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FROM THIS EPISODE

Lacey Schwartz grew up thinking she was white. When her college labeled her a black student based on a photograph, she knew she had to get some explanations from her family. Those conversations formed the foundation of her new PBS documentary Little White Lie. She shares how she convinced her parents to talk about tough topics on camera and why documentaries like hers are in danger of being pushed out of primetime on some PBS stations.

Photo: Young Lacey and her parents, Robert and Peggy

Producers:
Kaitlin Parker

Hollywood News Banter 6 MIN, 37 SEC

TV Guide magazine executive editor Michael Schneider joins Kim Masters to discuss top entertainment news stories of the week.

- The Weinstein Company is in talks to sell their TV division to British broadcaster ITV to the tune of $950 million. What are they planning to do with all that cash?

- In other studio news, Relativity Media has secured $250 million in financing from VII Peaks Capital. Last year, the studio released eight films, none of which made waves at the box office. Is all this new cash to help with a possible IPO?

Things aren't great at the mass media company Viacom. The company had to take a $785 million write-down as its cable networks like Nickelodeon and MTV continue to under-perform. Part of the problem is viewers are now streaming old shows on Netflix instead of watching reruns on TV.

Furious 7 has already made more than $500 million globally. Will there be an eighth film? Yes, without question.

'Little White Lie' 20 MIN, 49 SEC

Growing up, Jewish filmmaker Lacey Schwartz was told by her family that she had dark skin because she took after her Sicilian great-grandfather. The truth was not so simple: the man Schwartz had always known as "daddy" was not her biological father; her mother's black lover was.

Schwartz documents the discovery of her racial identity and unveiling of a big family secret in her new film, Little White Lie. The film recently aired on PBS.

When we sat down with Schwartz, she shared how she convinced her family to take part in the film, and how her relationship with her parents has evolved as the film has garnered more attention, including an article in the New York Times.

Little White Lie, is the first film for Schwartz, whose interest in filmmaking started while she was studying law. At first, she thought she'd like to be an entertainment lawyer, but came to realize there were topics surrounding her experience as seeing the world through the eyes of both a white woman and a black woman she wanted to explore, and the best way to do that could be through film.


Photo by Michael Hill

Schwartz's documentary has played at many film festivals, and had its national television debut on the PBS show Independent Lens. But now, small, independent films like Schwartz's are in danger of being pushed out of primetime as big PBS stations like WNET in New York chase higher ratings.

In a recent New York Times op-ed, Norman Lear asked if PBS is neglecting its public mission by downgrading docs.  He pointed out that these films provide a forum for minority filmmakers and feature diverse characters, attracting more black viewers than other PBS programs.

Schwartz stands with other filmmakers in hoping POV and Independent Lens keep their primetime slot on WNET. A decision is expected to be announced in May, but in the meantime, Schwartz says viewers need to let their PBS stations know what they'd like to see.

Guests:
Lucey Schwartz, documentary filmmaker (@laceyschwartz)

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