KLRU Presents a Social Screening of When I Rise

Join our friends over at KLRU for a very special screening of When I Rise, on Wednesday, January 30, at 7pm CT.  

Watch When I Rise – Promo on PBS. See more from Independent Lens.

When I Rise profiles Barbara Smith Conrad, a gifted University of Texas music student, who finds herself at the epicenter of racial controversy, struggling against the odds and ultimately ascending to the heights of international opera. Director Mat Hames and executive producer Don Carleton will be on hand during the screening to answer questions and chat about their experiences making the film.

Participants can join for free by signing in with Facebook or directly on the site, interacting with other viewers and panelists in real-time, while watching the film. Viewers can comment, ask questions, take polls, and even express their feelings about what they’re watching through a variety of tools on the site. This is an entirely new way of experiencing documentary films and it is inherently social.

AIR and ITVS Partner Up for Next Step in Pubmedia Innovation

Last week, ITVS and AIR, Inc. announced a partnership that will boost support for transformative public media work through Locolore, a multi-million dollar initiative designed to help spark a new vision of 21st century public media.

Localore provides more than a million dollars in CPB funding to 10 lead producers who work with local public stations to increase their organizational capacity for innovation. From coast to coast, Localore producers, technologists, and their stations are inventing new ways to blend craft, forging “full spectrum” productions that reach and involve citizens on air, screen, and streets. 

ITVS has invited Localore producer-station teams to apply for a second year of funding through the LINCS initiative, where selected productions will have the opportunity to continue their groundbreaking projects, with AIR serving in an advisory role.

The production has already yielded an array of fresh public media models, designed to reach and involve community members — from a rich multimedia music map in Austin, to a new style of short form video documentary chronicling the oil boom of North Dakota, to a digitally reversed version of the farmer’s almanac that tells the story of climate change in Paonia, CO. 

The partnership builds on previous AIR-ITVS collaborations to support transformative public media. To learn more, please click here.

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.)

The 2012 ITVS Digital Survey

ITVS Digital Initiatives Director, Matthew Meschery, introduces the organization’s 2012 Digital Survey for independent filmmakers. The report examines the digital trends of the past year and takes a look at what producers can expect to find in the year ahead. Watch a brief summary of the report below and find the complete survey in PDF form, at the bottom of the post.

U.S. INPUT 2013 Call for Entries

INPUT 2013 will be held in El Salvador on May 6 – 9, 2013. All U.S. programs must be submitted to U.S. INPUT pre-selection. The deadline for U.S. submissions is Friday, November 9, 2012 at 5 pm EST.

The International Public Television Screening Conference (INPUT) is a global meeting point for public broadcasting professionals to challenge the boundaries of media in the public interest. By screening and debating the most outstanding programs from around the world, INPUT builds an intercultural and international media network that encourages the development of public service broadcasting.

Each country holds its own national selection at a different time so please adhere to this U.S. deadline. For instructions and guidelines to enter your public media film, TV show or interactive, go to www.usinput-tv.org.

Get Involved with Half the Sky

The day has arrived! Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide premieres on Independent Lens this week (October 1&2) on PBS. This special two-night event has a myriad of ways you can be a part of the stories you’ll see, from a social TV application to a mosaic of Half the Sky fans.

With a range of social media activities in place, everyone is invited to be part of the Half the Sky movement. Here’s how you can join us:

  • Find us on yap.TV. Want a more social experience during the broadcast of Half the Sky? Eager to find exclusive behind the scenes content with the celebrity activists and change agents? yap.TV is a social TV program guide where you can chat with fans online while watching programs. Half the Sky will provide exclusive content for their yap.TV audience. To sign up today, download the yap.TV app, add Half the Sky to your favorites, and watch America Ferrera interview Urmi Basu in a short film about the caste system. Tune in with yap.TV for more conversations and exclusives during the broadcast on October 1st and 2nd.

Celebrate American Graduate Day With Public Media

American Graduate Day, a multi-platform event being held on Saturday, September 22, features local and national programming, partners, and celebrities focused on improving the nation’s graduation rates.

Launched in 2011 by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), American Graduate: Let’s Make It Happen is public media’s initiative to help communities address the dropout crisis. The project includes television and radio specials, screenings, Teacher Town Halls with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, community partnerships, engaging curricula for students in an out of the classroom, and includes ITVS programming that focuses on the Latino community. The high school dropout rate is an issue that has many faces and affects people in many walks of life—and people across the country are taking action.

More than 20 national partner organizations, celebrities, and athletes are coming together to celebrate the first ever American Graduate Day on September 22, 2012. With a national TV broadcast produced by WNET New York Public Media, a PRX produced radio broadcast with premiere documentaries, and local content provided by PBS and NPR, this public media initiative will help spotlight solutions to the nation’s dropout crisis. Continue reading

ITVS Prepares for Beta Tests of Enhanced OVEE

By Dru Sefton
Originally published on Current.org 

Web engagement tool provides platform for virtual dialogue

An infusion of CPB funding is allowing the Independent Television Service to add more features to OVEE, the online engagement tool that ITVS calls “the world’s first fully functional social screening platform.”

The latest version of OVEE features a customizable strip with a “Donate” button for stations. “Imagine a Downton Abbey screening with [creator] Julian Fellowes online,” said Dennis Palmieri of ITVS. “OVEE can do that.”

“No other media outlet has this,” said Dennis Palmieri, director of innovation and media strategy for San Francisco–based ITVS. The Online Video Engagement Experience platform, a freestanding web application that synchs up multiple streams on the PBS COVE website, allows online viewers to interact in real time around content by signing on through the platform or via Facebook.

Pilot tests of OVEE by five pubTV stations and producers at Frontline and PBS NewsHour received positive responses. For the next pilot round, five pubradio stations will be among the beta group of 25 test sites.

“There’s an enormous amount of interest” from the radio side, Palmieri said. In markets with separate PBS and NPR member stations, “OVEE offers real opportunities for joint engagement.”

ITVS is considering both pubTV and radio stations as well as groups such as the National Federation of Community Broadcasters for the beta tests, Palmieri said. Each participant will receive grants of $5,000, and testing will commence in January 2013. OVEE’s official release is set for next spring.

A $575,000 grant approved in June boosted CPB’s aid to a total of $1.5 million. The latest grant backs more work by OVEE’s developer to fix bugs in the system and install snazzy new features. Continue reading

American Film Showcase Heads to Monterrey, Mexico

By Claire Aguilar
Vice President of Programming, ITVS

ITVS’s Claire Aguilar participated as a film expert at the American Film Showcase in Monterrey, Mexico in August and conducted a two-day workshop at the Escuela Adolfo Prieto. 

The American Film Showcase is an international cultural diplomacy initiative, a partnership between the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and the University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts (SCA).  The purpose of the Showcase is to bring people together worldwide through film, showcasing award-winning American films to international audiences through events worldwide.  Filmmakers and film experts discuss the films and conduct workshops to international audiences of festival participants, students, and the local communities.

Filmmaker Steve James during his workshop.

I had the pleasure of participating in the showcase as an expert and conducted two workshops for filmmakers and film students in Monterrey, Mexico, with an invitation from the US Consulate in Monterrey.  I was accompanied by filmmaker Steve James, who screened his latest film The Interrupters – about a group of “violence interrupters” in Chicago who try to protect their community from the violence they once employed.  Steve screened The Interrupters as part of the Monterrey International Film Festival, and to various community groups, including at-risk youth, violence “interrupters” in Mexico, and social aid workers.

Monterrey is Mexico’s third largest city, located in the Northeast foothills of the Sierra Madre mountain range.  It is a large and sprawling city that is Mexico’s 2nd richest, a commercial center filled with many multi-national corporations and is also rich in history and culture.  It also is the locus of many ongoing drug cartel battles – the Mexican drug war has touched many places in Mexico but has particularly affected Monterrey.  It was interesting to see The Interrupters - an American film about violence, drugs, and economic struggles – with many parallels to the violence around gangs and drugs in Mexico.  But it was also interesting to see how audiences in Mexico saw the similarities of universal conflict in the world and were fascinated in how these conflicts could be resolved at home. Continue reading

KLRU and Women and Girls Lead Shine A Spotlight on Austin Leaders

Public television partner KLRU announces women to be featured in new shorts inspired by Women and Girls Lead: Austin.

Women and Girls Lead Shorts profile American women from all walks of life who inspire with stories of resilience, hope, and empowerment. This series, created for the web and TV, is a collaboration between husband-and-wife filmmakers Carl and Betsy Crum, the Independent Television Service (ITVS), and several local public television stations in the United States

On August 23rd,  KLRU together with ITVS announced the next group of women and girls to be profiled for Women and Girls Lead: Austin.

Learn more about the eight women and girls who will be featured in the 2012-2013 shorts project (after the jump). Continue reading