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The Economist Film Project and PBS Newshour Announce Documentary Series

by Sydney Levine
April 18, 2011 2:30 AM
1 Comment
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The Economist Film Project which was introduced to the film community with a series of panels during Sundance has announced the PBS NEWSHOUR slate of documentary films that reflect the types of issues The Economist is known for covering. The Edge of Joy, Wagah, Last Train Home (to be released by Zeitgeist in U.S.) and Good Fortune have all been selected as part of the Project’s initial slate of films. The featured films cover a wide variety of issues ranging from Nigeria’s battle against maternal mortality and the annual mass migration of China’s urban workers back to their villages, to a nightly ritual celebrating the closing of India and Pakistan’s only road border and a Kenyan community hurt by foreign aid. Beginning April 28th, excerpts from each film will be the focus of special segments airing regularly on PBS NEWSHOUR.

Since we announced The Economist Film Project in December, we have had more than 600 submissions of documentaries that tell riveting stories set in all parts of the globe,” “These four films stood out for embodying the spirit of the Project, presenting unusual perspectives on complex issues and enhancing our understanding of the world,

said Gideon Lichfield, Editorial Director of The Economist Film Project.

PBS NEWSHOUR is seen five nights a week on more than 315 PBS stations across the country and is also available online, via public radio in select markets and via podcast. The program is produced by MacNeil/Lehrer Productions, in association with WETA Washington, DC, and THIRTEEN in New York. Major corporate funding for The NewsHour is provided by Chevron, BNSF Railway, Toyota, and Pacific Life, with additional support from the William & Flora Hewlett Foundation, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and public television viewers.

The Edge of Joy, directed by Dawn Sinclair Shapiro, closely follows an ensemble cast of Nigerian doctors, midwives and families to the frontlines of maternal care. The documentary takes the viewer right into the midst of a busy maternity ward, where women and babies struggle to survive, and the medical staff searches for solutions.




Wagah, directed by Supriyo Sen, follows an extraordinary event that takes place each night at the only border crossing between India and Pakistan. Thousands of people gather to witness the ritual closing of the border, after which the masses get as close as possible to the gate to greet their former neighbors.

Last Train Home, directed by Lixin Fan, focuses on one family out of the millions that have been separated by China’s rush of modernity, as one or both parents move from rural villages to the cities in search of work. Against the backdrop of China’s annual migration of city dwellers back to their home villages for Chinese New Year, the film explores, through stunning visuals and amazing emotional generosity on the part of the family, the impact that this economic choice has had on families.




Good Fortune, directed by Landon Van Soest, explores how one international effort to alleviate poverty in Africa has caused controversy among the very people it is intended to benefit. The film provides an intimate portrait of a Kenyan family, and a perspective on the complexity of foreign aid and its possible unintended consequences.




We are pleased to be working with The Economist on this project. The documentaries are a great complement to the NEWSHOUR’s extensive coverage of international issues,


said Linda Winslow, Executive Producer of PBS NEWSHOUR.

The films chosen for the Project are jointly curated by The Economist and PBS NEWSHOUR. Once selected, a producer from PBS NEWSHOUR works with each director to create six- to eight-minute segments of the films, which then become the focus of special segments airing regularly on PBS NEWSHOUR through 2011. The segments will also be featured on both the NewsHour and the Project website (www.film.economist.com). Additional films selected by The Economist Film Project will be announced throughout the year.

About The Economist

With a growing global circulation (worldwide: 1,473,939; North America: 833,667) and a reputation for insightful analysis and opinion on every aspect of world events, The Economist is one of the most widely recognized and well-read current affairs publications. The paper has sections about each region of the world, plus science and technology, books and arts and the weekly obituary. The website (www.economist.com), with its 5.9 million unique readers, is also accessible through devices including the iPhone and iPad.

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1 Comment

  • Nathalie Applewhite | April 18, 2011 7:10 AMReply

    Dear IndieWire,

    The correct version of the trailer for The Edge of Joy is available here:
    http://pulitzercenter.org/projects/africa/nigeria-edge-joy
    The one you have above was a previous version that should have been deleted by us. Our apologies for the confusion! Please let us know once you've made the switch and we will delete the older one. Very best, Nathalie, Pulitzer Center

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