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UT Filmmakers to Air Political Documentaries Online With PBS and The Washington Post

AUSTIN, Texas – Three filmmakers from the Moody College of Communication Department of Radio-Television-Film will debut films online July 11 in a series of short documentaries about politics titled “Postcards from the Great Divide,” a digital partnership between the PBS Election 2016 initiative and The Washington Post.

Representing The University of Texas at Austin are Radio-Television-Film Department Chair and Professor Paul Stekler, alumnus and lecturer Miguel Alvarez (MFA ’09) and alumna Heather Courtney (MFA ’00).

The series of nine films examines the deeply partisan split among the American electorate, traveling to key locations across the nation to provide a greater understanding of how changing demographics and political gamesmanship has affected American politics.

On July 11, the first five films launch simultaneously on www.politicalpostcards.org, the PBS Election 2016 website; and The Washington Post’s politics blog The Fix, with reporter Chris Cillizza providing commentary. Later this summer, four more films will launch online, with all nine subsequently planned for broadcast on the World Channel.

Each film covers a political issue and offers a view of a specific demographic or partisan environment. 

Alvarez’s film explores the challenges of getting Latinos to vote in Texas. Courtney’s film documents urban and rural Minnesota residents distancing themselves based on political views. Stekler’s film looks at what happens when $1 million of outside money is dropped into a local school board race in Colorado.

Additional films in the series will cover issues in Florida, Wisconsin, Nevada, Washington and two other states.

“Postcards from the Great Divide” was created by Louis Alvarez, Andrew Kolker and Stekler. The team members are two-time Peabody Award and three-time duPont-Columbia University  Award-winning creators of such films as “Vote for Me: Politics in America,” “Getting Back to Abnormal,” “George Wallace: Settin’ the Woods on Fire,” and “People Like Us.”

The series is produced by the Center for New American Media and Midnight Films with funding from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and Latino Public Broadcasting.                                                         

Lauren Phillips, 512-471-2182; Paul Stekler, 512-471-6679. 

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