Latino Documentaries You Can Stream During PBS’ Massive Anniversary Marathon

Lead Photo: Photo credit: Daniel Hernández-Salazar. Courtesy of the filmmakers.
Photo credit: Daniel Hernández-Salazar. Courtesy of the filmmakers.
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Do you already have plans for New Year’s Eve? Do they include staying at home and watching socially conscious documentaries? Because maybe they should. To cap off a year celebrating its 30th anniversary, PBS television series POV is hosting an all-day documentary marathon showcasing some of the best projects they’ve aired over the decades. The binge-worthy 24-hour event will begin broadcasting on the WORLD Channel at 10 p.m. on Saturday, December 31, kicking off with the three-time Emmy-nominated American Promise, which received a top prize at the Sundance Film Festival in 2013.

“Given our extraordinary collection of films, we thought there was no better way of celebrating 30 years of groundbreaking documentaries than bringing them to the public through broadcast and streaming,” said Eliza Licht, vice president of content strategy and engagement. “These films showcase the rich diversity of topics, subjects and filmmakers that have graced our screens since 1988. Neither this marathon nor our past 30 seasons would have been possible without the work of our talented filmmakers.” Closing out the broadcast will be the television premiere of Pamela Yates’ powerful doc on indigenous resistance in contemporary Guatemala, 500 Years

For those curious, in addition to featuring projects on Hawaiian hula culture, trans parents, and the struggles of Native Americans, the series includes a number of Latino films. From a doc on the corrido music tradition in the U.S.-Mexico border to a look at the American dream in a Dominican family, these projects remain as timely as ever. And don’t worry if you miss on the broadcast marathon as POV is making 30 of its documentaries available for streaming for a full 30 days beginning on January 1.

Made in L.A.

Almudena Carracedo

Made in L.A. airs January 1 at 4 a.m. and will available for streaming beginning January 1, 2018.

Follow the remarkable story of three Latina immigrants working in Los Angeles sweatshops as they embark on a three-year odyssey to win basic labor protections from a trendy clothing retailer. In intimate verité style, Made in L.A. reveals the impact of the struggle on each woman’s life as they are gradually transformed by the experience. Compelling, humorous, deeply human, Made in L.A. is a story about immigration, the power of unity and the courage it takes to find your voice.

United States
Robert Bahar, Almudena Carracedo, Lisa Leeman
Robert Bahar, Almudena Carracedo

Al Otro Lado: To the Other Side

Natalia Almada

Al Otro Lado: To The Other Side airs January 1 at 5 a.m. and will available for streaming beginning January 1, 2018.


The proud Mexican tradition of corrido music—captured in the performances of Mexican band Los Tigres del Norte and the late Chalino Sanchez—provides both heartbeat and backbone to this rich examination of songs, drugs and dreams along the U.S.-Mexico border. Al Otro Lado follows Magdiel, an aspiring corrido composer from the drug capital of Mexico, as he faces two difficult choices to better his life: to traffic drugs or to cross the border illegally into the United States.

Mexico, United States
Tommaso Fiacchino, Natalia Almada

My American Girls: A Dominican Story

Aaron Matthews

My American Girls airs January 1 at 2 p.m. and will available for streaming beginning January 1, 2018.

In vivid vérité detail, My American Girls: A Dominican Story captures the joys and struggles over a year in the lives of the Ortiz family, first generation immigrants from the Dominican Republic. Matthews’ film captures the rewards—and costs—of pursuing the American dream. From hard-working parents, who imagine retiring to their rural homeland, to fast-tracking American-born daughters, caught between their parent’s values and their own, the film encompasses the contradictions of contemporary immigrant life.

Dominican Republic
Aaron Matthews

500 Years

Pamela Yates

500 Years airs January 1 at 8 p.m. and January 2 at 12 a.m.

The third film in a trilogy about Guatemala, this installment explores the sweeping historical significance of the war crimes trial of General Ríos Montt and the toppling of corrupt president Otto Pérez Molina. Pamela Yates gracefully engages the indigenous Mayan population who experienced genocide at the hands of a long-standing repressive government. Silenced family members and eyewitnesses come forward to share their individual stories with the desire that their underreported, horrific treatment receive the attention it deserves. Spoken in Spanish and native Mayan languages, 500 Years delicately weaves archival footage with new interviews and emotional courtroom scenes to shine light on a growing movement to fend off the systematic aggression toward an underrepresented people. Focusing on the recent events of a country that has suffered for generations at the hands of a ruling elite, the film hails the nation’s citizens banding together on a quest for justice – and emerging as a beacon of hope.

United States
Paco de Onis


Pamela Yates

Granito will be available for streaming beginning January 1, 2018.

Focusing on how the armed conflict that unfolded in Guatemala in the 1980s affected the country’s indigenous population, this documentary aims to revisit the memories of the genocide perpetrated under the “scorched earth” military campaigns in order to seek justice. Five central characters provide diverse perspectives into the events that resulted in the deaths of 200,000 Maya people, including 45,000 disappeared, and that indelibly marked their homeland’s past, present, and future.  

Synopsis By: Carlos Aguilar
Guatemala, Spain, United States
Paco de Onis