Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Growing Up in Urban America

ichannel Documentary Premiere: THE PERFECT LIFE, Monday January 24 at 9 pm ET/PT

A decade ago, Sam Lee taught at Harlem’s experimental Neighborhood Storefront School for disadvantaged kids. In this heart-wrenching documentary, she returns to find out what’s happened to some of the kids she taught.

The result is an intimate portrait of American inner-city life, as seen through the eyes of five very different teens. Raymond, Laura, Lizzie, Troy and Nathika all struggle to navigate their way through the many perils of urban existence – including poverty, gang warfare, domestic violence and drug abuse – while somehow hanging onto their aspirations for “the perfect life.”

Skillfully juxtaposing present-day footage of the kids with images of their seven-year-old selves, the film celebrates the persistence of hope while raising tough questions about what it means to grow up as part of America’s alienated and increasingly disenfranchised urban underclass.

For more information, check out the Web site for The Perfect Life.

More ichannel documentary highlights for the week of January 24 (encore presentations):

PEOPLE OF THE REEFS – Tuesday Jan. 25 at 9 pm ET/PT
Coral reefs are among our greatest natural treasures. Yet most of the world’s reefs are now at risk of extinction. This beautifully photographed Canadian documentary reveals the damage that pollution and destructive fishing methods have done to the coral reefs of Indonesia, and introduces the viewer to men and women who are fighting to save this endangered undersea world.

OCEANS OF PLASTIC  – Wednesday Jan. 26 at 9 pm ET/PT
Over the last century, human beings have dumped at least 100 million tons of plastic waste into the planet’s oceans, threatening countless marine species. Why have we turned the seas into a garbage dump? This award-winning documentary looks at the work of scientists who are trying to measure the pollution’s impact, and profiles activists who are fighting to raise awareness of the crisis.

THE STORY OF MOTHERS & DAUGHTERS – Thursday Jan. 27 at 9 pm ET/PT
This critically acclaimed documentary presents an intimate and unflinchingly honest portrait of the bond between mothers and their daughters. Ordinary women from many different walks of life share their experiences, offering real-life insight into the complexities of the mother-daughter relationship at every stage in life’s journey – from birth and childhood through old age and death.

THE STORY OF FATHERS & SONS – Friday Jan. 28 at 9 pm ET/PT
A father contemplating his newborn son’s future. An adolescent boy fighting to win his dad's approval. Such universal experiences are among the most profound of any man’s life. A companion to The Story of Mothers & Daughters, this acclaimed hour-long film features ordinary men from across the spectrum of American life speaking candidly about all that is good – and bad – about the father-son relationship.

More than five million people around the world, and as many as 100,000 in Canada, suffer from Parkinson’s disease, a degenerative disorder of the central nervous system that severely impairs motor functions. This documentary follows a group of patients as they test a promising new drug treatment, and offers a heart-rending glimpse of what it’s like to live, day after day, with Parkinson’s.

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