Check Out the American Graduate Shorts!

The Graduates/Los Graduados explores the national high school dropout crisis through the eyes of six Latino students. While the two-part special airs Monday, October 28th and November 4th, audiences can also watch five additional short films online, each showcasing additional challenges faced by today’s Latino youth. 

The five short films are part of the American Graduate public media initiative, supported by Corporation for Public Broadcasting, to help local communities across America find solutions to address the dropout crisis. These shorts (which include Can’t Hold Me Back, I Really Want to Make It, Immigrant High, and Skipping Up) collectively showcase a diverse array of determined Latino adolescents, from Oakland to Detroit, New York to San Antonio, who have all struggled to overcome challenges — gang violence, drugs, poverty, young motherhood, and language barriers — as they keep their eyes on the prize: a high school diploma.

Watch all five shorts after the jump! Continue reading

A New Season of Community Cinema is Upon Us!

The new season of Community Cinema will screen six documentaries in more than 100 cities across the country, in addition to hosting online social screenings through the innovative OVEE platform.

The 2013-14 season of Community Cinema officially launched in September, offering an exciting slate of films and new ways to participate. First up, partners are screening the two part series The Graduates/Los Graduados prior to its Independent Lens broadcast premiere dates on Monday, October 28 and November 4 (check local listings). The series features first-hand perspectives on the challenges facing Latino and Latina high school students from across the U.S.

The Graduates/Los Graduados is the first entirely bilingual English-Spanish Community Cinema engagement campaign, with resources including an incredibly creative and engaging Youth Action Guide designed to get young people involved in increasing their school-wide graduation rates. At screenings, a few lucky educators and youth leaders will get to take home their own DVDs with the films, short format modules, and tools to help bring other important stakeholders into the conversation. With the support of CPB’s American Graduate initiative behind The Graduates/Los Graduados, the Community Cinema screenings through October will help start the school year off right with impactful, solution-oriented discussions on education and equality. Continue reading

Vote for ITVS with the SXSW Panel Picker!

Public voting for SXSW Interactive 2014 is well underway. Check out ITVS’s two panel proposals and vote for your favorites – hurry, voting closes September 6th!

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ITVS is proud to to be part of two proposed panel discussions for next year’s SXSW festival in Austin. We may be biased but we think both our panels are very worthy of inclusion in SXSW programming, and we could use your vote. So sign up and give us a thumb’s up!

First off is the “New Narratives: Building An Interactive Storyworld” panel that ITVS and some of our partners (Storycode, San Francisco Film Society) are doing around interactive fiction film (e.g. the new Futurestates, some upcoming hackathons, etc.), its emergence as a new and untapped genre, and why it’s important for feature makers.

“This is such an exciting time to be working in digital content – interactive documentaries are everywhere, changing people’s notions of how to tell a story,” says Karim Ahmad, Senior Programming Manager at ITVS. “But when you think about the implications of these new platforms for fictional storyworlds, the possibilities are literally limitless. What does an interactive fictional film or web series look like? How do you build one? Why would you even want to build one? These are all the things we’re going to explore in our panel.” Continue reading

Relive the Movie Magic with #ThrowbackThursday!

Join ITVS’s Independent Lens each week for a special #ThrowbackThursday dip into the archives. 

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If you’re a fan of Instagram and Twitter (and let’s be honest, who isn’t?), you’ve probably seen or used the hashtag #ThrowbackThursday. The social trend is so popular that on Instagram alone, there are over 23 million pictures tagged with #ThrowbackThursday and another 40 million captioned with #tbt.

ITVS’s Emmy-award winning series, Independent Lens, is joining in on the fun by unlocking the PBS Video vault. Every Thursday, Independent Lens is announcing the revival of a previous aired, fan favorite film. The “throwback” docs are only available on PBS.org for one week, so take advantage while you can.

This week’s #ThrowbackThursday offering is Summer Pasture, the story of a young nomadic couple living with their infant daughter in eastern Tibet.  The documentary provides a rare window into a highly insular community seldom seen by outsiders. In the collective imagination of Tibet, nomads have traditionally occupied a dual role — romanticized as embodying the purest form of Tibetan identity, and mocked as being backwards, uncivilized, and inferior.

Follow Independent Lens on Twitter and Instagram for future #ThrowbackThursday announcements and other tasty morsels for your indie pleasure.

Submit Your Film to Independent Lens!

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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.

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

ITVS Backs Award at the 2013 Pixel Market

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ITVS and Power to the Pixel (PttP) announce the ITVS Impact Pixel Market prize for the best social impact project.

ITVS is excited to partner with this year’s Pixel Market in launching a new award for the best social impact project. Over $4,500 (£3,000) in development funding will be awarded to the winning fiction or non-fiction project that makes a significant social impact.

The Pixel Market lies at the heart of PttP’s Cross-Media Forum, now in its seventh year, which covers the latest trends in audience behavior and new business models in the international marketplace.

The Cross-Media Forum will take place October 15 through 18, 2013 in association with the 57th BFI London Film Festival. The four-day event incorporates a conference, a think tank, and The Pixel Market, a two-day finance and co-production market.

The deadline for entries to the market and eligibility for the ITVS Impact Pixel Market Prize is August 1, 2013.

To learn more about The Pixel Market and Power to the Pixel’s Cross-Media Forum, please click here.

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

Independent Lens and ITVS Receive Eight News and Documentary Emmy Nominations

The News and Documentary Emmy nominations are in and several Independent Lens docs and ITVS-funded films have been recognized by the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences.

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Danfung Dennis’ Hell and Back Again — which had previously been nominated for an Oscar — was nominated for a Best Documentary Emmy. The film intimately traces a Marine’s rough re-landing back Stateside after a stint in Afghanistan.

Brad Lichtenstein’s film As Goes Janesville, about how the recession hit a Wisconsin town and what it says about the American Dream, is nominated in the Outstanding Investigative Journalism Long Form category.

David Weissman’s We Were Here, which movingly looked back at how the AIDS epidemic both ravaged San Francisco but also brought it together in inspiring ways, was nominated for Outstanding Historical Programming Long Form.

Aaron Schock’s Circo, which follows a Mexican circus family struggling to maintain their way of life in a rough economy, was nominated in the Outstanding Arts & Culture Programming category.

“We congratulate all the filmmakers nominated today,” said Lois Vossen, Independent Lens Senior Series Producer. “The extraordinary quality of their work demonstrates again the unique and vital role that independent documentarians play as journalists, going behind the headlines to delve deeper into the most important issues of our time.”

We’re also proud that ITVS-funded documentaries for PBS’s POV series, including Give Up Tomorrow (directed by Michael Collins) and Granito: How to Nail a Dictator (directed by Pamela Yates), received Emmy recognition as well, nominated in the Outstanding Investigative Journalism Long Form category; while the ITVS-funded Frontline film The Interrupters (directed by Hoop Dreams filmmaker Steve James) was nominated for Outstanding Informational Programming and Outstanding Editing.

Click here for the entire list of nominations for the 34th Annual News and Documentary Emmy Awards.

Children of the Northern Lights: Season Finale of FUTURESTATES

Producer Cara Marcous gives us an inside look at the inspiration behind the season finale of FUTURESTATESChildren of the Northern Lights, which is available to stream for free at futurestates.tv and on pbs.org.

Watch Children of the Northern Lights | June 5 on FUTURESTATES on PBS. See more from FutureStates.

Writer and director Andrew MacLean drew his original inspiration for the film from a traditional Iñuit legend of the same name, whose ideas had always resonated with him. The legend is about a hunter who comes in contact with a group of mysterious children who are pillaging his food stores. He thinks they are thieves. He eventually discovers that the children are actually the spirits of the Northern Lights, beings drawn from the stillborn children of his people and they are starving. The hunter is moved by the struggle of these spirits and resolves to focus his hunting on finding sustenance for them. Ultimately, he is able to nourish them, but does not have enough food to feed himself, so he sacrifices his own life for the children’s – and for the vitality and beauty of the Northern Lights.

Andrew felt a natural connection between this story and his own interest in how we balance the needs and priorities of the individual with those of humanity. Through FUTURESTATES, he saw that dilemma in the context of resource exploitation and colonization, and how that might play out in our not-too-distant future. Continue reading