A police officer is free on bond after being arrested following a rash of road-sign thefts in southeast Alabama.  Brantley Police Chief Titus Averett says officer Jeremy Ray Walker of Glenwood is on paid leave following his arrest in Pike County.  The 30-year-old Walker is charged with receiving stolen property.  Lt. Troy Johnson of the Pike County Sheriff's Office says an investigation began after someone reported that Walker was selling road signs from Crenshaw County.  Investigators contacted the county engineer and learned signs had been reported stolen from several roads.

NPR Politics presents the Lunchbox List: our favorite campaign news and stories curated from NPR and around the Web in digestible bites (100 words or less!). Look for it every weekday afternoon from now until the conventions.

Convention Countdown

The Republican National Convention is in 4 days in Cleveland.

The Democratic National Convention is in 11 days in Philadelphia.

NASA has released the first picture of Jupiter taken since the Juno spacecraft went into orbit around the planet on July 4.

The picture was taken on July 10. Juno was 2.7 million miles from Jupiter at the time. The color image shows some of the atmospheric features of the planet, including the giant red spot. You can also see three of Jupiter's moons in the picture: Io, Europa and Ganymede.

The Senate is set to approve a bill intended to change the way police and health care workers treat people struggling with opioid addictions.

My husband and I once took great pleasure in preparing meals from scratch. We made pizza dough and sauce. We baked bread. We churned ice cream.

Then we became parents.

Now there are some weeks when pre-chopped veggies and a rotisserie chicken are the only things between us and five nights of Chipotle.

Parents are busy. For some of us, figuring out how to get dinner on the table is a daily struggle. So I reached out to food experts, parents and nutritionists for help. Here is some of their (and my) best advice for making weeknight meals happen.

"O Canada," the national anthem of our neighbors up north, comes in two official versions — English and French. They share a melody, but differ in meaning.

Let the record show: neither version of those lyrics contains the phrase "all lives matter."

But at the 2016 All-Star Game, the song got an unexpected edit.

At Petco Park in San Diego, one member of the Canadian singing group The Tenors — by himself, according to the other members of the group — revised the anthem.

School's out, and a lot of parents are getting through the long summer days with extra helpings of digital devices.

How should we feel about that?

Police in Baton Rouge say they have arrested three people who stole guns with the goal of killing police officers. They are still looking for a fourth suspect in the alleged plot, NPR's Greg Allen reports.

"Police say the thefts were at a Baton Rouge pawn shop early Saturday morning," Greg says. "One person was arrested at the scene. Since then, two others have been arrested and six of the eight stolen handguns have been recovered. Police are still looking for one other man."

A 13-year-old boy is among those arrested, Greg says.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

After an international tribunal invalidated Beijing's claims to the South China Sea, Chinese authorities have declared in no uncertain terms that they will be ignoring the ruling.

The Philippines brought the case to the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague, objecting to China's claims to maritime rights in the disputed waters. The tribunal agreed that China had no legal authority to claim the waters and was infringing on the sovereign rights of the Philippines.

Pages

Two 'Genius Grants' For Women Experimenting With Documentary Film

Oct 5, 2012

Emma Miller is a digital arts intern at NPR.org and was also an intern in the summer of 2012 in the digital department of PBS' POV series, where she became familiar with two documentaries whose directors recently received "genius grants" from the MacArthur Foundation. She has these thoughts.

The 23 recipients of the 2012 MacArthur Foundation "genius grants" were announced this week. These awards provide a cool half-million dollars to individuals who have shown "extraordinary originality and dedication in their creative pursuits and a marked capacity for self-direction." No strings are attached to the money, except, you know, you're expected to keep being incredibly accomplished and talented and brilliant.

Pulitzer winner Junot Diaz is among the recipients this year, as is Washington Post editor David Finkel. But 2012 has the distinction of being the first time that not one but two documentary filmmakers have won the "genius" title: Natalia Almada and Laura Poitras both rank among the honorees.

Documentarians have won the MacArthur before. Legendary filmmaker Frederick Wiseman, pioneer of the cinema verite style, won back in 1982, and John H. Else, producer of the heart-wrenching civil-rights series Eyes on the Prize, won in 1988.

But Almada and Poitras are both women, they're both alumni of the PBS documentary show POV, and they're both finding new ways to address social issues through the documentary medium. Their films have powerful messages, but they're devoid of talking heads, and they frequently blur the line between documentary and art. The fact that these boundary-pushers both won MacArthurs this year says something telling about the changing face and increasing importance of documentaries. In a media landscape where reductive sound bites and commercial interests rule, unconventional nonfiction storytellers play an enhanced role.

Almada's latest film premiered on POV on September 27. El Velador is a haunting portrait of Martin, a man who guards the mausoleums where some of Mexico's most notorious druglords are buried. As the sun sets each night, Martin arrives at the cemetery to watch over the decadent crypts with their marble floors and mosque-like facades. When the sun rises, beautiful young widows arrive with children in tow to tend their late husbands' tombs.

With the exception of radio bulletins chronicling daily death tolls, almost no one speaks in the film. Instead, Almada lingers on quiet moments and repeated gestures — a woman sweeping the floor of her husband's mausoleum, a man watering the dusty ground, a child playing hopscotch. We're left with an eerie feeling of anticipation, of claustrophobia and ritual. There's no acknowledgment that the crypts crowding the cemetery are all deadly evidence of a raging drug war — nor is violence of any kind depicted — but none is needed. By the end of the film, the gravity of a drug war that has claimed more than 50,000 lives resonates strongly.

This approach is atypical of documentaries, where emphasis is often placed on allowing subjects to give testimony — or where filmmakers make themselves players in the story through voice-of-God first-person narration (think Werner Herzog's Grizzly Man). In El Velador, Almada veers away from these conventions.

"We think if someone tells us about their lives, that's how we're going to know what their situation is, and that's how we're going to care about them," she told POV. "Once you realize that language is not reliable and that people can't really speak freely, then you have to focus on gestures and actions as a way to enter into someone's life."

Poitras, who is best known for her documentary trilogy about the post-September 11 war on terrorism, also has a novel style. She tackles broad, complex issues through an intimate study of unusual individuals — what she calls a "micro-macro" approach. Part one of her trilogy, My Country, My Country, focused on Dr. Riyadh, a Sunni physician who ran for office during Iraq's first democratic election. Part two, The Oath, centered on Abu Jandal, a chatty Afghani cab driver and former bodyguard for Osama bin Laden. The as-yet untitled third part will focus on the war on terrorism at home.

But Poitras uses techniques usually reserved for fiction: unexpected plot twists, jumpy chronology and, in the case of The Oath, an unreliable antihero as narrator and protagonist.

The results of these approaches are artistic, lyrical films, films that are suited for both mainstream and art-house cinema, but that still unpack important social issues. That's a good thing. Because as the documentary world continues to grow in influence and visibility (thank you, online streaming), filmmakers like Almada and Poitras who are experimenting with the medium in original ways can build on that momentum.

Right now, "there is a unique sense of community and artistic excitement among nonfiction filmmakers," Poitras says. "There is a feeling we are building something together — new ways of storytelling and seeing the world — that is bigger than any one film or filmmaker."

The MacArthur Foundation agrees.

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.