New Multi-Platform Strategy to Showcase Independent Lens on PBS

IndieLogos-465_1

In collaboration with PBS, Independent Television Service (ITVS) is proud to announce a new strategy to increase the reach and visibility of INDEPENDENT LENS on PBS member stations. The strategy will draw on strategic scheduling, digital content and distribution, social media and marketing to shine an even brighter spotlight on this important mission-focused content.

“We are very happy that the important work of independent filmmakers will continue to have a prominent place in PBS’ broadcast schedule, and that PBS is also bolstering the visibility of these films through this new multiplatform strategy,” said Sally Jo Fifer, President and CEO of ITVS, which produces INDEPENDENT LENS.

The announcement of the multi-platform strategy follows a several-month, multi-city listening tour during which leaders from PBS, ITVS, POV and WNET held town hall-style meetings with members of the independent film community to discuss how best to present ITVS’ INDEPENDENT LENS and POV on PBS and ensure that the series reach the widest possible audience.

On broadcast, PBS will pursue a new programming strategy for independent film. In addition to the Monday at 10 p.m. broadcasts of INDEPENDENT LENS and POV on most PBS stations—including THIRTEEN New York—PBS will create a number of programming events tied to independent films over the course of the 2015-2016 broadcast season. These events will pair an independent film from INDEPENDENT LENS or POV with thematically related programming to optimize audience flow throughout the night—a strategy that has been used successfully across the PBS schedule over the past few years. These films will also receive social media promotion and marketing support to help drive awareness and tune-in. Films featured in these programming events will be announced as INDEPENDENT LENS and POV finalize the titles in their respective upcoming seasons.

“PBS and our local stations are the home for independent film, presenting a variety of viewpoints and perspectives on important issues, which are fundamental elements of public media’s mission. After months of constructive discussion with the independent film community, we are pleased to present a new strategy that we believe will better support this important work and help us reach the younger, diverse audiences who are among the most passionate fans of indies,” said Beth Hoppe, Chief Programming Executive and General Manager, General Audience Programming for PBS.

To support all INDEPENDENT LENS and POV films during the 2015-2016 broadcast season, PBS will launch a coordinated, targeted outreach effort across its major social media channels to connect with independent film fans, allow for conversation about the issues highlighted in these films and promote independent films in the pipeline. PBS also plans to create additional promotional tools for its member stations to help them reach independent film fans in their own markets.

Building on the primetime broadcasts of independent film, PBS will maximize its growing digital platforms to distribute and promote independent film content. The Webby Award-nominated PBS Online Film Festival will return for a fourth year June 15-July 17, 2015, and will feature more than 20 short-form independent films from POV and a broad spectrum of public media stations and partners, including the Center for Asian American Media (CAAM), Latino Public Broadcasting (LPB), National Black Programming Consortium,National Black Programming Consortium (NBPC) Pacific Islanders in Communications (PIC),  Wisconsin Media Lab and Vision Maker Media.

PBS is also re-launching its independent film website, pbs.org/indiefilms, which will serve as both an archive of all feature-length and short-form independent film streaming on PBS.org and a platform to preview upcoming films that will broadcast on PBS. PBS has also created “Indie Film” playlists on its over-the-top (OTT) channels, including those on Apple TV and FireTV, so that users of these platforms can more easily find and enjoy independent film content.

PBS and its distribution arm, PBS Distribution, also plan to support several theatrical releases of independent films. In fall 2015, PBS Distribution will bring the INDEPENDENT LENS film “The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution” to movie screens across the country. The theatrical distribution, when combined with its broadcast on PBS stations, VOD and home entertainment distribution, will enable this critically acclaimed documentary by renowned filmmaker Stanley Nelson to reach a broad and diverse audience.

download

Independent Lens film “The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution”

In addition, PBS Distribution has entered into a licensing agreement with Indieflix, a subscription-based streaming service for independent film. Starting in May 2015, more than 85 PBS films will be available to Indieflix’s growing subscriber base. Among the titles included in this agreement are “Soul Food Junkies,” “Art & Copy” and “Spies of Mississippi,” all from INDEPENDENT LENS.

PBS LearningMedia, a free media on-demand service from PBS and WGBH used by 1.6 million educators and reaching 30 million students, frequently offers independent film content to K-12 classrooms as an instructional tool. As part of the new strategy to support independent film, PBS, ITVS, POV and WNET will collaborate with PBS LearningMedia to create a curriculum for a non-credit college course on documentary film that highlights films from INDEPENDENT LENS and POV, along with other documentaries in the PBS broadcast schedule.

“This new strategy is an important statement of PBS’ commitment to independent film as a core part of its programming offerings,” said Simon Kilmurry, Executive Director of POV. “Filmmakers and the public alike will benefit from ensuring that the voices and viewpoints in independent films can be seen by the widest possible audience, which in turn will increase their impact.”

WNET Vice President of Programming Stephen Segaller said, “The Listening Tour has ultimately proved to be a worthwhile endeavor, as it affirmed the value that filmmakers place on PBS. As PBS’ flagship station in New York, we’re enthusiastic about participating in this new strategy in the hope that independent films will secure the greater audience they deserve. Pairing specific films with similar or related programming makes sense — to boost tune-in, strengthen online support and increase distribution on diverse platforms. We look forward to helping to promote the work of independent filmmakers on our channels, and we’re optimistic that this new plan will be a great success.”

 

Listening Tour Kicks Off in San Francisco: A Report

PBS Listening Tour in San Francisco

On Saturday, PBS, ITVS, POV, Independent Lens, and WNET together led the first in a series of events to ignite conversations about the importance of independent documentary films — and the need to provide a prominent platform for indies.

More than 225 Bay Area filmmakers, local and national independent film organizations, public media advocates, educators, and community leaders turned out at the San Francisco Public Library to share and hear testimonials and ideas on how to build the visibility, reach, and impact of independent films by and about diverse, underrepresented communities on public broadcasting.

Their audience? PBS programming leaders Beth Hoppe and Marie Nelson, WNET’s Lesley Norman, ITVS’s Sally Jo Fifer, KQED’s Kevin Martin, Independent Lens’ Lois Vossen, POV’s Simon Kilmurry, filmmakers Orlando Bagwell and Tracy Droz Tragos, and community leaders Esta Soler of Futures Without Violence and Kin Folkz of Spectrum Queer Media.

The line to the microphone snaked up the auditorium aisle as attendees stepped up to tell the panel of “listeners” onstage about their experiences in making and using independent documentary to engage citizens of all ages in social issues, from poverty and homelessness to youth and women’s empowerment to LGBQT rights and gender-based violence. Many filmmakers expressed their hope for POV and Independent Lens to maintain a prominent position on the programming schedule amid recent headlines in trade press.

See a few highlights from the event here:

See coverage on Saturday’s event in Current: “Filmmakers push for common carriage at first stop in public TV ‘listening tour‘.”

PBS launched “Independent Film on PBS: A National Listening Tour” in partnership with ITVS, POV, Independent Lens, and WNET. WNET and POV will organize the next event to be held on February 23, 2015 in New York City, location TBD. The Indie Caucus and Kartemquin Films will host a third stop in Chicago in March, date TBD.

PBS Annual Meeting 2014: Guide to the City by the Bay, Part II

The countdown to the 2014 PBS Annual Meeting is in full force! While many will be busy attending different events and sessions, it is important to remember to take some time to sit back and enjoy the wealth of culinary delights San Francisco has to ­offer.

btb_annualmeetingbanner

Check out a few of our favorite food and drink spots, all conveniently located near the Marriot Marquis:

Maiden Lane

Located on a quaint pedestrian only street that used to be the center of San Francisco’s red-light district, Maiden Lane is now lined with high-end retail shops and quiet cafés that spill into the street. Sit back and enjoy a cappuccino, tea, or a tasty treat at one of the outdoor cafés. Maiden Lane, btwn Stockton St. & Kearny St.

Local Edition

Downstairs in the historical Hearst building sits a cocktail bar that will take you back in time. Inspired by the journalism industry of the 50’s and 60’s Local Edition offers contemporary and traditional cocktails. Try their updated versions of the Bloody Mary or Gibson as you sit among vintage San Francisco newspapers.
691 Market Street

Continue reading

PBS Annual Meeting 2014: A Guide to the City by the Bay

In less than a week, public television professionals will gather in ITVS’s hometown of San Francisco for PBS’s Annual Meeting and we thought it would be fun to provide attendees with recommendations for things to do and see while in town.

btb_annualmeetingbanner

Whether you’re a bibliophile in search of some good reading material or just want to experience a bit of indie history, here are a few of our favorite literary, theatre, and music destinations:

City Lights

Founded in 1953, this literary landmark was once the go-to spot for the poets and beatniks of the counterculture era. Today, City Lights is three floors high and filled to the brim with both new releases and obscure titles from small, harder-to-find specialty publishers. If you’re looking for something special to bring back home, check out their local section – you won’t find mementos like these in the airport gift shop! 1585 Folsom Street.

Green Apple Books

Not only does Green Apple make an appearance on just about every “Best of the Bay Area” list there is, in 2012 author Dave Eggers named it one of the best bookstores in the country. Come prepared by grabbing a snack at the nearby Toy Boat Dessert Café, because you truly could spend hours browsing one of the largest collections of used books in the city.  506 Clement Street

Castro Theatre

While the film on the screen may be the main attraction, this 1920s movie palace truly steals the show; the fantasy setting includes ornate ceilings, gold-framed mirrors, dramatic mezzanine staircases, and a pipe organ that is played before selected films and events. You’ll find a wide array of films and activities on the schedule, including repertory movies, cult classics, theme nights, film festivals, and sing-a-longs. 429 Castro Street Continue reading

Submit Your Film to Independent Lens!

IL_call_01_PBS_IL_Home_645x331

Independent Lens is currently seeking submissions of films in advanced rough cut or fine cut stage or completed films to broadcast during the October 2014 – June 2015 season. To learn more about eligibility, what we’re looking for, and to complete our online submission form go to www.ilsubmissions.org.

Any questions? Feel free to drop a line to ILsubmissions@itvs.org.

Check Out Can’t Hold Me Back: A PBS Online Film Festival Selection

Documenting stories of inspiration and justice, Madeleine Blair and Betty Bastidas founded Maracuya Productions with the hope to bring about change. Their short film Can’t Hold Me Back, is a part of the American Graduate initiative, and is currently streaming as part of the PBS Online Film Festival.

Watch 2013 Festival | Can’t Hold Me Back on PBS. See more from PBS Online Film Festival.

Can’t Hold Me Back follows Fernando Parraz as he becomes the first in his family to earn a high school diploma, which is his ticket out of the struggles of inner-city poverty and violence. With a mountain of roadblocks stacked against his educational achievement, Fernando finds support from an unlikely figure: his father — a former gangster who has suffered the costs of his own mistakes.

This short film is a part of the American Graduate Initiative supported by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB). This long-term public media initiative is dedicated to helping communities implement solutions to the high school dropout crisis. American Graduate demonstrates public media’s commitment to education and its deep roots in every community it serves.

Watch Can’t Hold Me Back and VOTE for the 2013 PBS Online Film Festival People’s Choice Winner.

Adrian Baker on Animating Native American Oral History

By Rebecca Huval
Originally posted on the Independent Lens Blog

Sometimes, the shameful chapters of our past deserve to be excavated through an animated short, the form du jour for oral history projects such as StoryCorps. From the PBS Online Film Festival, the short documentary Injunuity: Buried features the story of a Native American burial ground and shellmound recently built over by a Bay Area mall.

Adrian Baker, director of Injunuity, one of 25 short videos in the PBS 2013 Online Film Festival

Adrian Baker, director of Injunuity, one of 25 short videos in the PBS 2013 Online Film Festival

Buried will be available on the PBS Online Film Festival webpage and the rest of the shorts will soon be available on the Injunuity website. The series captures field recordings of Native Americans who dissect issues such as Native American language preservation and education, remixed as three-minute animations in a variety of styles. The 25 films in the overall festival will be available between March 4 to 22.

Director Adrian Baker shared with us the inspiration for his cinematic collages and animations that capture modern-day Native American issues, as well as the stories of our shared past.

1. Why did you structure these stories in three-minute shorts?

There are so many issues to talk about and discuss, so many problems that need our attention. So rather than setting out to solve all of these issues or come to hard and fast conclusions, instead, I wanted to create starting points for discussions more than anything else. In three minutes you can create that foundation that’s necessary to begin meaningful dialog, but where it goes from there is up to the viewer, or the teacher who watches it with their classroom, or the parent who watches it with their child.

I also wanted to create pieces that fit into today’s quick twitch lifestyle where more media is being consumed in shorter amounts of time. The fixed running time model that we have for television is being replaced by the free form of the web, where time length isn’t dictated by commercial concerns or by what comes on before or after. And really, all you have to do is take a look at anyone’s Facebook feed to see that there are more and more shorter pieces of content being passed around and shared. Today’s viewer is on the go, watching a smart phone for ten minutes on BART [the Bay Area’s commuter rail service]. So there is a growing market for shorter content. But what may be the best thing about the three-minute short is that, even if the viewer doesn’t like it that much, no matter where you are in the piece, even if it’s just beginning, it’s almost over. Continue reading

The Power of Words: “Story of an Egg” Now Streaming in PBS Online Film Festival

ITVS is thrilled that Douglas Gayeton’s “Story of an Egg” has been selected as part of the PBS Online Film Festival. The video is one of three short films produced for the Lexicon of Sustainability, a multiplatform project that uses photo collage, animation, and hand-written typography to explore terms and ideas behind sustainable agriculture. 

Watch 2013 Festival | Story of an Egg on PBS. See more from PBS Online Film Festival.

The Lexicon of Sustainability is based on a simple premise: people can’t be expected to live more sustainable lives if they don’t even know the most basic terms and principles that define sustainability.

For three years Douglas Gayeton and Laura Howard-Gayeton crisscrossed the USA to learn this new language of sustainability from its foremost practitioners in food and farming. In all, nearly two hundred leaders in food and farming from across the country have contributed their valued experiences to this rapidly growing Lexicon.

“The Story of an Egg” follows poultry farmers David Evans and Alexis Koefoed as they explain the real meaning behind such terms as “cage free,” “free range,” and “pasture raised” so that consumers can make informed decisions when they go to their local supermarket.
Continue reading

Four ITVS Shorts Featured in PBS Online Film Festival

Beginning Monday, March 4, PBS will launch the second annual Online Film Festival, showcasing 25 short films from independent filmmakers. The festival will last through March 22 and can be accessed via the PBS website and PBS’s YouTube channel.

Watch 2013 | Film Festival Trailer on PBS. See more from PBS Online Film Festival.

PBS announced yesterday that its popular PBS Online Film Festival will return for a second year, beginning Monday, March 4, 2013. Viewers are encouraged to vote for their favorite short film from March 4 through March 22, to help determine the People’s Choice Award.

The featured shorts were produced by a number of public media partners, including POV and the National Minority Consortia which comprises Pacific Islanders in Communications (PIC), the National Black Programming Consortium (NBPC); the Center for Asian American Media (CAAM); Latino Public Broadcasting (LPB); and Native American Public Telecommunications (NAPT). Continue reading

POV Unveils the 25 Greatest Documentaries of All Time

By Maria Goodavage
Managing Editor, ITVS

Your votes are in, the ballots have been counted, and the PBS series POV has announced the 25 Greatest Documentaries of All Time. Some may surprise you, others not so much.

The top contender is far from a new film. In fact, it’s one of the older documentaries on the list. But despite its gray title, it’s a lively, quirky, colorful story – one that 37 years later is still mesmerizing viewers. We’re not giving away its name, because you’ll want to go to the winners’ list, where you can see clips from all the top films. But if you’re a big documentary buff, you’ve probably figured it out by now.

“Great” is in the eye of the beholder, of course. POV received more than 1,000 suggestions of beloved documentaries during the November online voting period. What do you think of the list? If you voted, was your film on there? And you can tell us: Did you believe in your favorite film so much that you voted more than once? (It’s OK. Unlike presidential elections, you were encouraged to cast more than one vote.)