From Jarocho to LA Riots: PBS Documentaries You Should Stream for Hispanic Heritage Month

Lead Photo: 'Beyond La Bamba' film still. Courtesy of Latino Public Broadcasting
'Beyond La Bamba' film still. Courtesy of Latino Public Broadcasting
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Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15 – October 15) is coming up. And to celebrate, public television’s WORLD Channel will premiere six new films from Latino Public Broadcasting (LPB). Tackling everything from an United States filmmaker’s complex Bolivian heritage, Mexico’s ‘son jarocho’ musical tradition, the death of a journalist in Oaxaca, the 1992 L.A. riots, and immigrant carnival workers, these projects offer a welcome diverse string of stories worth telling and sharing.

Among these is Rick Tejada-Flores’ feature-length documentary, Mi Bolivia. In his 50s, yet wanting to trace his family lineage and learn more about his grandfather, who was President of Bolivia back in the day, the California-born documentary filmmaker sets off on a journey that forces him to grapple with a history of slavery, his grandfather’s role as President during the bloodiest war in Latin American history, the never-mentioned family member who administered the land reform that stripped the family of its estates, and even family connections with a Nazi war criminal.

The other full-length documentary that’ll air as part of this program is Jamie Sisley and Miguel M.i.G. Martinez’s Farewell Ferris Wheel. A probing, years-in-the-making exposé on the way the carnival industry in the U.S. legally employs Mexican migrant workers – which make up 80% of the carnival labor force in this country. Following a carnival owner, a labor recruiter, and two workers from Tlapacoyan, Veracruz, a small Mexican town that is home to nearly one third of all carnival laborers, this colorful doc puts a face on the ways changing labor markets have made the controversial H-2B visa a necessary aspect of keeping dying industries alive.

In addition, four half-hour films will also premiere. They’ll explore the Mexican tradition of ‘son jarocho’ music (Beyond La Bamba), the 1992 L.A. riots and the reporters of color at the Los Angeles Times that covered them (K-Town ’92 Reporters), the search for the truth behind a mysterious Old West legend (The Head of Joaquin Murrieta), and the tragic 2006 murder of American journalist Brad Will (Shot in Mexico). From timely flicks to fascinating tales, they’re must-sees.

Mi Bolivia premieres Sunday, October 8, 2017 and Farewell Ferris Wheel premieres Tuesday, October 10, 2017. Check WORLD for the other broadcast dates. The films will be available to stream in October on