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Generation Nation: A PBS American Portrait Story

Stream or tune in Monday, Oct. 26, 2020 at 9:30 p.m. on KPBS TV

After six months without seeing her friends, Arwyn misses being around people...

Credit: Courtesy of PBS/RadicalMedia/Arywn

Above: After six months without seeing her friends, Arwyn misses being around people her own age and tries to contend with returning to online school.

“Generation Nation: A PBS American Portrait Story” explores how people in different age groups, from adolescents to seniors, see themselves and their place in America.

It reveals the common experiences that bind people together within and across age groups and the generational differences that can put us at odds with one another.

Like the preceding PBS AMERICAN PORTRAIT specials, “Generation Nation” will blend collages of various stories from across the country with a focus on three main stories filmed and told firsthand.

Generation Nation: A PBS American Portrait Story | Preview

Explore how people in different age groups see themselves and their place in the America. Through self-shot video, they share common experiences that bind age groups together and generational differences that put them at odds with one another. Airing: 10/26/20

The featured participants are:

Arwyn H. is a 15-year-old rising sophomore in Austin, Texas. She is an enthusiastic, straight-A student who considers school her “happy place.” Her positive outlook on school changed in March, when the pandemic forced an abrupt shift to online education, depriving her of the camaraderie, support and focused academic lifestyle in which she thrived. As the new school year approaches, Arwyn is preparing her home space and her mind for school in a way she has never experienced. 

A High Schooler Shares Her Experience With Online School

Arwyn is about to start her sophomore year of high school amidst the pandemic. She is determined to get a sense of normalcy back into her teenage life while attending school online. Airing: 10/26/20

Kat P. is a 51-year-old woman in Philadelphia. She has enjoyed a happy and purposeful career in the service industry, and has spent the last decade as a popular local bartender and hotel housekeeper. In March, Kat was furloughed from her hotel job and laid off from her bartending job. Now, she is adjusting to middle age while trying to figure out how best to support her two children, one of whom is autistic. 

A Mom Makes Sacrifices After Facing Unemployment

Kat, like many middle-aged Americans, has the responsibility of providing for her children. However, Kat, a bartender and housekeeper, lost both of her jobs at the start of the pandemic. Now she must figure out how to pay the mortgage and her health insurance, keep food on the table and provide for her household, including her autistic son. Airing: 10/26/20

Marna C. has dreamed of being a professional photographic artist for most of her life, but family and financial responsibilities got in the way. Living in Inverness, California, she managed to finally take the time to develop as an artist and has embraced digital photography. As she reaches her golden years, her creative voice aims to capture the beauty of the aging process in herself and in those around her. This year, Marna turns 80 and is determined to finally receive the validation for her work that she’s craved all her life.

A Photographer Tries Fulfilling A Lifelong Dream

Marna put a lot of her dreams on hold early in life to raise a family, but the older she gets, the more passionate she becomes about her photography career. With her 80th birthday approaching, Marna has never been more motivated to reach her life-long goal of getting her work published. Airing: 10/26/20

Watch On Your Schedule:

The show will begin streaming October 26 on all station-branded PBS platforms, including and the PBS Video App, available on iOS, Android, Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, YouTube TV and Chromecast.

More About The Project:

Since it was launched in early January 2020, the PBS AMERICAN PORTRAIT website has collected thousands of stories by Americans that, together, hope to answer the question: What does it really mean to be an American today?

With millions of users coming to the site to explore the thousands of stories submitted from people all over America, PBS recently added to the site two new prompts — “Family looks like…” and “At this point in my life…” — allowing people across the country to share personal stories about the topics explored in the two specials.

PBS American Portrait is on Facebook and Instagram. Follow @PortraitPBS on Twitter. #AmericanPortraitPBS

Photo credit: Courtesy of PBS/RadicalMedia

PBS AMERICAN PORTRAIT "Generation Nation" photo montage.


Produced by PBS and RadicalMedia


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