About This Program
The American South – its history, people, culture, and landscape are infused with a sense of heritage like no place else in the country – or the world.
Reel South is an anthology series that highlights the masterful, provocative Southern tradition of storytelling, exploring the alluring and complicated region and its diverse voices and points of view. A collaboration between UNC-TV and SCETV, and the Southern Documentary Fund, the series showcases documentary films about one of the most unique corners of the country, the American South.
Funding provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.
Episodes from Season 2
Reel South: Soul City
The story of a group of civil rights activists who attempted to build a multiracial utopia — Soul City — in the heart of North Carolina’s Klan country during the 1970s. Despite the odds stacked against them, founder Floyd B. McKissick and his band of idealists risked it all to build the city of their dreams.
Reel South: Eat White Dirt
Discover the oddly spellbinding personal, cultural and scientific history of the deeply transgressive and often misunderstood practice of consuming earth known as geophagy. The film collects and combines the experiences, processes and explanations of people who eat white dirt with information from the scientists who study the phenomenon.
Reel South: Deep Run
Exiled by family and rejected by an ex, 17-year-old Jasmine finds new love and the courage to become Cole, a strong-willed transgender man, in this powerful verité portrait of trans life in rural North Carolina. Cole’s candid humor and steadfast Christian beliefs counter the bigotry he experiences daily.
Reel South: Overburden
Meet two unforgettable women — a fiery, pro-coal right-winger and a tenacious, environmentalist grandmother — whose lives collide when a mine disaster shatters their community. The pair’s courageous story underscores the need for reconciliation as they take on a rogue industry to help heal their Appalachian Mountain community.
Reel South: The State of Eugenics
Between 1933 and 1974, North Carolina ran one of the most aggressive eugenics programs, sterilizing more than 7,600 men, women and children. This film follows the journey of survivors, legislators and journalists who insist the state confront its role in the tragic, forced sterilization of Americans thought to have “undesirable” genetics.
Reel South: The Exceptionally Extraordinary Emporium
The colorful characters carrying on a Mardi Gras tradition as they gather at the epicenter of costuming — the Jefferson Variety fabric and craft store. The film highlights the creative and personal expression linked in the identity and narrative of New Orleans, and provides a deeper look into the significance of costuming and carnival.
Reel South: The Last Barn Dance
A story about farming, fragility and a fight to save the family business. Randy Lewis struggles to save his North Carolina dairy farm, where dozens of dairies have disappeared. He also hosts one of the only old-time barn dances in the region, keeping the tradition alive and the community that loves it. From the series Reel South.
Reel South: 120 Days
Due to his immigration status, family man Miguel Cortes must make a tough choice. After an unexpected traffic stop, a North Carolina judge has offered Miguel 120 days to get his affairs in order and self-deport to Mexico - leaving his wife and two daughters behind. Will he leave for Mexico or disappear into the shadows in his adopted homeland?
Reel South: Private Violence
With at least four women murdered each day by abusive (and often, ex) partners, a woman in America is most in danger in her own home. Witness the realities of intimate partner violence through the eyes of two survivors: Deanna Walters, a mother seeking justice for her estranged husband’s crimes against her, and victims’ advocate Kit Gruelle.
Reel South: Red Wolf Revival
Three decades ago, the nearly extinct red wolf was reintroduced in North Carolina. While this flagship conservation effort paved the way for reintroducing several other species across the country, today fewer than 100 wild red wolves remain - and their fate hinges on significant biological, political, cultural and economic challenges.
Reel South: An Enduring Legacy
Little known even in their home state, the Croatians of Lower Plaquemines Parish have used grit and determination to build an oystering industry that has made Louisiana famous. Follow the lives of four people who embody the 150-year Croatian experience in Louisiana and share in the history of this unique tight-knit community.
Reel South: Shake 'Em On Down - The Blues According to Fred McDowell
Delight in the story of Mississippi sharecropper Fred McDowell, the godfather of the North Mississippi style of blues, who was first recorded by Alan Lomax in 1959, traveled to Europe with the Rolling Stones in the mid-'60s, mentored Bonnie Raitt, and influenced the music of RL Burnside, Taj Mahal, the North Mississippi All Stars and many others.