“New Muslim Cool,” world premiering at next month’s San Francisco International Film Festival, will kick off the 2009 season of the venerable PBS documentary series P.O.V., according to executive producer Simon Kilmurry.
“We’ve spent hundred of hours screening nearly 1,000 films, countless hours debating and arguing, and we’ve had to make some difficult choices along the way,” said Kilmurry on P.O.V.’s blog. “What’s emerged is a series of films by new and veteran filmmakers that have a number of things in common — great storytelling, compelling characters, and a group of films that look at the world through a very particular lens — one that you won’t see elsewhere.”
Jennifer Maytorena Taylor’s “New Muslim Cool” follows Puerto Rican-American rapper Hamza Pérez, who 12 years earlier had pulled himself out of drug dealing and become a Muslim. Now that he’s moved to Pittsburgh’s tough North Side to start a new religious community, rebuild his shattered family and take his message of faith to other young people through hard-hitting hip-hop music, he must confront the realities of the post-9/11 world, and himself. Taylor’s film takes viewers on Hamza’s ride through streets, slums and jail cells — following his spiritual journey to some surprising places in an America that never stops changing.
Following “New Muslim Cool,” the 22nd season of P.O.V. will include “Beyond Hatred” by Olivier Meyrou, “Life. Support. Music.” by Eric Daniel Metzgar, and “The Reckoning: The Battle for the International Criminal Court” by Pamela Yates, among many others, and a special January broadcast of “Patti Smith: Dream of Life,” by Steven Sebring. Visit the P.O.V. blog for the complete lineup, and tune in to NPT or your local PBS station in June for days and times.