Help Us Improve Our Community Classroom Materials for Educators

Community Classroom is an innovative and free resource for educators, offering short-form film modules adapted from ITVS’s award-winning documentaries and standards-based lesson plans for high school and community colleges, NGOs, and youth organizations.

Do you work with young people? Have you used our FREE resources for educators? Community Classroom features lesson plans and film modules from award-winning documentaries and new media projects from Independent Lens and ITVS.

Tell us what you think about our materials. Take 15 minutes to complete our short survey and you will be entered for a chance to win a Kodak PLAY flipcam.

Check out (or for more information on all of our FREE film modules and lesson plans.

Joint Task Force Working to Boost Audience for Indies on PBS

ITVS, POV, and PBS Leadership Meet Weekly to Develop New Indies Strategy

During most of the past decade, Independent Lens and POV together have provided a year-round broadcast slot of independent documentary films, airing on Tuesday nights at 10 PM, with POV running June to October with special presentations in other months and Independent Lens airing October through June.

In May 2011, changes in PBS’s prime-time schedule moved Independent Lens and POV to 10 PM on Thursdays, a night traditionally reserved for stations’ local and syndicated programming. For Independent Lens, the move has resulted in a significant decline in both station carriage and viewership.
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Introducing the New Independent Lens Film Club (#ILDocClub)

This week, Independent Lens introduced its own documentary club on twitter #ILDocClub. The tag will be used to generate live chatter from around the country during the show’s national broadcast on PBS.

Here’s how it works: Wham Bam Islam! is premiering Thursday at 10pm on most PBS stations (check here to see when it is on in your area). While you watch, or after you’ve watched, fire up Twitter and start tweeting about the film using the hashtag #ILDocClub. (It helps to be following the show too: @IndependentLens).

Independent Lens staff will be there to ask and answer questions, along with Wham Bam Islam!’s director Isaac Solotaroff (@WhamBamIslam). Join the chat this Thursday for a great conversation about the film, comics, Islam in Western society and culture, and whatever else you’re interested in.

Sign up this week and get in the habit of not just watching acclaimed documentaries but discussing them with other indie lovers, filmmakers, and everyonne in between…

See you on Twitter!

The Longoria Affair Nominated for an Emmy

The Longoria Affair (El caso Longoria) — which aired this past November on Independent Lens — has been nominated for an Emmy in the Outstanding Historical Programming Long Form category. The film examines the refusal of a Texas funeral home to care for the body of WWII Mexican American soldier. Filmmaker John Valadez spoke with Independent Lens about the film and its impact through a series of community screenings.

When you set out to tell this story through film, was there a particular audience you wanted to reach, and if so, did you succeed?

I remember when I first started college, I came across a really stunning and disheartening statistic: the high school drop out rate for Xicanos hovers was around 50 percent and it has been that way for at least half a century.  That fact has always troubled me.  For Mexican American kids who do get into college they find a world largely devoid of educational materials about how Xicanos have helped shape the destiny of this country.  The same absence in history that is so devastating to Mexican Americans is something that ultimately hurts non-Xicano students as well.  You can look to the ethnic studies wars taking place in Arizona to see just how determined many policy makers are to maintain this absence of self-knowledge.
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170 Million Campaign Marches On

A national webinar will be held on Tuesday, June 28 at 2 p.m. ET to discuss plans for the next phase of the 170 Million Americans for Public Broadcasting campaign.

More than 370,000 citizen advocates have joined the 170 Million Americans for Public Broadcasting campaign, surpassing the organization’s original goal of securing 250,000 advocates. As a a result, 170 Million has set their sites on a new target, one million advocates! The campaign relies on grassroots support to defend federal funding, which is vital to sustain local public media stations and organizations.
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Look Who’s Tweeting Now…

ITVS Education Manager Annelise Wunderlich profiles one of our newest followers on Twitter: Teresa Ann Isaac, the former mayor of Lexington, Kentucky and a major advocate of women’s leadership.

We met Teresa Ann Isaac via Twitter, when she messaged about the live chat we co-hosted with PBS NewsHour last month on Bhutto and women’s leadership.

Turns out, Teresa Ann Isaac is a pretty amazing woman leader herself. She is the former mayor of Lexington, Kentucky and since 2005, the U.S. State Department has sent her to train women leaders in Chile, Argentina, Namibia, South Africa, Pakistan, and Uganda, as part of a democracy project.
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Catch New Year Baby Sunday Night on Global Voices

The documentary follows the personal story of filmmaker Socheata Poeuv, who grew up in the U.S. never knowing that her family survived the Khmer Rouge genocide in Cambodia. On Friday, Poeuv participated in a live chat — alongside fellow doc filmmaker Jocelyn Glatzer — to discuss her film in honor of Asian American Heritage Month. New Year Baby airs Sunday night on Global Voices on the WORLD Chanel.

FOCUS ON: Kim Snyder, Director of Welcome to Shelbyville

By Melody Morgan

FOCUS ON is a regular interview series profiling independent filmmakers and their projects. Up this week is Kim Snyder, whose documentary Welcome to Shelbyville, aired last week on Independent Lens. The documentary is currently streaming free online at

Why did you originally want to become a filmmaker and has that reason changed?

I love film. I’ve always enjoyed storytelling and I felt a compelling drive to express myself in this format.  My entire family was in the arts, and my father is an artist, which also greatly informed me.  With documentary, I’ve observed and experienced the power of the genre to ignite social change, and motivate people to participate in civic dialogue — and that is very rewarding for me.
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ITVS & WORLD Host Live Chat with Filmmakers in Honor of Asian American Heritage Month

Filmmakers Socheata Poeuv (New Year Baby) and Jocelyn Galtzer (The Flute Player) will participate in a live chat at 10 AM PT / 1 PM ET on Friday, May 27. The documentary New Year Baby airs Sunday, May 29 on Global Voices on the WORLD Channel.

New Year Baby follows the personal story of filmmaker Socheata Poeuv, who grew up in the United States never knowing that her family survived the Khmer Rouge genocide. Poeuv embarks on a journey to Cambodia in search of the truth about her family’s past.
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From “Television’s Independent Voice” to “Public Media’s”

By Sally Jo Fifer

ITVS President & CEO Sally Jo Fifer explains why the times call for a new tagline.

Since 1991, the work and mission of ITVS has been reflected in our simple tagline: “Television’s Independent Voice.”  Twenty years later, after careful consideration, we have made a small but important change, becoming “Public Media’s Independent Voice.”

The most obvious reason for this change is that what we once called television now intermingles and crossbreeds with video media on countless devices: desktops, laptops, tablets, smart phones, gaming consoles.  The most important reason, however, has less to do with the devices than with a moment of truth for public media in the brave new 21st century world.
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