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At last, a TV showcase for independent films

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P.O.V.: `American Tongues' and `Acting Our Age' PBS, Tuesday, 9-11 p.m. (check local listings). ``American Tongues'' director/producer: Andrew Kolker and Louis Alvarez. ``Acting Our Age'' director/producer: Michal Aviad. Independent American filmmakers, who vociferously claim they are usually ignored by PBS, are being given a chance to showcase their work on a 10-week Tuesday series, ``P.O.V.'' (point of view). The premi`ere is an auspicious beginning.

Some of the country's finest independent directors will be presenting their personal perspectives in this series, unhindered by sponsors, underwriters, or TV executives. The auteur will reign supreme, with his or her unique statement reaching millions of viewers exactly as shot.

``American Tongues'' is a charming, amusing, and informative video, which focuses on language as proof of the continuing diversity of people and cultures in America. The filmmakers scour the countryside for vivid examples, as they investigate the importance of dialect and accent in social and employment status as well as in stereotyping. The philosophical observations go no deeper than: ``What sounds odd to one person is music to the ears of another.'' But the videomakers present their examples with perceptive humor. Especially amusing are the samples of regional TV commercials that use regional dialects. Even the final credits are original: They are read by people with widely diverse regional accents.

``Acting Our Age'' reflects director/producer Michal Aviad's personal vision of the need for older women to take charge of their lives. Through the experience of six subjects, Aviad portrays a wide range of paths to mature fulfillment. The result is a marvelous electronic scrapbook of women who are willing to share their pain and glory for the enlightenment of their over-65 contemporaries. According to ``P.O.V.'' executive producer Marc Weiss, more than 500 films were submitted for the series, and the final selection of 12 was made by a panel of stations and producers. The National Coalition of Independent Public Broadcasting Producers has proposed a new program service, that would be funded by PBS or the National Endowment for the Arts and would underwrite the production, acquisition, promotion, and distribution of programs by independent film and video makers.

Meantime, future segments of ``P.O.V.'' include an Oscar winner about one-man's war in Nicaragua; the winner of a student Emmy about how a community reacts with compassion to AIDS victims; and an Academy Award winner about a retarded man who adapts to an independent life.

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