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New P.O.V. Documentary ‘The Sixth Section’ Profiles Migrant Workers
Who Are Dramatically Revitalizing Their Hometown in Mexico

Part of P.O.V.’s Diverse Voices Project, Film Airs on PBS Tuesday, Sept. 2

PBS’s award-winning documentary series P.O.V. will open a surprising window on the economic life of Mexican immigrants with a new documentary, The Sixth Section,
on Tuesday, September 2. Airing at 10:30 p.m., the film will be presented with another documentary about the Mexican-American experience, Soldados: Chicanos in
Vi_t Nam (see separate release), which airs earlier that evening at 10 p.m.
(Check local listings.)

Both films are part of P.O.V.’s new initiative, the Diverse Voices Project (DVP), which is made possible through major funding by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. The DVP films were granted production and completion funds and selected from over 180 submissions to bring emerging and diverse voices to American television.

Alex Rivera’s The Sixth Section tells a contemporary story that reveals a new perspective on Mexican migrant labor life. Rivera and co-producer Bernardo Ruiz followed José Garcia, a young man from the small Mexican town of Boqueron. Garcia decided to leave to support his wife and family, coming to the U.S. hidden in the trunk of a car. Once here, he moved to Newburgh, New York, and found much more than a job – he saw that he could use his own labor in America to relieve the stark poverty of his hometown.

In Newburgh, Garcia began speaking to others about an idea – eventually over 300 people from Boqueron settled there – and soon they formed Grupo Unión, a “hometown association,” dedicated to raising dollars in America and using the money to revitalize their hometown in Mexico.

With so many people from Boqueron now transplanted to Newburgh, they refer to themselves as the “sixth section” because Boqueron itself is divided into five sections, or neighborhoods. In Newburgh, these men work long, hard hours in construction, at restaurants, driving taxis and other primarily low-paying jobs. Yet they meet once a week and carefully count out the $10, $20 or $30 each hands over to José Garcia, the Grupo Unión treasurer. It usually adds up to about $200 or $300 each week.

What may be most surprising for North Americans is just how much Boqueron’s “sixth section” has managed to accomplish. They brought electricity to the town in time for the 21st century – something neither the Mexican government nor international aid programs accomplished. They built a cafeteria for the kindergarten and bought an ambulance for the town, driving it 3,000 miles to Boqueron. And in an astounding boost for the town’s morale, the men in Newburgh funded the building of a 2,000-seat baseball stadium in Boqueron.

As the group’s projects become more ambitious, their work begins to have unintended consequences. As a result of the group’s efforts, the Mexican government finally takes an interest in the tiny town of Boqueron, and the men poignantly acknowledge that their success means that, for this generation, leaving may be the only way they can go home again.

Boqueron’s Grupo Unión is not an isolated instance. It is one of at least a thousand “hometown associations” involving not only Mexicans, but workers from the Philippines, China, Italy, and from all over the world. The self-directed social action of these groups is one of globalization’s unanticipated effects.

To capture the complex dynamics of the story, Rivera deploys a unique filmmaking style, using digital imaging technology to seamlessly blend together the worlds of upstate New York and southern Mexico. By mixing these digital sequences with interviews, verité footage and home video, The Sixth Section represents an ambitious attempt to use digital video to tell an important transnational story.

About the Filmmakers:

Alex Rivera
Director/Producer
Alex Rivera is a media artist and filmmaker who, for the past 10 years, has worked with digital video and on the Internet to tell unique stories of the Latino experience. He recently completed a series of short films for P.O.V.’s Borders web series, and produced for Hector Galan on the PBS series Visiones. He won the Sundance/NHK International Filmmaker award, and a Silver Hugo. His works have been screened at The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), The Guggenheim Museum, Lincoln Center as well as on PBS and at numerous film festivals around the world. He lives in New York City.

Bernardo Ruiz
Co-Producer
Bernardo Ruiz is a writer and filmmaker whose credits include the shorts, Night Magic and The Devil’s Twilight (with Eli Wallach). He recently produced a 10-week interactive web documentary, Leaving Elsa, for P.O.V.’s Borders web series. Ruiz’s writing has appeared in the Los Angeles Times and The Miami Herald. He is a recipient of a film grant from the New York Foundation on the Arts and an Emerging Maker grant from Latino Public Broadcasting. He lives in New York City.

Credits:

Director/Producer: Alex Rivera
Co-Producer: Bernardo Ruiz



The Diverse Voices Project is a partnership of P.O.V. and CPB, working with the five publicly funded Minority Consortia, which include Latino Public Broadcasting (LPB), National Asian American Telecommunications Association (NAATA), Native American Public Telecommunications (NAPT), National Black Programming Consortium (NBPC), and Pacific Islanders in Communication (PIC). Diverse Voices is designed to support the work of emerging filmmakers with creative and compelling stories to tell.


Co-Presenters:


Latino Public Broadcasting (LPB) supports the development, production, acquisition and distribution of non-commercial educational and cultural television that is representative of Latino people, or addresses issues of particular interest to Latino Americans. These programs are produced for dissemination to the public broadcasting stations and other public telecommunication entities. By acting as minority consortium, LPB provides a voice to the diverse Latino community throughout the United States.

The Diverse Voices Project is funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.


Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), a private, nonprofit corporation created by Congress in 1967, develops educational public radio, television and online services for the American people. The Corporation is the industry's largest single source of funds for national public television and radio program development and production. CPB, a grant-making organization, funds more than 1,000 public radio and television stations.


P.O.V., television’s first and longest-running independent non-fiction film series, begins its 16th season in June 2003. Since 1988 P.O.V. has worked to bring the best of independent point-of-view documentaries to a national audience. The first series on television to feature the work of America’s most innovative documentary filmmakers, P.O.V. has gone on to pioneer the art of presentation and outreach using independent media to build new communities in conversation about today’s most pressing social issues.

Major funding for P.O.V. is provided by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the New York State Council on the Arts, the Open Society Institute, PBS and public television viewers. Funding for Talking Back and the Diverse Voices Project is provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. P.O.V. is presented by a consortium of public television station including KCET/Los Angeles, WGBH/Boston, and WNET/New York. Cara Mertes is executive director of P.O.V. P.O.V. is a division of American Documentary, Inc.

P.O.V. Interactive (www.pbs.org/pov)
P.O.V.'s award-winning web department creates a web site for every P.O.V. presentation. Our web sites extend the life of P.O.V. films through community-based and educational applications, focusing on involving viewers in activities, information and feedback on the issues. In addition, pbs.org/pov houses our unique Talking Back feature, filmmaker interviews and viewer resources, and information on the P.O.V. archives as well as a myriad of special sites for previous P.O.V. broadcasts. P.O.V. also produces special sites for hire, specializing in working closely with independent filmmakers on integrating their content with their interactive goals.

American Documentary, Inc. (www.americandocumentary.org)
American Documentary, Inc. (AmDoc) is a multimedia company dedicated to creating, identifying and presenting contemporary stories that express opinions and perspectives rarely featured in mainstream media outlets. Through two divisions, P.O.V. and Active Voice, AmDoc is a catalyst for public culture; developing collaborative strategic engagement activities around socially relevant content on television, on line and in community settings. These activities are designed to trigger action; from dialogue and feedback, to educational opportunities and community participation.

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