ITVS Nominated for Two Webby Awards

ITVS nominated for 2 Webby Awards

Two ITVS projects have been recognized by the Webby Awards, the leading international awards for excellence on the Internet, which were called “the Internet’s highest honor” by The New York Times. The nominees, selected by members of the International Academy of Digital Arts & Sciences, include the newly relaunched website for Independent Lens, the Emmy Award-winning weekly television series on PBS, and After the Storm, an innovative interactive web project. The public may vote for the People’s Voice Award on the Webby site from now until April 21st. (So, needless to say, we encourage every one of our viewers and readers to vote for us as soon as you can!)

The Webby Awards recognize excellence in websites, online film and video, advertising and media, mobile sites and apps, and social. This year’s competition received nearly 13,000 entries from nearly all 50 states and 65 countries worldwide. Winners will be announced April 26 and honored at the 20th annual Webby Awards ceremony on May 16 in New York. Continue reading

Applying for the Primetime Emmy® Awards: What You Need to Know

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Over the past few months, ITVS has hosted a series of webinars for filmmakers interested in submitting their projects for major awards. Our latest installment featured the Primetime Emmys presented by the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (ATAS). We were joined by Dr. John Leverence, Senior Vice President of Awards, and Daniel H. Birman and Shari Cookson, representatives from the Board of Governors for Documentary Programming, who were kind enough to walk us through the process and answer audience questions. Here are some of the key takeaways from the conversation.  

What’s the difference between the Television Academy and the National Academy?

The Television Academy honors primetime programming. It is comprised of 29 “peer groups” whose work is aired nationally and whose members are eligible to vote for the Emmy Awards. Peer groups are based on areas of expertise, from network executives to hair stylists; from performers to cinematographers.

The National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences [NATAS] honors national daytime, news and sports programming. The National Academy is member-based and has affiliated chapters in US cities and regions that award Emmys for local programming.

When it comes to submitting a documentary, it’s helpful to understand that the Primetime Emmy Awards are more specific to docs that don’t come from news departments. For example – 60 Minutes is a CBS News production and is therefore eligible in the NATAS news and docs Emmys, whereas American Masters is not a news department production and is eligible in the Television Academys documentary/nonfiction competition.

What is the Exceptional Merit in Documentary Filmmaking Jury Award?

This award was created in 2005 to honor documentaries that may not be considered “popular” but still meet the Exceptional Merit criteria. This award is selected by a nominating and voting jury and is not part of the overall ballot. The chances for winning are not predicated on a theatrical release, network involvement, awards department, or marketing budget. Instead, the judges look for social impact, innovation, and mastery of the craft.

If a film is broadcast on a series, can the producers submit it to the Emmys independent of that series?

You can’t “double dip” – only a single Emmy for a single achievement. You can enter it either as a series or as a single episode, (which then makes the series not eligible). However, you can enter into the Exceptional Merit category, which is the one exception!

Will a theatrical run make a film ineligible for the Outstanding Nonfiction award?

Theatrical has to be a complement to a project that was designed for broadcast. If your project was designed as a theatrical release and then brought to TV, it does not qualify. That being said, the Academy allows for film festival runs and theatrical exhibitions intended solely for the purposes of Oscar qualification.
For additional tips on how to make your Emmy® Award submission the best it can be, watch the webinar recording, below. And if you’re interested in more filmmaker-focused webinars, follow us on Facebook or Twitter for more info!

Applying for the News & Documentary Emmy® Awards: What You Need to Know

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Every year, the News & Documentary Emmy® Awards recognize outstanding achievement in broadcast journalism and documentary filmmaking, awarding their coveted statuette to the very best news reports and documentaries that have aired on national television or streamed over the Internet. This year marks the 37th Annual News & Documentary Emmy® Awards which are currently accepting submissions with a final entry deadline of April 14, 2016.

Last year, over 1,600 entries were received, which were winnowed down to 218 nominees, then 45 winners. Needless to say, the competition can be fierce, leading every producer to the question: how can I make my submission stand out? With this in mind, ITVS hosted a live conversation via our social screening platform OVEE earlier this week, featuring David Winn and Christine Chin who are, respectively, Senior Vice President and Director of the News & Documentary Emmy® Awards. Here’s a recap of some of the takeaways from that webinar:

How Are Submissions Judged?

Submissions are screened and judged throughout the months of May and June. Submission videos, ballots and judging instructions are delivered to judges who have two weeks to review the submissions and cast their ballots. Entries are judged online by panelists who are certified as peers. Each judge casts a secret ballot. Judges’ votes are not shared with other judges or with members of The National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. They are tabulated by the accounting firm of Lutz and Carr.

What’s the 50% Rule?

A program needs to be available to 50% of U.S. television households in order to be considered a national broadcast. Over-the-air network broadcasts, as well as cable or satellite programming generally satisfy the “50% rule.” Recently, entries that have streamed online qualify, which opens up more opportunities for independent producers…yes, Virginia, YouTube counts!

Open to Innovation

In addition to the eligibility of online content, the News & Documentary Emmys include categories favorable to producers working outside of traditional broadcast formats. Three categories, deemed New Approaches, exist to recognize interactive, multimedia, and transmedia work. This year, a new category —Outstanding Short Documentary — has been added to recognize films that are 40 minutes or less in duration.

Put on Your Writing Cap

Obviously, the video sample that you submit is key to showcasing your talents, but don’t forget that the submissions essay is your chance to speak directly to the judges about the merits of your program. Be concise, serious, and substantive, avoiding marketing pitches or accolade listings. Stick to the guidelines and observe the 750 word count.

Don’t Double Dip

If you decide to submit your work to the News & Documentary Emmy® Awards competition, then you should not also submit to the Primetime or Sports Emmy® Awards. Do your homework first to determine which awards competition is the best fit for your program. Similarly, while you may apply to multiple News & Documentary categories, you may only apply to one Outstanding and one Best Of category (you can go crazy and apply to as many craft categories that may apply, though).

Follow Instructions!

The same rule that applies to acing the SAT and surviving IKEA furniture assembly should guide you well, here: FOLLOW INSTRUCTIONS! Be sure to read the Rules & Procedures guide closely before preparing your submission. However, if you’re still stumped, David and Christine will gladly answer your questions (see the cover sheet of submissions guide for their contact info).

For additional tips on how to make your News & Documentary Emmy® Award submission the best it can be, watch the webinar recording, below. And if you’re interested in more filmmaker-focused webinars, including an upcoming presentation on the Primetime Emmy® Awards, follow us on Facebook or Twitter for more info!

Big Night for ITVS Series and its Films at International Documentary Association Awards

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The International Documentary Association (IDA) announced the winners of the 31st IDAs this weekend with ITVS receiving four IDA awards. This weekend’s honors brings the total number of IDA honors for ITVS to 21, including a third consecutive win for its acclaimed weekly series Independent Lens.

ITVS’ Independent Lens established a bona fide winning streak last night, sharing its Best Curated Series honors with POV. Independent Lens was previously awarded the 2013 International Documentary Association Best Continuing Series Award and the 2014 International Documentary Association Best Curated Series Award.

“ITVS is thrilled to see the work that we believe in so deeply, be recognized by the IDA, and we are proud to have played a role in their success.(T)ERROR, Best of Enemies and The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution (nominated for for Best Feature) all show the changing face of America – on camera and off. Every day, our mission is to champion independent filmmakers who are working to tell the world’s untold stories. These filmmakers capture the lives of underrepresented people on film, then we help to make their stories accessible to everyone,” said ITVS President and CEO Sally Jo Fifer.

“We are particularly pleased that Independent Lens continues to be recognized and congratulate Lois Vossen and her Independent Lens team. We would also like to congratulate Gordon Quinn on his well-deserved Career Achievement Award. Gordon was integral to the creation of ITVS, leaving an important and lasting legacy around our mission of diversity and inclusion in the independent filmmaking community,” continued Fifer.

“Receiving the 2015 IDA Best Curated Series is a great honor and I am proud of my team at Independent Lens and the amazing filmmakers who contribute to the success of the program,” said Lois Vossen, executive producer of Independent Lens. “We are proud to be a part of ITVS and its mission to bring audiences face-to-face with the lives and concerns of their fellow Americans who are underrepresented in the media landscape today.”

The Emerging Documentary Filmmaker Award was given to filmmakers Lyric R. Cabral and David Felix Sutcliffe for their work on the film (T)ERROR, which will air on Independent Lens February 22, 2016.

“In our film, we wanted to highlight what we consider a serious threat to the fabric of our democracy. ITVS’ generous support allowed us to have a strong platform to tell this story at a critical time in our country,” said Cabral and Sutcliffe. “It is an honor to be recognized by IDA with the 2015 Emerging Documentary Filmmaker Award.”

The acclaimed Best of Enemies (which will air on Independent Lens in the fall of 2016) was honored with two awards: Best Music for the original score by Jonathan Kirkscey; and the the ABC News VideoSource Award, which recognizes the best use of news footage in a documentary.

“We are both grateful to have received two awards tonight and want to thank ITVS for its generous support of Best of Enemies,” said Best of Enemies directors Robert Gordon and Morgan Neville. “Just as Gore Vidal and William F. Buckley Jr.’s diverse points of views shaped television forever, ITVS’s mission of supporting diverse and independent filmmakers have helped shaped a generation of storytelling in this country.”

The full list of winners was published on Variety.

Applying for the Peabody Awards: What You Need to Know

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Every year, the Peabody Awards recognize those who excel in radio, television broadcasting, and online media in America. The judges review over a thousand documentary entries and only a select few are awarded the prestigious gold medallion. With such stiff competition, what makes a film stand out? Earlier this week we hosted a webinar featuring Dr. Nate Kohn and Matt Shedd of the George Foster Peabody Awards at the University of Georgia who gave us the inside scoop.

Eligibility

The Peabody Awards honor a diverse range of stories across radio, television, and digital media. To qualify, documentaries must have appeared online or on local or national television. Films with minor theatrical releases (art houses, indie theaters) are eligible but those with large-scale theatricals (Friday night release, available in 3k theaters nationwide) are considered major motion pictures and are disqualified.

Submission

When you upload your project for consideration, you’ll be asked to include a short essay. Don’t let this requirement scare you! You won’t be judged on this section, only the project itself. This is your opportunity to tell the judges what the film is about, who was involved in making it, why it’s important, and the impact it’s had. If you have any press reviews or additional content, you can include them in the “Supplementary Material” section. While the film’s reach and impact can be included in the essay or supplementary materials section, it’s what the judges are seeing on screen that matters most.

Judging

Although you’ll submit your entry into one of six subcategories, this is just a way for the Peabody Board of Jurors to remain organized. The prizes aren’t awarded by category, nor are there finalists or nominees. When the judges meet face-to-face to determine the winners, they have only one criteria on their minds: excellence. They’re looking for stories that matter and documentaries of substance. Films aren’t compared to one another, they’re judged only against themselves. The jurors must unanimously agree on the films that they choose to recognize.

This is just some of what we covered in our conversation with Dr. Nate Kohn and Matt Shedd, For additional tips on making your submission shine, watch the recording below. ITVS-funded films and Independent Lens broadcasts have won 30 Peabody Awards to date. This webinar is the first of several awards-related webinars presented for free to all filmmakers. Follow us on Facebook or Twitter for more info!

 

ITVS Receives 16 Emmy Nominations

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ITVS was excited to learn that we received 15 nominations for the 36th annual News & Doc Emmys, including Best Documentary noms for The Trials of Muhammad Ali, Bully, and American Promise. There were seven Independent Lens films to receive Emmy nominations along with three ITVS-funded POV films. This is in addition to the Independent Lens documentary The Great Invisible receiving a Primetime Emmy Award this week.

All told, PBS nabbed an Emmy-leading 57 nominations in the News and Doc awards alone, including for the series FRONTLINE, American Experience, and Nature, as well as many excellent stand-alone programs.

Here’s the full list of ITVS’s Emmy-nominated films:

POV:
American Promise (directors Michèle Stephenson and Joe Brewster)
– Outstanding Coverage of a Current News Story-Long Form
– Best Documentary
– Outstanding Editing: Documentary and Long Form

National Academy  of TV Arts & Sciences Emmy Award statuette logo Fallen City (director Qi Zhao)
– Outstanding Informational Programming-Long-Form

When I Walk (director Jason daSilva)
– Outstanding Informational Programming-Long-Form

Independent Lens:
The Trials of Muhammad Ali (director Bill Siegel)
– Outstanding Historical Programming Long Form
– Best Documentary
– Outstanding Editing: Documentary and Long Form

Bully (director Lee Hirsch)
– Best Documentary
– Outstanding Informational Programming Long Form

The State of Arizona (directors Carlos Sandoval & Catherine Tambini)
– Outstanding Investigative Journalism Long Form

Medora (directors Andrew Cohn & Davy Rothbart)
– Outstanding Business and Economic Reporting Long Form

Muscle Shoals (director Greg “Freddy” Camalier)
– Outstanding Arts and Culture Programming

Happiness (director Thomas Balmès)
– Outstanding Cinematography: Documentary and Long Form

Blood Brother (director Steve Hoover )
– Outstanding Music & Sound

Congratulations to all the filmmakers on this list, as well as to all the excellent programs and directors receiving an Emmy Award. We’re once again in very fine company.

Three ITVS Films Win BRITDOC Impact Awards

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As awards season heats up, three ITVS films were recently honored with BRITDOC Social Impact Awards. The films, Granito, The House I Live In, and American Promise each received $15,000 to reward their passion and achievements in using storytelling to provoke change. Now in its 4th year, the Impact Award honors filmmakers whose work has had the most impact globally every year.

“We are thrilled that three of our funded filmmakers have received the BRITDOC Social Impact Award,said Jim Sommers, ITVS Senior Vice President. “It is a testament to their incredible hard work, dedication and commitment to sharing the stories of people from diverse communities across the globe in order to ignite conversations and engage people in positive social change.”

The BRITDOC organization offers an Impact Field Guide and Toolkit for filmmakers, which includes suggestions and tools to create engaging campaigns on how to impact the topics their films explore.

ITVS is proud to be the home for impactful filmmakers. This year, of the five BRITDOC Impact Award winners, three were ITVS funded films.  Previous ITVS documentaries that have also taken home the award include Bully, Give Up Tomorrow, The Interrupters and The Invisible War.

ITVS Wins 4 News & Documentary Emmy Awards

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Cover your ears, it’s horn tooting time here! Last night at the News & Documentary Emmy Awards ceremony, ITVS films won a total of 4 Emmys, including 3 for Independent Lens films [Independent Lens had been nominated for 10 News & Doc Emmys overall.] Read more on RealScreen, but without further ado, the winners are:

Continue reading

ITVS and Independent Lens Receive 13 News and Documentary Emmy Nominations

The National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences announced this year’s nominees for the 35th annual News & Documentary Emmy® Awards, which recognizes outstanding achievement in broadcast journalism and documentary filmmaking. And ITVS is proud to say that nine of our documentaries received 13 nominations for 2013!

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PBS received a total of 43 nominations — the most of any network — including 10 nominations for Independent Lens, 11 nominations for FRONTLINE (two for the ITVS-funded Outlawed in Pakistan), and six for POV (including Reportero), so it’s a great day all around for public media documentaries! The News & Documentary Emmy Awards will be presented on Tuesday, September 30th, 2014, in New York City.

“These Emmy nominations are a testament to the expemplary journalism that independent documentary filmmakers practice,” said Lois Vossen, Independent Lens Deputy Executive Producer. “They reflect the extraordinary vitality and diversity of our vibrant independent documentary community.”

And without further ado, here are the ITVS films receiving Emmy honors: Continue reading

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