PBS SoCal and KCET, Southern California's flagship PBS stations as well as the home for award-winning, original local content, announced today the debut of a multiplatform initiative in November timed around Veterans Day that will include editorial essays, on-air interstitials and a new slate of broadcast content.
The programming begins with today's premiere of the four-part PBS series AMERICAN VETERAN at 9 p.m. on PBS SoCal and will continue throughout the following four weeks, ending with the PBS SoCal Presenting Station program VOCES: "American Exile" on Tues., Nov. 16 at 10 p.m. on PBS SoCal and Sat., Nov. 20 at 10 p.m. on KCET.
AMERICAN VETERAN illuminates the veteran experience with a stunning range of voices from today and across the arc of American history. It traces the veteran experience through a broadcast series, podcast and digital shorts. Every voice featured is a veteran's voice. From the citizen-soldiers returning from the American Revolution to today's warrior class, they tell a deeply moving story, highlighting personal remembrances, drawing civilian viewers into an unfamiliar culture and highlighting the evolving relationship between Americans who have served in the military and those who have not. Told exclusively through veterans' voices, the docuseries presents their experiences in a four-part TV series, an eight-part podcast, and a 10-part digital series.
As part of Latino Public Broadcasting's (LPB) efforts to highlight the best of Latino arts, culture and history as well as shine a light on current issues and generational impacts that affect Latino Americans today, PBS SoCal is proud to present VOCES: "American Exile," the story of teenager Valente Valenzuela and his brother Manuel, who volunteered and were sent to fight in Vietnam. They came home decorated but also physically and psychologically scarred. Now, some 50 years later, they've received deportation notices. Filmed over seven years, the film is a deeply personal story about two men seeking justice for themselves and the thousands of others in their situation. The film's ending was re-edited when, on July 2, 2021, President Biden ordered the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to immediately create a process for deported veterans and their families to return home to the United States.
In celebration of Veteran's Day, Latino Public Broadcasting and PBS SoCal will co-host a virtual event to honor all those who have served in the United Stated Armed Forces. The event includes a discussion with the film's protagonist Valente Valenzuela and VOCES: "American Exile" director John J. Valadez as well as speakers from regional Southern California advocacy organizations like the President of the San Diego chapter of Veterans for Peace and the Former Operation Coordinator for the Deported Veterans Advocacy Project Jan Rhuman, with additional speakers to be announced at a later date. The virtual event will take place on Fri., Nov. 12 at 6 p.m. To register for the event and find out more details, please go to https://www.eventbrite.com/e/american-exile-virtual-screening-discussion-with-pbs-socal-tickets-190715524267.
The broadcast lineup will telecast as follows (subject to change):
AMERICAN VETERAN "The Crossing" – Tues., Oct. 26 at 9 p.m. PT on PBS SoCal and Sat., Oct. 30 at 9 p.m. PT on KCET
As recruits take the oath to serve, they leave the civilian world to become a soldier, sailor, marine, airman or woman. This is the start of their transformation. Narrated by TV host and former Marine Drew Carey.
AMERICAN VETERAN "The Mission" – Tues., Nov. 2 at 9 p.m. PT on PBS SoCal and Sat., Nov. 6 at 9 p.m. PT on KCET
Military life shapes service men and women in profound, unexpected ways. Veterans' stories showcase the raw impact of these experiences. Hosted by Senator Tammy Duckworth.
AMERICAN VETERAN "The Return" – Tues., Nov. 9 at 9 p.m. PT on PBS SoCal and Sat., Nov. 13 at 9 p.m. PT on KCET
Hollywood war stories seem to end with the hero's triumphant return, but in reality, the road back to civilian life is often less certain. Hosted by actor, Vietnam War veteran and Native American activist Wes Studi.
AMERICAN VETERAN "The Reckoning" – Tues., Nov. 16 at 9 p.m. PT on PBS SoCal and Sat., Nov. 20 at 9 p.m. PT on KCET
Veterans reflecting on their service ask how we — veterans and civilians together — can move America forward. Hosted by Army veteran, actor and motivational speaker J. R. Martinez.
VOCES: "American Exile" – Tues., Nov. 16 at 10 p.m. PT on PBS SoCal and Sat., Nov. 20 at 10 p.m. PT on KCET
Two Mexican American brothers — both decorated Vietnam veterans — find themselves facing deportation. Shocked and confused, the brothers soon learn they are not alone and that thousands of veterans are being deported because of misdemeanor offenses after completing their service in the armed forces. They don their uniforms for one last fight — to "leave no soldier behind" and bring the plight of deported veterans to the White House.
Encore airings of the above listed veterans programming from KCET and PBS SoCal will run throughout the entire month.
Additionally, a series of on-air interstitials have been filmed locally with Southern California Veterans at Heroes Hall in Costa Mesa listed as follows will air on PBS SoCal and KCET timed to the content mentioned above:
- Justice Eileen Moore (U.S. Army Vietnam Veteran): As a young combat nurse in Vietnam, Justice Moore experienced not only the trauma of war, but its aftermath on the men and women who were there. This prompted her to create programs in the courts to support them.
- Andrea Marr (U.S. Naval Academy/USS Nimitz CVAN-68): One of a small group of women at the Academy, Marr fought for her right to attend and went on to lead her team with honor. She now serves her city of Costa Mesa as a Councilmember.
- Nick Berardino (U.S. Marine Corps Vietnam Veteran): A machine gunner in the special landing forces, he witnessed many of the most brutal parts of the war. The founder of Heroes Hall, Berardino strives to teach the lesson that 'freedom isn't free.'
- Jose Antonio Guevera (U.S. Marine Corps): Although only a high school freshman during 9/11, that event spurred Jose to enlist in the Marines upon graduation. He was ultimately deployed to Iraq. Guevera understands and now supports veterans struggling with the transition to civilian life.
- Robert "Bobby" McDonald (U.S. Navy Vietnam Veteran): With three uncles and a father who were Buffalo Soldiers, McDonald grew up in a military atmosphere. He enlisted in the Navy and was stationed aboard the USS Tripoli LPH-10. Bobby tirelessly advocates for veterans on the local and national level.
Join the conversation on social media using #AmericanVeteran and #AmericanExile as well as #PBSSoCal and #KCET