About This Program
The American South is like no place else in the country. Its people, culture, landscape and history can both captivate and bewilder. In the cherished tradition of Southern storytelling, Reel South reveals the South's proud yet complicated heritage, as told by a diversity of voices and perspectives.
This public-television series showcases authentic documentary films (feature length and shorts) that reckon with the South's past, present, and future. Join us on a journey through the Reel South.
Hosted by Grammy-winning recording artist Darius Rucker, the third season of Reel South features ten documentaries highlighting Southerners' passion and perseverance in an age of emboldened civic engagement: from a comedian-turned-mayoral candidate agitating for disability rights to gay families fighting for equality to New Orleans' reckoning with its Confederate monuments. Bookending the lineup are two raucous tales rooted in authentic Southern music.
Reel South is a collaboration between UNC-TV and SCETV.
Episodes from Season 3
Reel South: Gip
In 1952, gravedigger by day and bluesman by night Henry ‘Gip’ Gipson opened a ramshackle backyard juke joint in Alabama. Once scattered across the rural South, juke joints have become relics of the past. In the Spring of 2013, Gip’s Place, the last juke joint in Alabama, was raided and ordered to shut down. Gip follows the battle to keep the blues alive.
Reel South: Alabama Bound
In the months leading up to the Supreme Court decision on marriage equality, gay families in Alabama were fighting discriminatory state laws. Alabama Bound chronicles the roller-coaster ride for gay rights in the South, and a community that lives with frustration and hope in a place where the line between church and state is often blurred.
Reel South: First Lady of the Revolution
Henrietta Boggs finds her way to Central America in the 1940s, in search of adventure. Instead, she is swept up in political upheaval, when her new husband is elected president of Costa Rica. First Lady of the Revolution portrays a courageous woman who escaped the confines of a sheltered existence to help nurture a young democracy.
Reel South: Divided City
Monuments to the Confederacy permeate the American South. In 2015, the New Orleans city council convenes a public debate over the fate of its Confederate statues. As the council prepares to vote, Divided City reveals deep divisions about the history and symbolism of the monuments, and their place in the public space and in the South.
Reel South: Jonah Stands Up
Jonah Bascle was an unconventional mayoral candidate, even by New Orleans standards: artist, comedian, disability-rights activist. Born with muscular dystrophy, Jonah raced against mortality throughout his twenties. With humor & political action, Jonah Stands Up challenges stereotypes associated with differently-abled individuals in New Orleans.
Reel South: 120 Days
After an unexpected traffic stop, family man Miguel Cortes faces an agonizing decision. Due to his immigration status, a North Carolina judge has offered Miguel 120 Days to get his affairs in order and self-deport to Mexico. Will Miguel return to Mexico, leaving his wife and two daughters behind, or disappear into the shadows of his adopted homeland?
Reel South: 62 Days
Marlise Muñoz was 14 weeks pregnant when she suffered a pulmonary embolism and pronounced brain-dead. Due to a Texas law, she was forced to stay on life support against her wishes. 62 Days follows the Muñoz family’s journey from tragedy to activism as they fight to change this law, revealing the human toll behind a political trend.
Reel South: Driven Blind
Dan Parker, a world champion drag racer, struggles to adjust to his new reality after he is blinded in a fiery racing accident. Though visually impaired, Dan has not given up his love of working with his hands, or his love of racing. Driven Blind follows Dan’s single-minded quest to find meaningful work and to get back behind the wheel.
Reel South: See The Keepers
See the Keepers gets up close and personal with big cats, penguins, snakes, Komodo dragons, and their human caretakers at the Memphis Zoo. When Kofi the giraffe faces an uncertain future, the film bears witness to the complexity of caring for animals in captivity, and the love and fortitude of the keepers that care for them.
Reel South: Honky Tonk Heaven
Honky Tonk Heaven is a toe-tapping tour of this legendary Texas dancehall. With fifty years under its belt, the Broken Spoke has endured Austin’s rapid growth and skyrocketing rents. Beyond the story of its illustrious history and celebrated performers, the Spoke is a treasured family business that has survived against the odds.