pm Independent Lens: Twin Sisters

The poignant story of two girls from China adopted as infants by two separate sets of parents — one from California, the other from a remote fishing village in Norway — who grow up knowing they have a twin living on the other side of the world. Despite being on different paths, the magical bond between them grows deeper. Watch the trailer here.

Monday October 27 at 11pm Independent Lens: Brakeless
What led the driver of a Japanese commuter train to accelerate perilously, causing a deadly crash? Piecing together personal accounts of those affected by the tragedy, Brakeless poses a question for a society that equates speed with progress: have what were once national virtues — punctuality and compliance — become dangerous? Watch the trailer here.


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Free Movies in DC | WETA Movies July 20

Enjoy the old with the new this Saturday on WETA with back-to-back movies.

The Sunshine Boys (1975)
Walter Matthau and George Burns headline this Neil Simon comedy as the two halves of an old vaudeville duo. Having broken up after 43 years of working together, the two begrudgingly agree to put their differences aside and perform as part of a TV special on the history of comedy. But tempers flare and they battle each other every step of the way in this funny and touching film.
Tune in to WETA TV26 & HD Saturday at 9:30pm for The Sunshine Boys. Watch the trailer!


POV: Only The Young

Relive the uncertainty of youth with this documentary about three Christian teenagers in an idle Southern California town. Watch Garrison, Kevin, and Skye balance their decaying

environment with budding relationships. Filmmakers Jason Tippet and Elizabeth Mims have created a portrait of modern adolescence that is sure to warm your heart.
Tune in to WETA TV26 & HD Saturday at 11:30pm for Only The Young. Watch the trailer!



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Free Movies in DC | WETA Movies July 13

WETA has two back to back films for you this weekend and each one presents you with a man and his journey. Though these men are in very different situations, they both grow over the course of their respective films. Watch Jerry Landers unusual relationship with religion in Oh, God!, and immediately afterwards watch the touching tale of a prisoner who gets a taste of freedom in POV: Herman’s House.

WETA Movie: Oh, God! (1977)

Jerry Landers, an ordinary grocery store manager, unexpectedly finds himself face to face with God himself. To his surprise, he is chosen to be the vessel that spreads the message of the Lord to the people of Earth. Unfortunately, the world around him doesn’t believe his story, and he starts to seem like nothing more than a crazy man. Even as his family and friends begin to question his sanity, he perseveres in order to complete his heavenly task. Watch the trailer!
Oh, God! (1977) airs Saturday at 9:30pm on WETA TV26 & WETA HD.

POV: Herman’s House

Most of us have an idea of what our dream home would be if we could live anywhere we

wanted, but what would your dream home be if you spent most of your life in a solitary confinement cell? After hearing about Herman Wallace, a man who has spent more than 40 years in a Louisiana prison, artist Jackie Sumell decided she wanted to attempt to build Herman’s dream home. Through letter correspondence, Jackie puts together the fragments of Herman’s ideal home and works to create this home as a symbol of freedom. Though she faces her own life struggles, she pushes forward to make a forgotten man’s dreams come true. Watch the trailer!
POV: Herman’s House airs Saturday at 11:30pm on WETA TV26 & WETA HD.

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Free Movies in DC | WETA Movies July 6

The beginning of a new season provides a chance for change and reflection. Join WETA in celebrating change with three films that feature people in limbo.

Get Shorty (1995)
The film follows Chili Palmer (John Travolta), a gangster from Miami who is sent to collect a debt

in Las Vegas. While there, he accepts an assignment from a casino and heads to Hollywood to collect a debt from B-movie producer Harry Zimm (Gene Hackman). Having always been interested in films, Palmer uses the opportunity to get involved with the business. Watch as he makes the messy transition from thug to producer, discovering that the two jobs have more in common than you might think. Also starring James Gandolfini, Danny DeVito, Rene Russo, Delroy Lindo, and Dennis Farina.
Tune in to WETA TV26 & HD Saturday at 9:30pm for the crime-comedy Get Shorty.

Get Shorty (1995)


POV: Special Flight
Take a trip to Geneva’s

Frambois detention center, a place where the rubber of Switzerland’s strict immigration policies meets the road. At Frambois are illegal immigrants waiting to be deported to their home lands. The inmates are stuck between the opportunities of a socially progressive Switzerland and the possibility of harsh consequences upon returning to their native countries.
Tune in to WETA TV26 & HD Saturday at 11:30pm for POV’s Special Flight.

POV: El General

A complicated legacy has left filmmaker Natalia Almada with a lot to think about. The great-

granddaughter of Mexico’s villainous former president Plutarco Elías Calles, Almada tries to reconcile her grandmother’s memory of Calles with the perspectives of the millions of Mexicans who despised him. Using her grandmother’s tape recordings, Almada sees a woman who was trying to change the opinions of her father.
Tune in to WETA TV 26 & HD Sunday at 12:30am for POV: El General.

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Free Movies in DC | WETA Movie Night January 12



It's inevitable in life and this week’s WETA Saturday Night Movies are filled with it. Whether it’s a lovers’ quarrel, a jealous rage, revealing a group’s crimes, or just trying to stay alive, conflict is the topic in this week’s movies. Tune in to WETA TV26 & WETA HD this Saturday beginning at 9:30pm for our dramatic Hollywood movie followed by a powerful documentary at 11:30pm. 


No Way Out (1987) - Conflict with Honor and Heart

Naval Lieutenant Commander Tom Farrell (Kevin Costner) begins an affair with an alluring woman, Susan Atwell (Sean Young) who happens to be the girlfriend of his boss, the Secretary of Defense, David Brice (Gene Hackman). When the woman is murdered, Secretary Brice assigns Lieutenant Commander Farrell the task of tracking down the killer. Will the two men join in the search for Atwell’s murderer or is one of them the main suspect? Join us this Saturday at 9:30pm for the thriller No Way Out (1987). Repeats Sunday at 11:30am.

WETA Movie: No Way Out (1987)



POV Reportero - Deadly Conflict from Exposure

In Mexico, many journalists have vanished or found murdered since December 2006, when 

President Felipe Calderón came to power and launched a government offensive against the country’s powerful drug cartels and organized crime. In this documentary from POV, follow a veteran reporter and his colleagues at Zeta, a Tijuana-based independent newsweekly, as they pursue reporting in one of the deadliest places in the world for members of the press. Join us Saturday at 11:30pm for POV's Reportero.

Learn more about the history of Zeta on the POV website! 

Watch the trailer on POV’s YouTube. Viewer discretion advised.

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Free Movies in DC: WETA Fall Movie Festival November 10


Watch free movies without commercials on your TV this Saturday. Get a load of our jam packed Fall Movie Festival November 10, a feature film and FOUR documentaries on WETA TV26 and WETA HD.

The Art of Risk-Taking

Jumping out of an airplane, sampling frog’s legs, or buying a lottery ticket all mean incurring some risk.  A skydiver discovering mid-air that his parachute is defective may be a rare situation, but suffering a minor allergic reaction to an exotic food happens more often. In life, we’re faced with both itty-bitty risks and all-or-nothing risks. This Saturday night, don’t do anything dicey. Stay in the comfort and safety of your own home and live vicariously through risk taker after risk taker in a line-up of movies on WETA TV26 and HD that make you hold your breath—without taking any real risks.


Love’s Risk

You never know who you’ll meet on the bus. Fate strikes when two bus riders’ lives coincidentally intertwine, proving that every personal encounter has a purpose. When the recently returned World War II veteran Paul strikes up a conversation with Victoria, he learns that she is pregnant out of wedlock and terrified that her traditionalist Mexican father will kill her upon her homecoming from graduate school. So Paul offers to play the role of Victoria’s husband and Victoria accepts. Victoria’s family believes the couple’s announcement but the new son-in-law’s social standing infuriates Victoria’s father. The initial plan takes an unexpected turn when the family invites Paul to stay on the vineyard and assist with the annual grape harvest. The events that follow will convince you of the magic of fate. With family tradition, love, and hate all conflicting, you have the perfect elements to start off a Saturday night movie festival! 

Watch A Walk in the Clouds (1995) Saturday November 10 at 9:30pm on WETA TV26 or WETA HD.

A Walk in the Clouds (1995)


Risk for Reward

Though the classroom’s filled with women from a colorful assortment of countries, their similarities outweigh their differences. Many stopped attending school at age ten, either because of the taboo of female education or because work took priority. All of the students have families back home, and all are mothers or grandmothers--a class requirement. Most of the students have never before left their village, let alone their 

country. Many are also illiterate. These 27 disenfranchised women hail from four continents and make up a class of competitively selected candidates whose training at The Barefoot College in India will empower them to become solar engineers. Yes, solar engineers. In six months time, these women will return home with the ability, confidence, and skill to bring solar electricity to their villages. Learn more about the making of Solar Mamas from producer Mette Heide in this Independent Lens online exclusive! 

Solar Mamas follows the journey of one particular Barefoot College class, shedding light (no pun intended) on the natural energy crisis and the challenges rural women face worldwide.

Watch Independent Lens: Solar Mamas Saturday, November 10 at 11:15pm on WETA TV26 or WETA HD.


Risking Life and Limb

The prospect of $20,000 and college tuition assistance in exchange for serving in the Michigan National Guard just one weekend a month seemed too good to pass up for a group of nine long-time friends who were fresh out of high school in rural Michigan. And it was…as most things that seem too good to be true usually are. Soon, they would all be deployed on a tour to Afghanistan, where they would search for roadside bombs with their explosives unit. After nine  fearfull and uncertain months, nothing could prepare the once carefree “boys” for the obstacles they would endure upon returning home.

Where Soldiers Come From follows the lives of three of these men over the course of four years, from their basic training, to their deployment, and ultimately, to their tumultuous return home. The film illustrates the transformation of these happy-go-lucky teenagers into hardened and emotionally-scarred men. The film also paints a poignant portrait of the far-reaching effects of a far-away war, while touching upon politics, class, and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder. Check out this powerful map of Veterans in the United States from POV Where Soldiers Come From

Watch POV: Where Soldiers Come From Saturday, November 10 at 12:30am on WETA TV26 or WETA HD.


Risk on the Behalf of Others

On-call at all hours of the day and night, they rush to their “office” when the familiar phone call comes. A price could never be put on the free and generous service they provide with their smiles, hugs, and words of encouragement for men and women in uniform. At Bangor International Airport in Maine, a pack of senior citizens has made history by greeting and seeing off nearly one million American troops who are on their way to and from Iraq and Afghanistan.

The Way We Get By tells a moving story about growing old, finding purpose, and living life to the fullest. The film looks at three of the senior volunteers, as they deal with the inevitable effects of aging and find their reason to continue living. One volunteer must cope with a cancer diagnosis, while another must cope with the deployments of beloved family members. Meanwhile, one volunteer explains the group’s goal very succinctly: “Make a soldier smile before he goes over.” The parallels between the gray-haired volunteers and soldiers passing through the plane terminal reveal the film’s central message: It is through service to others we find our purpose. Watch or read this POV interview with The Way We Get By filmmaker Aron Gaudet. 

Watch POV: The Way We Get By on Saturday, November 10 at 2:00am on WETA TV26 or WETA HD.


Risking it all for a Dream

“We miss the shot, we get shot.”

For wildly successful filmmakers László Kovács and Vilmos Zsigmond, such a statement was not far from the truth in their native Hungary. Maybe it was luck and their innate talent that led to their success in the film industry, or maybe it was the day-to-day struggle of surviving in Hungary’s hostile environment that taught them to fight. Whatever the case, that success certainly did not mushroom overnight. No Subtitles Necessary: Laszlo & Vilmos honors the pair, all the while telling their story from struggle to triumph.

László and Vilmos quickly became friends back in film school, but little did they know that their friendship would thrive for decades to come and withstand as much as it did. During the Hungarian Revolution, the two fled for America, camera and film in tow. Remarkably, they managed to avoid ever getting caught and filmed many of the horrific scenes involved in their escape. Finding work was no easy feat, and for ten years they admirably kept their dreams alive by working on low-budget films. Their “big breaks” came in due time, and once Hollywood recognized their talent as Directors of Photography, America swooned. Thanks to their grit and persistence, László and Vilmos have changed Hollywood’s standards for cinematography. Check out this No Subtitles Necessary: Laszlo & Vilmos behind the scenes content from Independent Lens and director / producer James Chressanthis!

Watch Independent Lens: No Subtitles Necessary: Laszlo & Vilmos on Saturday, November 19 at 3:30am on WETA TV26 or WETA HD.


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Free Movies in DC: WETA Fall Movie Festival October 27


Enjoy the excitement of a film festival right here in DC, MD, and VA while wearing your PJs with the WETA Fall Movie Festival on WETA TV26 and WETA HD. Tune in every Saturday for the finest films from all genres and generations for free and without commercials. Grab a blanket and some popcorn and prepare to cry, laugh, and think with the WETA Fall Movie Festival.


If we look back far enough on our lives, either a smile or a tear may appear on our faces.  Ore hearts may skip a beat or we may release a long and drawn-out sigh.  The wonders of memory and our ability to playback eventful moments in our minds can be considered a gift or a curse. Perhaps we experienced things in our lives that we’d rather forget.  And if for a second a thought of the dark past crosses our minds, we become angry with ourselves for allowing such memories to resurface.  But maybe memory also holds the missing pieces of life’s puzzle that we so desperately try to solve.  In a world where unexplainable events take place, within this thing called life where so many of our curiosities are unanswered, memory just might be what we need for new discoveries to be revealed.  Tomorrow night, join us for thought provoking films that explore memory and its abilities to bring unsolved mysteries to light.

Remember a Brother

When selfish and conceited LA car dealer Charlie Babbitt learns of his father’s sudden death, he’s surprised to find that he is left with hardly any money from the estate.  Much to Charlie’s confusion, his father left behind a handsome sum of money to a mental institution.  Charlie is soon shocked to realize that he has an older brother named Raymond who resides there as an autistic patient.  Although being completely unaware that he even had a brother, Charlie wastes no time to use Raymond as a pawn to try and claim a piece of his father’s estate.  But spending time with his long lost brother allows Charlie to see a different side of him under his autistic symptoms.  Vague moments of their early history together become clear when Charlie recalls false childhood memories of having an imaginary friend named “Rain Man.”  He finally realizes that a Rain Man really did exist.  It was his brother, Raymond whose name he had difficulty pronouncing as a child.  Will Charlie squander his brother’s inheritance or overcome his jealousy and greed?  Saturday night at 9:30 on WETA HD and WETA TV26 tune in for the Oscar-winning drama, Rain Man starring Hollywood favorites, Tom Cruise and Dustin Hoffman.

Rain Man (1988)


Remember Suffering

One of the most captivating locations on Earth rests within the Chilean Atacama Desert.  Although the desert hills and cliffs rising 10,000 feet above sea level stand isolated from the valleys below, in the skies above hover some of the most breathtaking cosmos that scientists and natives alike have ever seen.  The desert stands away from civilization where city lights and activity would distort the bright and colorful activity of the night sky.  Scientists from all over the world come to the Atacama Desert for a rare and incomparable look at the stars and galaxies that seem just a grasp away.  It is truly a beautiful place full of wonder and mystery.  For Chilean locals however, the Atacama Desert holds a dark past.  The red sands of the desert remain as a harsh resting ground for hundreds of political prisoners who were mercilessly murdered and burned during the Pinochet dictatorship.  Family members of the “disappeared” souls search for their remains almost daily, but the terrain can be so unforgiving that many are left only to wonder.  Saturday at 11:30pm, WETA HD and WETA TV26 present the POV: Nostalgia for the LightHow could a land with a beautiful massive sky above experience so much pain and death below?  Join us for a film that displays an entire community’s search for answers, some scientific, and others emotional. 

Enjoy this POV interview with filmmaker Patricio Guzman.