ITVS Snags Four Peabody Awards!

Administered by the University of Georgia’s Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication, the George Foster Peabody Award is one of the most prestigious honors in electronic media.

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Independent Lens programs The House I Live InHow to Survive a Plague, and The Invisible War, in addition to the ITVS-funded Latino Americans series, were among the films honored with a Peabody Award this year.

Congratulations to the filmmakers on this incredible achievement! This brings the total of Peabody awards for ITVS films to 29. Continue reading

Celebrate Women’s History Month with #SheDocs!

March kicks off the second annual #SheDocs, an online film festival showcasing 12 documentaries highlighting extraordinary women and their accomplishments in celebration of International Women’s Day and Women’s History Month. The festival is presented by ITVS’s Women and Girls Lead campaign and sponsored by Eileen Fisher, Inc.

Female protagonists in film are few and far between. According to the Annenberg Public Policy Center, women have been consistently underrepresented as main characters for at least six decades. In 2013, females accounted for only 33% of all characters in the top 100 grossing films and only 11% featured women in leadership positions.

Women and Girls Lead is proud to combat these gender stereotypes and misrepresentations with the second annual #SheDocs online film festival, a collection of 12 documentaries highlighting extraordinary women working to close the gender gap and fight inequality. This month-long, free event presents films by prominent independent filmmakers and shines a spotlight on women who are working to transform their lives, their communities, and the world. Continue reading

Your Open Call Questions Answered

ITVS Programming Managers N’Jeri Eaton and Jorge Trelles hosted an informative live chat on Wednesday to answer any questions for the Open Call funding initiative.

ITVS will be accepting applications through Friday, January 17th. While the chat has come and gone, check out the archived conversation for helpful submission tips and insights!

For more information about ITVS funding initiatives, please click here.

Tips & Tools for Open Call Applications

In response to the growing demand for submission resources, the ITVS Programming Department hosted two informational webinars for filmmakers submitting for Open Call funding.

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Throughout the year, hopeful applicants have a tendency to bombard the ITVS Programming Department with questions regarding their submissions to various funding initiatives. This year, Programming Manager N’Jeri Eaton hosted two webinars offering insight on the process and firsthand advice for filmmakers for their treatments and work samples.

The first webinar was devoted to the art of treatment writing, where Eaton was joined by ITVS-funded filmmakers Christine Turner (Homegoings) and Llew Smith (Denial: An American Dilemma).  The filmmakers shared excerpts from their treatments and answered questions from the webinar participants.  You can watch the full webinar below:

Treatment Writing Webinar 12-9-13-vimeo from ITVS_VIDEO on Vimeo.

Next, ITVS hosted an OVEE screening featuring three 10-minute work samples that had been recently funded by ITVS: Samantha Grant’s A Fragile Trust, Juli Vizza’s Nine to Ninety, and Jamie Meltzer’s Freedom Fighters.  Due to clearance rights issues, we are unable to post the work samples, but you can read a transcript of the informative chat here.

And, as an extra bonus, we have a revised edition of our guide to Writing an ITVS Treatment. Continue reading

ITVS Celebrates Native American Heritage Month

ITVS and PBS offer viewers the opportunity to explore the rich and vibrant history and cultural contributions of Native Americans throughout the year, but this November offers a special slate of new and encore programs in honor of Native American Heritage Month.

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This November, Independent Lens is shining a spotlight on Native American culture with two new films. Premiering Monday, November 18th, Indian Relay documents an unheralded aspect of modern-day Native American life and what it takes to win one of the more exciting forms of horse racing. From the bitter cold of winter to the heat of summer, this lively documentary follows teams from three different tribes as they compete across a grueling season. Then on November 25th, Young Lakota takes viewers to South Dakota, where abortion politics bring political turmoil to the doorstep on the Pine Ridge Reservation and three young idealists, along with the tribe’s first female president, must decide how far they will go to change politics.

Throughout the month, Community Cinema and Women and Girls Lead continues to celebrate Native American Heritage Month by showcasing additional films featuring outstanding women leaders. These documentaries are available on PBS Video and additional online screenings will be offered using OVEE – the social screening platform for watching PBS content and engaging in meaningful discussions around films. Continue reading

Check Out the American Graduate Shorts!

The Graduates/Los Graduados explores the national high school dropout crisis through the eyes of six Latino students. While the two-part special airs Monday, October 28th and November 4th, audiences can also watch five additional short films online, each showcasing additional challenges faced by today’s Latino youth. 

The five short films are part of the American Graduate public media initiative, supported by Corporation for Public Broadcasting, to help local communities across America find solutions to address the dropout crisis. These shorts (which include Can’t Hold Me Back, I Really Want to Make It, Immigrant High, and Skipping Up) collectively showcase a diverse array of determined Latino adolescents, from Oakland to Detroit, New York to San Antonio, who have all struggled to overcome challenges — gang violence, drugs, poverty, young motherhood, and language barriers — as they keep their eyes on the prize: a high school diploma.

Watch all five shorts after the jump! Continue reading

A New Season of Community Cinema is Upon Us!

The new season of Community Cinema will screen six documentaries in more than 100 cities across the country, in addition to hosting online social screenings through the innovative OVEE platform.

The 2013-14 season of Community Cinema officially launched in September, offering an exciting slate of films and new ways to participate. First up, partners are screening the two part series The Graduates/Los Graduados prior to its Independent Lens broadcast premiere dates on Monday, October 28 and November 4 (check local listings). The series features first-hand perspectives on the challenges facing Latino and Latina high school students from across the U.S.

The Graduates/Los Graduados is the first entirely bilingual English-Spanish Community Cinema engagement campaign, with resources including an incredibly creative and engaging Youth Action Guide designed to get young people involved in increasing their school-wide graduation rates. At screenings, a few lucky educators and youth leaders will get to take home their own DVDs with the films, short format modules, and tools to help bring other important stakeholders into the conversation. With the support of CPB’s American Graduate initiative behind The Graduates/Los Graduados, the Community Cinema screenings through October will help start the school year off right with impactful, solution-oriented discussions on education and equality. Continue reading

Children of the Northern Lights: Season Finale of FUTURESTATES

Producer Cara Marcous gives us an inside look at the inspiration behind the season finale of FUTURESTATESChildren of the Northern Lights, which is available to stream for free at futurestates.tv and on pbs.org.

Watch Children of the Northern Lights | June 5 on FUTURESTATES on PBS. See more from FutureStates.

Writer and director Andrew MacLean drew his original inspiration for the film from a traditional Iñuit legend of the same name, whose ideas had always resonated with him. The legend is about a hunter who comes in contact with a group of mysterious children who are pillaging his food stores. He thinks they are thieves. He eventually discovers that the children are actually the spirits of the Northern Lights, beings drawn from the stillborn children of his people and they are starving. The hunter is moved by the struggle of these spirits and resolves to focus his hunting on finding sustenance for them. Ultimately, he is able to nourish them, but does not have enough food to feed himself, so he sacrifices his own life for the children’s – and for the vitality and beauty of the Northern Lights.

Andrew felt a natural connection between this story and his own interest in how we balance the needs and priorities of the individual with those of humanity. Through FUTURESTATES, he saw that dilemma in the context of resource exploitation and colonization, and how that might play out in our not-too-distant future. Continue reading

Four ITVS Programs Nominated for Imagen Awards

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Granito: How to Nail a Dictator, Mariachi High, Precious Knowledge, and Tales of Masked Men were the ITVS programs recognized with nominations for the 28th annual Imagen Awards.

Administered by the Imagen Foundation, the Imagen Awards aim to recognize and reward positive portrayals of Latinos in all forms of media, as well as to encourage and recognize the achievements of Latinos in the entertainment and communications industries.

A panel of entertainment industry executives and Latino community leaders select the winners for each category. The awards will be presented on Friday, August 16 at the Beverly Hilton in Los Angeles, CA and will be aired as a one-hour special on PBS SoCal. Continue reading

LA Film Festival and ITVS Presents: Brothers Hypnotic

The 2013 Los Angeles Film Festival, June 13-23 at L.A. LIVE, will screen a diverse slate of nearly 200 feature films, shorts, music videos, and documentaries from around the world.  Don’t miss 10 days and 11 nights of red carpet premieres, conversations, live music, free outdoor screenings, and films from around the world.  

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Filmmaker Reuben Atlas’ upcoming Independent Lens documentary, Brothers Hypnotic, will screen on Sunday, June 16th and Wednesday, June 19th as part of the Los Angeles Film Festival, co-presented by ITVS.

Some of the most energetic, riveting, and symphonic sounds in jazz today emanate from the Hypnotic Brass Ensemble. The band, consisting of eight brothers–all sons of jazz legend Phil Cohran–who were raised on Chicago’s South Side and have been practicing as a family since they were kids.

Whether playing on the streets of New York City or performing alongside Prince, when the brothers raise their horns, they create a music that looms large in the imagination. As the brothers come of age on the world’s stage, brotherhood becomes more than just a biological fact. It becomes an ideal, even when it clashes with their future dreams. Continue reading