ITVS at SXSW 2015

By Elisabeth Copper, @eacopper

Social Media Manager

It’s that time again! We’ve packed our bags and are heading out for the craziness that is SxSW. We’ll be running around town participating in panels, attending screenings, and meeting with filmmakers, storytellers, and innovators. Will you be joining us in Austin? If so, here are some of the places we’ll be.

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Film Screenings

We couldn’t be more thrilled that three ITVS-support documentaries will be showing at the film festival this year. If you have a Film, Gold, or Platinum badge, here’s your chance to preview the documentaries before they appear next season on our Emmy Award-winning series Independent Lens.

T-Rex (World Premiere)

T-Rex is an intimate story about a new kind of American heroine. For the first time, women’s boxing is included in the 2012 Olympics. Fighting for gold is 17-year-old Claressa “T-Rex” Shields. From the streets of Flint, Michigan, Claressa is undefeated and utterly confident. Her fierceness extends beyond the ring. She desperately wants to take her family to a better, safer place and winning gold could be her only chance.

Welcome to Leith

Welcome to Leith is chronicles the attempted takeover of a small town in North Dakota by notorious white supremacist Craig Cobb. As his behavior becomes more threatening, tensions soar, and the residents desperately look for ways to expel their unwanted neighbor. The unsettling underpinning of the film is how we wrestle with our democratic principles when they’re pushed to the limit.

Best of Enemies

Best of Enemies is a documentary about the storied debates in 1968 between two great public intellectuals, liberal Gore Vidal and conservative William F. Buckley Jr. Intended as commentary on the issues of their day, these vitriolic and explosive encounters came to define the modern era of public discourse in the media, marking the big bang moment of our contemporary media landscape when spectacle trumped content and argument replaced substance.

PBS will be hosting meet-and-greets with these filmmakers at the PBS Anywhere Lounge. Best of Enemies and T-Rex will in the Lounge on Saturday at 4pm, and Welcome to Leith producers will be in attendance Monday from 4:30pm-5:30pm.

 

Panels

Finding a TV Partner in a Digital World

Monday, March 16th 12:30pm-1:30pm

In the digital era of Netflix, Hulu, Vudu, and many other OTT portals, how valuable is a broadcaster for your doc? Come find out at this panel moderated by Elizabeth Sheldon, SVP Kino Lorber, along with Lois Vossen from Independent Lens, Jill Burkhart of EPIX Documentary Programming, Cynthia Kane of Al Jazeera, and Jennie Morris from Participant Media.

Tool-Kit for Crafting an Interactive Documentary

Monday, March 16th 12:30pm-1:30pm

Filmmaker Andrew Beck Grace and Toronto-based Helios Design Labs worked remotely for six months to produce the interactive documentary essay “After the Storm.” By using this project as a test-case, this session, featuring Cathy Fisher from ITVS, will present a tool-kit of ideas for other creators in the medium while exploring the how and why of interactive, web-native nonfiction storytelling.

Doc Distribution: Get Up to Speed with PBS Indies

Tuesday, March 17th 11:00AM-12:00PM

Are you a filmmaker interested in showcasing your film on PBS? Then you don’t want to miss this panel. Filmmakers Byron Hurt, Yance Ford, and Marshall Curry will be joined by Donald Thoms (VP Programming/General Audience; PBS) and Liz Cheng (GM; World Channel) to share why public media might be the distribution channel you’ve been searching for.

What’s the Value of Your Digital Rights?

Tuesday, March 17th 12:30pm-1:30pm

Learn from industry experts, including ITVS’s Isaac Hager, how much digital rights are worth to filmmakers and distributors launching titles on outlets such as iTunes, Amazon, and Netflix. You’ll walk away from this session with insight into which platforms are winning in the battle for viewer attention, as well as a greater understanding of the deal structures and windowing strategies negotiated as part of these licensing deals.

Who’s Going to Fund Your Webseries?

Tuesday, March 17th 12:30pm-1:30pm

Meet the industry leaders, including ITVS’s Karim Ahmad, developing, funding, and supporting independent web series in new ways, paving the way for creators of bold new episodic content online. We’ll discuss what they look for, how their programs work, and talk with veteran creators about their development strategy, and what are the opportunities for web series in today’s digital landscape.

 

PBS Party at the Parish

The annual PBS party is one we look forward to every year. On March 15th at 9pm, come help us celebrate independent film on PBS with drinks, BBQ, and live music by Best Coast.

Can’t make it to Austin this year? We’ll be capturing all of the madness on Twitter and Instagram so be sure to follow along!

Everything You Need to Know to Apply to Open Call

Over the past month, ITVS’s Programming Department hosted a number of informative webinars in order to arm filmmakers with the information needed to successfully apply for Open Call funding. With Friday’s deadline fast approaching, we wanted to offer this brief overview of each of the events, which covered everything from writing the ITVS treatment to what makes a successful work-in-progress sample. Check it out and be sure to apply to Open Call by Friday, August 8th.

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On July 10th, Programming Manager N’Jeri Eaton hosted the “Writing the ITVS Treatment” webinar. View the archived webinar below:

Treatment Webinar from ITVS_VIDEO on Vimeo.

On July 24th, an OVEE screening was held to review work-in-progress samples and to discuss the process with filmmakers who were successful with their submissions. To find out what makes a good work sample, read the transcript from the “Work-in-Progresses That Work” webinar here. Continue reading

My So-Called Enemy, Sunday on Global Voices

This Sunday on Global Voices, filmmaker Lisa Gossels presents the Israeli/Palestinian conflict through a human lens in her documentary, My So-Called Enemy. The film begins in July 2002, when twenty-two Palestinian and Israeli teenage girls traveled to the US to participate in a ten-day women’s leadership program. My So-Called Enemy is about six of those girls and how the transformative experience of knowing their “enemies” as human beings meets with the realities of their lives at home in the Middle East over the next seven years. In this post, Gossels shares her motivation for making this film.

There’s many things that a person might look like and you’re one hundred percent positive who they are. And when you talk to them, you’re shocked that they’re completely the opposite. Like whoever looks at me, “No way you’re an Arab.” But I go like, “Oh, dude, I am an Arab!” So, don’t concentrate on the first impression. If you think you don’t like the person, approach them to know who they really are.
-Rawan (Palestinian, Muslim)

by Lisa Gossels, Director

When I introduce My So-Called Enemy at screenings, I always say that making the film was an eight-year journey of both learning and unlearning for me – and a stripping away of personal narratives that I was raised with.  My hope as a documentarian is that audiences will experience some of that same transformation when they watch the movie.

I live in downtown Manhattan and shortly after 9/11, I remember engaging in some heated political conversations with close friends about the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. When I tried to express any nuance in those discussions, I came to understand how wars could be fought on words and how easy it is to reduce conflicts to black and white terms. At a conference two months earlier, I had the privilege of meeting Melodye Feldman (the founder of Building Bridges for Peace), and four participants from her just-completed summer program. After listening to the girls’ dramatic stories about how the program had changed them, I begged Melodye to let me film her program the next year! I was excited that Building Bridges for Peace empowers teenage girls because, as Nicholas Kristof wrote, “Focusing on women and girls is the most effective way to fight global poverty and extremism.” Continue reading

Ask the Expert: Writing the ITVS Treatment

Programming Manager N’Jeri Eaton hosted an informative webinar last week, reviewing the new Open Call submission process and providing insight into writing the ITVS treatment. This archived webinar is available for those who were unable to attend or are looking to brush up on their treatment knowledge. 

Treatment Webinar from ITVS_VIDEO on Vimeo.

“Writing the ITVS Treatment” was the first in a series of webinars ITVS is hosting in an effort to provide more resources for filmmakers applying to Open Call. The following weekly webinars will be held in the lead up to this year’s deadline:

July 17th
Work-in-Progresses That Work Webinar (read the transcript here)

July 24th
ITVS Budgeting Basics Webinar (read our recap here)

July 31st
Open Call Live Chat

Please note, ITVS will be accepting Open Call applications through Friday, August 8th. For more information about the Open Call initiative or ITVS funding in general, please go to the updated funding pages on our website. And stay tuned to our blogTwitter and Facebook!

Diversity Development Fund: An Inside Look at the Submission Process

Programming Manager N’Jeri Eaton hosted an informative live chat last Thursday to answer any submission questions for the Diversity Development Fund. ITVS will be accepting applications through Friday, August 16th.

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While the chat has come and gone, check out the archived conversation below for helpful submission tips and insights. The original chat can be viewed here.

N’Jeri:

Hi everyone. Thanks for joining us. Looks like we have a small group today. But that just means more time for you to get all of your pressing questions in. My name is N’Jeri Eaton and I’m a programming manager here at ITVS.

Hakeem:

Hello!

N’Jeri:

I manage the Diversity Development Fund. The deadline for the fund is Friday, August 16th at 5pm PT. We’re also going digital for the first time this year. So please make sure to check our site and read about our new online application process. Continue reading

The Diversity Development Fund Is Now Accepting Applications

ITVS is seeking applications for the Diversity Development Fund (DDF) through Friday, August 16th.

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DDF provides up to $15,000 in research and development funding to independent producers of color to develop single documentary programs for public television.  Projects should speak to the ITVS mission to serve underrepresented audiences with programs that take creative risks, explore complex issues, inspire dialogue, and express points of view seldom seen on commercial or public television. Please note that the new deadline is FRIDAY, AUGUST 16th.

To date, projects selected for the Diversity Development Fund have had national broadcasts on Independent Lens and P.O.V., and have leveraged support from organizations including the National Minority Consortia, the Sundance Doc Fund, Creative Capital Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Ford Foundation.

Funding activities may include travel, research, script development, preliminary production for fundraising/work-in-progress reels, or other early phase activities.

DDF accepts:

  • Producers from cultural and ethnic communities historically underrepresented on public television.
  • Single documentaries
  • Projects not yet in production

Join Programming Manager N’Jeri Eaton for a Diversity Development Fund live chat on Thursday, August 1st at 11am PT.  She will be there to answer any of your questions about the initiative ahead of the deadline. You can participate in the live chat here: https://ovee.itvs.org/screenings/t42mx

For more information on DDF visit: http://www.itvs.org/funding/ddf

FRONTLINE and City Year Present a Social Screening of Middle School Moment

FRONTLINE and City Year will present an online social screening and discussion of Middle School Moment on Thursday, August 23 at 4:30PM PT/ 7:30PM ET. Special guest panelists will participate in the event, which will take place here.

Watch Middle School Moment on PBS. See more from FRONTLINE.

Nationwide, 7,000 students drop out every school day, but new evidence suggests that the make-or-break moment for high school dropouts may actually occur in middle school. FRONTLINE examines one Bronx school’s unique approach in A Middle School Moment.

Join FRONTLINE and City Year today at 4:30PM PT/ 7:30PM ET for a live social screening of the documentary and take part in an open conversation with City Year’s Charlie Rose, Bethiel Girma, and FRONTLINE producer Mary Robertson. Continue reading

Diversity Development Fund Live Chat

On Thursday, August 23 at 1PM PT / 4PM ET, ITVS Programming Coordinator N’Jeri Eaton will be taking questions from interested Diversity Development Fund applicants in a live chat right here on Beyond the Box.

Diversity Development Fund Live Chat

On Thursday, August 23 at 1PM PT / 4PM ET, ITVS Programming Coordinator N’Jeri Eaton will be taking questions from interested Diversity Development Fund applicants in a live chat right here on Beyond the Box.


The Diversity Development Fund provides up to $15,000 in research and development funding to independent producers of color to develop single documentary programs for public television. Projects should speak to the ITVS mission to serve underrepresented audiences with programs that take creative risks, explore complex issues, inspire dialogue, and express points of view seldom seen on commercial or public television. With the upcoming deadline (September 7, 2012), we encourage all interested applicants to register for the live chat taking place on Thursday, August 23rd.

To date, projects selected for the Diversity Development Fund have had national broadcasts on Independent Lens and P.O.V., and have leveraged support from organizations including the National Minority Consortia, the Sundance Doc Fund, Creative Capital Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Ford Foundation. Continue reading

Join NBPC for the Season Finale of Black Folk Don’t: Get Married

The National Black Programming Consortium will present an online screening and discussion of Black Folk Don’t: Get Married on Wednesday, August 1 at 1pm PT / 4pm ET. Series creator Angela Tucker will participate in the event, which will take place here.

 

The National Black Programming Consortium is hosting a social screening of the season finale of Black Folk Don’t, a satirical, documentary web series that challenges common stereotypes. Provocative, irreverent, and engaging, Black Folk Don’t asks uncomfortable questions and stirs dialogue about common assumptions of the behavior of black people.

This episode of the Black Folk Don’t web series tackles a long-standing institution, marriage. Do black folk get married? You wouldn’t think so based on all the media coverage around unmarried black women. Join series creator Angela Tucker as she discusses the episode, the issue, and the future of the next Black Folk Don’t season! Continue reading