PBS to Air Generation Nation - Captures Expressions of American Life And Struggle

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PBS and its 50th Anniversary initiative, the crowdsourced storytelling project PBS AMERICAN PORTRAIT, will present a new half-hour documentary special, GENERATION NATION: A PBS AMERICAN PORTRAIT STORY on Monday, October 26 at 9:30 p.m. ET (check local listings).

Produced by PBS and RadicalMedia, GENERATION NATION: A PBS AMERICAN PORTRAIT STORY explores how people in different age groups, from adolescents to seniors, see themselves and their place in America.


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It reveals the common experiences that bind people together within and across age groups and the generational differences that can put us at odds with one another. Like the preceding PBS AMERICAN PORTRAIT specials, GENERATION NATION will blend collages of various stories from across the country with a focus on three main stories filmed and told firsthand. The featured participants are:

Arwyn H. is a 15-year-old rising sophomore in Austin, Texas. She is an enthusiastic, straight-A student who considers school her “happy place.” Her positive outlook on school changed in March, when the pandemic forced an abrupt shift to online education, depriving her of the camaraderie, support, and focused academic lifestyle in which she thrived. As the new school year approaches, Arwyn is preparing her home space and her mind for school in a way she has never experienced. 

Kat P. is a 51-year-old woman in Philadelphia. She has enjoyed a happy and purposeful career in the service industry, and has spent the last decade as a popular local bartender and hotel housekeeper. In March, Kat was furloughed from her hotel job and laid off from her bartending job. Now, she is adjusting to middle age while trying to figure out how best to support her two children, one of whom is autistic. 


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Marna C. has dreamed of being a professional photographic artist for most of her life, but family and financial responsibilities got in the way. Living in Inverness, Calif., she managed to finally take the time to develop as an artist and has embraced digital photography.

As she reaches her golden years, her creative voice aims to capture the beauty of the aging process in herself and in those around her. This year, Marna turns 80 and is determined to finally receive the validation for her work that she’s craved all her life.

PBS fast-tracked production of two previous half-hour specials: IN THIS TOGETHER: A PBS AMERICAN PORTRAIT STORY, which aired in May, after receiving a wave of new submissions around the unprecedented impact of COVID-19, and FAMILY OF US: A PBS AMERICAN PORTRAIT STORY, which captured a moving and meaningful picture of families in America today and aired in August.

Since it was launched in January 2020, the PBS AMERICAN PORTRAIT website has collected thousands of stories by Americans that, together, hope to answer the question: What does it really mean to be an American today? With millions of users coming to the site to explore stories submitted from people all over the country, PBS recently added to the prompt, “At this point in my life…” allowing people across the nation to share personal stories reflecting on how they see themselves, whatever their current phase of life might be.

GENERATION NATION will begin streaming October 26 on all station-branded PBS platforms, including PBS.org and the PBS Video App, available on iOS, Android, Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, YouTube TV and Chromecast.


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PBS LearningMedia will also provide teachers and students with educational materials focused on media and storytelling by pulling conceptualized clips from each episode of PBS AMERICAN PORTRAIT.

Please visit the PBS AMERICAN PORTRAIT website at www.pbs.org/americanportrait and follow the conversation at #AmericanPortraitPBS on FacebookTwitter and Instagram to view the thousands of stories already being submitted.

Target is a major funder and national promotional partner for PBS AMERICAN PORTRAIT, expanding the reach of this initiative. Additional funding is provided by Anne Ray Foundation, a Margaret A. Cargill Philanthropy.

PBS AMERICAN PORTRAIT was developed and created with RadicalMedia. For RadicalMedia, Jon Kamen and Dave Sirulnick serve as Executive Producers, and Naomi Gilbert is the Senior Interactive Producer for the web platform. Craig D’Entrone is Executive Producing for RadicalMedia and is showrunner on the project. Bill Margol is the Executive in Charge for PBS. For GENERATION NATION, RadicalMedia’s Jon Kamen and Dave Sirulnick serve as Executive Producers alongside Director and Executive Producer Craig D'Entrone. Michèle Stephenson is Series Producer.


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About PBS AMERICAN PORTRAIT

Launched on January 10, 2020, PBS AMERICAN PORTRAIT, a national storytelling project aligned with PBS’s 50th anniversary celebration, is the organization’s most ambitious multiplatform project in its history. A digital-first initiative produced by RadicalMedia, PBS AMERICAN PORTRAIT begins as a platform for user-generated content participation, and is envisioned to encompass publishing, short form content, classroom engagement, a web miniseries, public art installations, live events and, in January 2021, a nationally televised documentary series.  

Leveraging the local reach of PBS through its member stations, PBS AMERICAN PORTRAIT presents a mosaic of our country’s diversity by connecting tens of thousands of people across the country, creating a communal voice through individual stories of joy, hardship, triumphs and sorrow. 

Participants will be able to tell and share their own stories, and see the stories shared by a wide panorama of Americans, united by a series of prompts that will serve as conversation starters, including: “I was raised to believe…,” “The tradition I carry on is…,” “What keeps me up at night is…,” “When I step outside my door…” and “Most days I feel…,” among others like, “I never expected…,” added in response to COVID-19, “Now is the time…” added to encourage people to share their stories about race in light of the events of the past few months.

About PBS

PBS, with more than 330 member stations, offers all Americans the opportunity to explore new ideas and new worlds through television and digital content. Each month, PBS reaches over 120 million people through television and 26 million people online,

inviting them to experience the worlds of science, history, nature and public affairs; to hear diverse viewpoints; and to take front row seats to world-class drama and performances. PBS’s broad array of programs has been consistently honored by the industry’s most coveted award competitions. Teachers of children from pre-K through 12th grade turn to PBS for digital content and services that help bring classroom lessons to life. Decades of research confirms that PBS’s premier children’s media service, PBS KIDS, helps children build critical literacy, math, and social-emotional skills, enabling them to find success in school and life.

Delivered through member stations, PBS KIDS offers high-quality educational content on TV— including a 24/7 channel, online at pbskids.org, via an array of mobile apps and in communities across America. More information about PBS is available at www.pbs.org, one of the leading dot-org websites on the internet, or by following PBS on TwitterFacebook or through our apps for mobile and connected devices. Specific program information and updates for press are available at pbs.org/pressroom or by following PBS Pressroom on Twitter.

About RadicalMedia

RadicalMedia produces premium content across all media platforms. With offices in New York, Los Angeles, London, Berlin, and Shanghai, RadicalMedia is a global media and communications company that creates and produces television, feature films, commercials, live events, and interactive design. RadicalMedia is fluent in each and every discipline of storytelling, with accolades that include Oscar ®, Emmy ®, Peabody ® and Grammy ® Awards.

Noteworthy programming includes Netflix’s first original documentary film, the Oscar-nominated and Emmy-Winning What Happened, Miss Simone?; Academy-Award Winning The Fog of War; Paradise Lost; Hamilfilm for Disney+; Hamilton's America and In The Heights for PBS; History Channel’s number one miniseries of all time, GRANT; Black Woodstock, directed by Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson, Untitled Mental Health series with Oprah Winfrey and Prince Harry for Apple TV+, Jeffrey Epstein: Filthy Rich for Netflix; The multi-platform project; PBS’ American Portrait, National Geographic’s Activate: A Global Citizen Movement; and David Byrne’s American Utopia, directed by Spike Lee, coming to HBO later this fall. Check out the latest work on Instagram and atwww.radicalmedia.com

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