ITVS Hires Inaugural Director of Development

unnamedITVS has brought in Alberto Villaluna as the organization’s inaugural Director of Development, to lead ITVS’s fundraising strategies in an effort to grow its visibility and diversify its financial resources. Villaluna comes with over 15 years of experience establishing successful relationships with individual donors, foundations, and corporate partners, including creating dynamic models to increase board and volunteer committee engagement within mission-driven organizations. He most recently served as Corporate Relations Consultant with the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, CA, where he focused on strategies to increase corporate partnerships.

Prior to CHM, Villaluna spent five years as Vice President of the Senior Fellows Network at American Leadership Forum (ALF) – Silicon Valley. During his tenure, Villaluna worked closely with the ALF Board of Directors, the Campaign Cabinet, Network Development and Fellowship committees to increase ALF’s funding. His work with ALF Board and Committee leadership resulted in record increases in tuition revenue, ALF Fellows joining the program, and Senior Fellows engaged with the ALF Network. Leading the ALF fund development campaign, his team raised $4M and his direct efforts led to the largest amount of individual donors giving at the major gift level.  Prior to ALF – SV, Villaluna also held the position of Executive Director of the Page Mill YMCA of Silicon Valley.

Alberto Villaluna is an ALF – SV Senior Fellow (Class XXV). He serves on the nonprofit boards of ALearn, an organization committed to helping underprivileged students get to and succeed in college, and FACES Silicon Valley, an organization dedicated to building an inclusive community, free of bias and bigotry through educational programs.

ITVS heads to Austin for SXSW ’16

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By Elisabeth Copper, @eacopper

Sr. Manager, Social Media

Can you believe it’s almost time to head to Austin for SXSW? It feels like just yesterday we were filling up on Torchy’s Tacos and partying with PBS at the Parish. We’ll be back in town this Friday to support our funded films, participate in panels, and keep tabs on what’s new and exciting in the film and tech world. If you’ll be joining us in the Lone Star State, here’s where we’ll be. Come say hi!

Film Screenings

If you have a Film, Gold, or Platinum badge, don’t miss these three ITVS-funded documentaries screening at the film festival this week.

Newtown

Filmed over the course of nearly three years, the filmmakers use unique access and never before heard testimonies to tell a story of the aftermath of the deadliest mass shooting of schoolchildren in American history. Newtown documents a traumatized community fractured by grief and driven toward a sense of purpose. Joining the ranks of a growing club to which no one wants to belong, a cast of characters interconnect to weave an intimate story of community resilience.

Tower

On August 1st, 1966, a sniper rode the elevator to the top floor of the University of Texas Tower and opened fire, holding the campus hostage for 96 minutes. When the gunshots were finally silenced, the toll included 16 dead, three dozen wounded, and a shaken nation left trying to understand. Combining archival footage with rotoscopic animation in a dynamic, never-before-seen way, TOWER reveals the action-packed untold stories of the witnesses, heroes and survivors of America’s first mass school shooting, when the worst in one man brought out the best in so many others.

Trapped

From 2011 to 2015, hundreds of regulations were passed restricting access to abortion in the US. Reproductive rights advocates refer to these as “TRAP” laws – Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers. Southern clinics, in particular, have been hit hardest and are now in a fight for survival. Trapped interweaves the personal stories behind these regulatory battles: from the physician, to the clinic owners, to the lawyers, to the women they are determined to help. In this feature length character driven film, our main characters fight alongside dedicated attorneys to preserve abortion rights in a country living with the mistaken belief that Roe v Wade still protects a woman’s right to choose.

Ovarian Psycos

Riding at night through the dangerous streets of Eastside Los Angeles, the Ovarian Psycos use their bikes to confront the violence in their lives. At the helm of the crew is founder Xela de la X, a single mother and poet M.C. dedicated to recruiting an unapologetic, misfit crew of women of color. The film intimately chronicles Xela as she struggles to strike a balance between her activism and nine year old daughter Yoli; street artist Andi who is estranged from her family and journeys to become a leader within the crew; and bright eyed recruit Evie, who despite poverty, and the concerns of her protective Salvadoran mother, discovers a newfound confidence.

Panels

Demystifying Digital Distribution

Thanks to the shift towards digital distribution, there’s more opportunity than ever for filmmakers to reach viewers and monetize their films. While video-on-demand has become an invaluable option, it also presents its own share of challenges. At this panel, industry experts Linzee Troubh, Scott Kaplan, Jason Kwong, and Flora Pereira will tell you what you need to know about launching titles on platforms such as Netflix, iTunes, and Amazon. They will provide an overview of the most common deal structures and windowing strategies, what factors distributors consider when negotiating a licensing deal, how much your rights are worth and which ones you should consider retaining or exploiting.

New Partnerships in Digital Storytelling

Are the futures of journalism and documentary intertwined? Filmmakers and journalists each play a vital role in informing the American public. While journalists excel at breaking news, filmmakers illuminate the personal, human stories behind the headlines. Doc film nonprofit ITVS presents, Kasia Cieplak-Mayr von Baldegg of The Atlantic, Erika Cohn, director of the documentary In Football We Trust, and Lois Vossen, Executive Producer of the anthology documentary series Independent Lens on PBS, will discuss the challenges and opportunities of a new model of in-depth storytelling, and provide insight on how journalists and filmmakers can work together to strike up critical conversations.

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!

ITVS Digital Open Call Now Accepting Submissions

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ITVS is excited to announce its call for entries for the Digital Open Call. Now in its second year, the fund will support independent filmmakers in developing and piloting original web series for public media’s digital platforms, including PBS.org, PBS-branded YouTube channels, and others. ITVS is thrilled to continue building a pipeline for producers to propose dynamic independent digital series projects for R&D and eventual production.

We seek web series that redefine the form and engage younger and more diverse viewership as we expand public media’s presence and mission into the digital sphere, with bold, unflinching, and innovative original storytelling that defies convention and tackles current and controversial issues. Applications for web series in any genre are eligible, and may incorporate interactive or transmedia elements.

The deadline to apply is May 2, 2016, and the online application is now live on the ITVS website, where prospective applicants can also learn more about eligibility and submission requirements. Selected applications will contract with ITVS to receive between $10,000 and $30,000 in R&D funding to develop and pilot their web series over the course of a three-month term.

Here are the four series projects we are proud to be supporting through the 2015 round of Digital Open Call:

PARTY GIRLS
Produced & directed by Michele Barnwell
Party Girls follows a group of young diverse women of varying personal, religious, and political beliefs, as they take a road trip together across America in the months leading up to the 2016 Presidential elections, engaging in the political process as voters for the first time in their lives.

POPS
Produced & directed by Garland McLaurin
Pops follows three African American men facing the toughest challenge of their lives: becoming good fathers. Their stories reflect the reality of black fathers in America, a role rarely portrayed and often stereotyped in the media.  

THE F WORD
Produced & directed by Nicole Opper & Kristan Cassady
The F-Word will chronicle the challenging and sometimes comedic journey of Nicole and Kristan, a queer Bay Area couple, into the foster care system to become fost-adopt parents.

A GOOD PLACE TO BE BLACK
Produced & directed by Angela Tucker
African Americans are returning to the South in one of the most notable migrations of the new century. But in this moment where churches are being burnt to the ground and crimes against black people are rising at a startling rate, This series looks at this new phenomena and asks the question, “where is a good place to be black?”

For further questions or inquiries about the ITVS Digital Open Call, please contact Programming & Production Coordinator Clementine Briand, at clementine_briand@itvs.org.

ITVS Funds Diverse Filmmakers Through Open Call

In its 25th year, ITVS is committed to open access, transparency, and diversity. In that spirit, ITVS is proud to release filmmaker statistics from our first round of Open Call funding in 2016. Over 300 filmmakers applied for ITVS’ Open Call; 48 percent were women and 40 percent were filmmakers of color. First-time applicants made up 42 percent of funded filmmakers, demonstrating our unique position of bringing new and diverse voices to the American public.

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ITVS funds programs from all points of view that bring new audiences to public television and expand civic participation by delivering diverse voices into the public sphere. ITVS begins its next round of open call for funding in July of 2016. We look forward to finding new and compelling stories to share with our viewers.

San Francisco Film Society’s New Doc Stories Series

We’re absolutely thrilled that our friends at the San Francisco Film Society (SFFS) have added a new documentary series to their autumn programming. An essential element of the organization’s year-round celebration of contemporary world cinema, the Fall Season spotlights international film cultures and now features Doc Stories, a brand-new showcase exhibiting some of the year’s best nonfiction films.

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With numerous filmmakers in attendance, Doc Stories (November 5-8 at the Vogue Theatre) will give audiences opportunities to see the movies that will likely define this year’s awards season while engaging in in-depth conversations about critical contemporary issues with some of the most talented documentary storytellers. From intensely personal essays to hard-hitting topical investigations into urgent global issues to examinations of some of culture’s most fascinating figures, there is something for everyone with an interest in the world around them in this inaugural festival.

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With films like What Happened, Miss Simone? and Cartel Land — movies already available streaming — the key difference brought to Film Society viewership will be the illuminating and thought-provoking onstage discussions with filmmakers and other special guests in attendance for each screening. SFFS will host directors for nearly every film in the program, putting them in dialogue with key cultural critics.

We’re so excited for this new series to get started. Don’t miss your chance to see the ITVS funded film  Thank You for Playing  on November 8th, and more at: sffs.org/tickets.

Help Bring ITVS to SXSW!

Public voting for SXSW 2016 is officially underway. Check out ITVS’s three panel proposals and vote for your favorites – hurry, voting closes September 4th!

ITVS is proud to be part of three proposed panel discussions for next year’s SXSW festival in Austin. Highlighting topics ranging from navigating digital distribution to bringing films from festival to broadcast, ITVS is eager to share the insight of industry experts and veteran filmmakers. We may be biased but we think all three of our panels are worthy of inclusion, so check out the panels below and head over to the Panel Picker to give us a thumb’s up!

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Filmmakers and journalists each play a vital role in informing the American public. While journalists excel at breaking news, filmmakers illuminate the personal, human stories behind the headlines. In our panel “New Partnerships in Digital Storytelling”, major players in the dynamic media landscape will discuss the challenges and opportunities of this new model of in-depth storytelling, and provide insight on how journalists and filmmakers can work together to strike up critical conversations.

Thanks to the shift towards digital distribution, there’s more opportunity than ever for filmmakers to reach viewers and monetize their films. While video-on-demand has become an invaluable option, it also presents its own share of challenges. At “Demystifying Digital Distribution,” industry experts will tell you what you need to know about launching titles on platforms such as Netflix, iTunes, and Amazon. Attendees with walk away with insight into common deal structures and windowing strategies, what factors distributors consider when negotiating a licensing deal, how much your rights are worth and which ones you should consider retaining or exploiting.

Last but certainly not least, “From Festival to TV: What Filmmakers Need to Know” will provide tips and strategies for filmmakers interested in making the most of their festival runs. Filmmakers Erika Cohn and Tony Vainuku will share their experience bringing “In Football We Trust” to the big screen, what they wish they’d done differently, and how they successfully landed a broadcast distribution deal. Independent Lens Deputy Executive Producer Lois Vossen will also be on hand.

Voting closes on September 4th, so take a moment to explore all the panels on the SXSW PanelPicker site and be sure to cast your vote before the deadline!

 

Behind the Scenes with the Makers of the Interactive Documentary After the Storm

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After the Storm, co-created by Andrew Beck Grace and Helios Design Studios, is an immersive personal essay created for online, tablet, and mobile viewing. Recently launched through a partnership with Independent Lens and The Washington Post, it tells the story of what happens after the storm passes, the media leaves town, and the adrenaline subsides.

ITVS Senior Content Producer Cathy Fischer asked filmmaker Andrew Grace and Creative Technologist Mike Robbins about the process and for some tips for filmmakers working in the emerging area of interactive documentary. 
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ITVS at SXSW 2015

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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.

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.

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PBS Listening Tour Comes to New York City: A Report

This post was originally published on the POV blog 

PBS Listening Tour

A National Listening Tour on Independent Film on PBS came to New York City on February 23, 2015 at SVA Theatre in Manhattan.

PBS, ITVS, POV, Independent Lens, Indie Caucus and WNET hosted a full house on the Independent Film on PBS Listening Tour on Monday, February 23 at the SVA Theatre in Manhattan.

Building on the conversation that began last month in San Francisco, a panel of PBS leadership, series producers and independent filmmakers heard from an audience of more than 400 filmmakers, local and national independent film organizations, public media advocates, educators and community leaders, and shared and discussed their perspectives on PBS’s role as a provider and platform for independent documentary films.

On stage, Beth Hoppe, Chief Programming Executive and GM and General Audience Programming at PBS, laid out new potential strategies around marketing initiatives, live events and theatrical distribution of independent films, while Marie Nelson, Vice President of News & Public Affairs at PBS, continued to welcome innovative ideas to promote larger viewership. Stephen Segaller, Vice President of Programming at WNET, further explained WNET’s reasoning for wanting to experiment with scheduling times for POV and Independent Lens, and was receptive to the concern of the New York City audience at the event.

Moderator Mikel Ellecessor did his best to drive the conversation to a new phase, urging speakers to move on from discussing proposed scheduling changes for POV and Independent Lens, towards bringing forward alternative suggestions to ensure that PBS provides independent film to its largest audience.

Simon Kilmurry, Executive Producer of POV, Sally Jo Fifer, President and CEO of ITVS and Executive Producer of Independent Lens, and Lois Vossen, Deputy Executive Producer of Independent Lens, provided their perspectives as representatives and funders of the two largest showcases for independent film on public television, while Marcia Smith, President of Firelight Media, and Dawn Porter, Director/Producer of Gideon’s Army and Indie Caucus representative, offered their experiences working with the series, and advocated for their continued prioritization by PBS locally and nationally.

PBS Listening Tour Panel NYC

From left to right: Simon Kilmurry, Executive Producer, POV; Dawn Porter, Director/Producer, Indie Caucus Representative; Marcia Smith, President, Firelight Media; Lois Vossen, Deputy Executive Producer, Independent Lens; Sally Jo Fifer, President and CEO, ITVS and Executive Producer, Independent Lens; Beth Hoppe, Chief Programming Executive and GM and General Audience Programming, PBS; Marie Nelson, Vice President, News & Public Affairs, PBS; Stephen Segaller, Vice President, Programming, WNET

Attendees waited in the aisles of the theatre to share their experiences, perspectives and concerns, touching on issues around the visibility of independent films on television, accessibility of programs in low-income neighborhoods of New York City and representation of the diversity of the city in programming decisions and scheduling. Speakers on the mic included POV and Independent Lens filmmakers, partners and founders.

PBS launched “Independent Film on PBS: A National Listening Tour” in partnership with ITVS, POV, Independent Lens, and WNET. The Indie Caucus and Kartemquin Films will host the next stop in Chicago in March, date TBD.