Winner 2003

POV: Flag Wars

P.O.V./American Documentary, Inc., Independent Television Service (ITVS), National Black Programming Consortium (NBPC), Zula Pearl Films

As Flag Wars so powerfully demonstrates, the course of gentrification in the United States is rarely without a human cost, compounded in this instance by historical racial and economic divisions. In Columbus, Ohio’s Olde Towne East district, bitter ironies abound as two historically oppressed groups—blacks and gays—find themselves in unequal competition for the same real estate. Flag Wars producers/directors Linda Goode Bryant and Laura Poitras offer us a candid, unvarnished portrait of privilege, poverty, and local politics. Shot over a four-year period, this poignant documentary paints a vivid picture of two historically marginalized groups. Black residents, working-class or poor, and often elderly, fight to hold on to their homes and heritage while realtors and gay home-buyers attempt to move in. The inevitable clashes expose prejudice and self-interest on both sides, as gay pride flags and black nationalist flags flown from homes become the outward manifestation of the conflict. P.O.V. and ITVS, through the efforts of executive producers Cara Mertes and Sally Jo Fifer, brought Flag Wars to a national audience. For providing viewers with an intimate glimpse into the lives of people on both sides of the Olde Towne fault line, a Peabody Awards goes to Flag Wars.