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Storyville, the BBC’s award-winning strand showcasing the best in international documentaries, today announces a new slate of summer specials that will be shown from June, as well as three new commissions to be shown in the coming months, all on BBC Four and iPlayer.

Philippa Kowarsky, Commissioning Editor, Storyville, says: “We’re pleased to be bringing an exciting new range of international documentaries to UK audiences, including three powerful films this summer: a 36-minute wonder that asks us to consider what we would do in the face of an imminent nuclear attack; an insight into the lives of individuals experiencing gender transition; and a celebration of a sporting hero whose indelible legacy extends far beyond his success on the tennis court.

“Our upcoming new commissions show communities finding and using their voice; whether through Grime music among disenfranchised young people in the UK, challenging the ongoing legacy of slavery in a British overseas territory, or fighting injustice against indigenous people in Norway. We look forward to sharing these films in the coming months.”

Summer Specials:

On The Morning You Wake (To The End of The World)

On January 13, 2018 at 8.08am, an alert was issued to the 1.4 million citizens of Hawaii: “Ballistic missile threat inbound to Hawaii. Seek immediate shelter. This is not a drill.”

This visceral recreation charts the lived experiences of people who, for 38 minutes, had to make impossible decisions about what to do in the face of nuclear violence. The film, which is adapted from a Virtual Reality experience, raises important questions about our preparedness for nuclear war.

Into My Name / Nel Mio Nome

Nico is 33 years-old, Leo is 30, Andrea 25 and Raff 23: They come from different parts of Italy. They start their gender transition at different times in their lives. Day by day, they boldly face all the obstacles of a strictly binary world. To achieve a fulfilling and dignified life is a matter of survival. They need to be resolute, infinitely patient and can’t hope to get by without seeing the funny side of the whole matter.

Citizen Ashe

Citizen Ashe is the story of sports legend and social activist Arthur Ashe. Known to most by his stellar sports career - Wimbledon, US Open and Australian Open winner and the first black player to be selected for the US Davis Cup Team - this film uncovers Ashe’s personal evolution; how his activism grew and embraced not only the Civil Right movement and African-Americans but all oppressed peoples throughout the world. Ashe died of AIDS-related complications in 1993 and was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom the same year.

Upcoming films commissioned by Storyville (further titles to be announced):

8 Bar: The Evolution of Grime

Grime. They called it “young black kids’ punk rock” - A genre that radio stations wouldn’t play and records that labels didn’t sell. But Grime would not be stopped. With machine gun lyrics that shred eardrums and syncopated electronics that pound the chest like a sledgehammer, Grime was a product of social unrest, urban culture and disenfranchised youth colliding in the UK in the early 2000s. It didn’t just rouse a grassroots, underground audience, today Grime is surging in popularity all over the globe and widely influencing top music charts. This is the origin story of the genre’s roots.

A Story of Bones

As the Chief Environmental Officer for Saint Helena’s troubled £285m ($350m) airport project, Annina Van Neel learned of the island’s most terrible atrocity - an unmarked mass burial ground of an estimated 9,000 formerly enslaved Africans in Rupert’s Valley. It is one of the most significant traces of the transatlantic slave trade still on earth.

Haunted by this historical injustice, Annina now fights alongside renowned African American preservationist Peggy King Jorde and a group of disenfranchised islanders - many of them descendants of the formerly enslaved - for the proper memorialisation of these forgotten victims. The resistance they face exposes disturbing truths about the UK’s colonial past and present.

Beneath the Surface

A tip-off in 2014 enabled a group of journalists to gain access to silenced stories of abuse from indigenous Sámi women, men and children. Generations of negligence and suffering are investigated through recovered evidence and unseen archival footage. At court, the community stands up to Norwegian authorities, revealing racial sub-order and the meaning of generational trauma. What unfolds is a fight to break a cycle of racial subordination and injustice. One community’s struggles to achieve lasting change and a legacy of safety for future generations.

Further titles will be announced later in the year.


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