Top Picks: Ken Burns's 'The Civil War,' a Horton Foote festival, a tax tracker, and more
Ken Burns's miniseries documentary 'The Civil War,' a Dallas festival dedicated to famed playwright and screenwriter Horton Foote, a mobile phone application to track your tax return, and more recommendations.
A human rights hero
"Pushing the Elephant" is the story of 2009 United Nations Humanitarian of the Year, Rose Mapendo, who escaped from the ethnic violence of the Democratic Republic of Congo and went on to help mend her divided country. Rose was separated from her 5-year-old daughter, Nagabire, but managed to escape with nine of her 10 children to resettle in Arizona. More than a decade later, mother and daughter are reunited and must come to terms with the past and build a new future. Airs on PBS Independent Lens March 29.
Horton Foote, writer of Oscar-winning screenplays "To Kill a Mockingbird" and "Tender Mercies" and the Pulitzer Prize-winning play "The Young Man From Atlanta," is being honored in the exhibit, "The Life and Work of Horton Foote," March 1 to May 1 ate Southern Methodist University's DeGolyer Library. It's part of a Dallas-wide Foote festival with arts organizations presenting his plays, screening film adaptations of his work, and presenting insights into his life through readings and other related events. See hortonfootefestival.com.
Civil War primer extraordinaire
The American Civil War began on April 12, 1861, when shots were fired on Fort Sumter, S.C. To mark the 150th anniversary of the outbreak of the fighting, PBS rebroadcasts the groundbreaking Ken Burns miniseries documentary, "The Civil War." The series will run for five days in a row beginning Sunday, April 3.
Saving ourselves and our planet
On March 30, PBS airs "Plan B: Mobilizing to Save Civilization," a new documentary about the pioneering environmentalist Lester Brown. Brown is the founder of the Earth Policy Institute and the creator of Plan B, a blueprint for solving many of the world's environmental problems. Brown explains how reducing greenhouse gases could also lower our income tax and create jobs. Hosted by actor Matt Damon.
Track your tax return from your smart phone. The free, official IRS2Go app keeps you up to date on when your check will arrive. Those who submitted their returns electronically should receive updates within 72 hours of filing. Paper returns take three to four weeks to show up. Available on iPhone and Android.
Join the adventure on National Geographic Channel as it launches "Expedition Week 2011" on April 3. For seven nights running, the 13 world premières take viewers around the world: Go on a trek deep into the rain forest in search of tribes practicing cannibalism; follow the trail of the abominable snowman; bring gladiators back from the dead using special forensics; visit a tiger man who has captured an amazing portrait of South African tigers as never seen before ... and more.