U.Va. Center Co-Sponsors New PBS Documentary Examining the Case for Constitutional Reform

September 12, 2008 — The U.S. Constitution is the foundation of our democracy and the gold standard for fledgling democracies around the world. Yet many Americans have never read the document. What exactly does it say? Is it still functional after more than 200 years?

"Questioning the Constitution," a new one-hour documentary produced by the Community Idea Stations in partnership with the University of Virginia's Center for Politics, looks at the development of the Constitution, how it has been interpreted over the years and the arguments for and against constitutional reform.

Award-winning producer and director Mason Mills ("Wilder: An American First") explores expert opinions through interviews with notable political leaders, scholars and historians, including Sen. John Warner, NAACP Chairman Julian Bond and Dr. Larry J. Sabato, a U.Va. politics professor and director of the Center for Politics. These interviews are combined with archival imagery and analysis to provide viewers with a renewed understanding of the Constitution, allowing them to draw their own conclusion on the issue of reform.

"Questioning the Constitution" will premiere in Charlottesville Sept. 17 — Constitution Day — as part of a free public event at the Charlottesville Pavilion. The event is made possible through a partnership among the Thomas Jefferson Center for the Protection of Free Expression, U.Va. Center for Politics and WHTJ Charlottesville PBS, one of the Community Idea Stations.

There will be two screenings. The first, at 11 a.m., is sponsored by the U.Va. Center for Politics' Youth Leadership Initiative and will welcome an audience of local students in addition to the public. The second screening is at 7 p.m. Both screenings are free and open to the public.

"Questioning the Constitution" will also air on WHTJ Charlottesville PBS Sept. 22 at 8 p.m., and on many public television stations throughout the country this fall.

WHTJ Charlottesville PBS, whose studio and offices are located on Charlottesville's Downtown Mall, is the PBS member station licensed by the Federal Communications Commission to serve Charlottesville and the surrounding counties. WHTJ can be seen on cable channels 200, 201 and 220 and on digital channels 41.1, 41.2 and 41.3. WHTJ is Charlottesville's Community Idea Station, using the power of media to educate, entertain and inspire.