One filmmaker at Sundance, Sarah Polley, proudly declared her preference for documentaries in an interview: “I’ve always liked documentaries more than fictional narrative films. I can sit through any documentary and it will be educational even if it’s terrible, but a bad feature film can make me want to die.”
A curated list of indie news and recommendations from ITVS’s Rebecca Huval.
Celebrity documentaries don’t have to be brainless. Australia’s Special Broadcasting Service compiled a list of the top ten performer documentaries, including such classics as the Bob Dylan film Don’t Look Back and Madonna: Truth or Dare. (via POV)
If you’re wondering where the inventive imagery of Beasts of the Southern Wild came from, check out the director Behn Zeitlin’s first animated short, the bizarre and fascinating Egg, based on Moby-Dick.
Finally, a level-headed examination of what it takes for a professional film to succeed on the web from Short of the Week: “Cat videos and bad web series are not your competition. Your real competition is the 5,000 other dramas shot with shallow depth-of-field and digital effects that go up every week.” Continue reading →
This year’s deadline for the Diversity Development Fund (DDF) falls on November 11. On Tuesday, November 1 at 1PM PT / 4PM ET, ITVS Programming Manager Karim Ahmad will be taking questions from interested applicants in a live chat on BTB.
The 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 underserved audiences with programs that take creative risks, explore complex issues, inspire dialogue and express points of view seldom seen on commercial or public television. Continue reading →
Find PBS Indies on iTunes and watch award-winning documentary films at half price from now until October 17.
For films buffs and documentary lovers out there, we have some good news to share. PBS will be offering the best documentaries on iTunes at 50% off from October 4–17.
Visit iTunes and search for PBS Indies and you’ll find what you’re looking for. From the hilarious film Men Who Swim, to Meghan Eckman’s cult-favorite The Parking Lot Movie, and the latest documentary behind a cultural comic-book phenomenon in Wham! Bam! Islam!
There is more than enough content on PBS Indies to keep you entertained. Visit PBS Indies on iTunes from October 4-17 and be inspired through the power of documentary film.
Your votes have been counted and the ITVS Indies Showcase Audience Award goes to A Panther in Africa!
To bring closure to the inaugural ITVS Indies Showcase festival which just wrapped up, viewers were asked to select a favorite film for the always-coveted Audience Award. Well, the votes have been tallied and the Indies Showcase Audience Award winner is A Panther in Africa.
The documentary by filmmaker Aaron Matthews, which originally aired on POV, tells the story of Pete O’Neal, a Black Panther living in exile in Tanzania who commits his life to activism and community service.
Congratulations to the filmmaker and thanks to everyone who voted!
Independent Lensannounced Wednesday the launch of its 10th season on PBS featuring a remarkable lineup of 30 films from a broad range of talented independent filmmakers. The Emmy Award-winning series moves to Thursday nights at 10 PM (check local listings) and will premiere on October 13, 2011 with Wham! Bam! Islam!
The fall season of Independent Lens opens with a film directed by Isaac Solotaroff, Wham! Bam! Islam!, which explores the rocky road to acceptance and success for the first Islamic-themed comic book series featuring Muslim superheroes.
Other documentary features making their premieres include: Donor Unknown, directed by Jerry Rothwell, about a group of young women and men conceived by artificial insemination who set out to discover their biological father and in the process meet their (many) siblings; We Still Live Here — Âs Nutayuneân, directed by Anne Makepeace (presented during Native American Heritage Month), captures the return of the Wampanoag nation’s lost native language, the first time a language with no native speakers has been revived in this country.
Additional programming highlights include three documentaries featuring individuals who are facing unique challenges: Lives Worth Living,directedby Eric Neudel, looks at Fred Fay, a man who survived a devastating spinal cord injury when he was only 16, and turned his misfortune into a movement for disabled equality;Deaf Jam, directed by Judy Lieff, focuses on deaf teen Aneta Brodski’s discovery of American Sign Language (ASL) poetry, and her bold journey into the spoken word slam scene; and You’re Looking At Me Like I LiveHere and I Don’t,directed by Scott Kirschenbaum, questions our preconceptions of illness and aging through a first person account of Lee Gorewitz’s life inside an Alzheimer’s care home in California.
In celebration of ITVS’s 20th Anniversary, the organization will stream 20 groundbreaking documentaries from July 25 to September 23, as a part of the ITVS Indies Showcase.
The Independent Television Service is turning 20. To celebrate, we’re launching the ITVS Indies Showcase, a free online film festival featuring a succession of 20 unforgettable documentaries July 25 to September 23.
We’re fortunate to be able to honor the extraordinary contributions of independent filmmakers to public television. Each full-length program will stream free for three days as part of ITVS Indies Showcase, where viewers will also find a timeline of ITVS’s history, film trailers, clips, interviews, an audience award contest, and more.
The ITVS Indies Showcase line-up represents a sample of the 1,000-plus productions ITVS has supported as the country’s leading provider of independent films for public broadcasting.
Tune in next week as films will start streaming on Monday, July 25!
One of BTB’s chief responsibilities is to keep an eye out for news the independent producer can use. With that in mind, we asked our Programming Department to highlight upcoming deadlines for us — featuring funding opportunities, festival deadlines, and other things you may find helpful. These will be for both U.S. and international producers … Enjoy and good luck!
Jan Vrijman Fund
DEADLINE: May 15, 2011
The Jan Vrijman Fund is looking for creative documentaries and documentary events in developing countries (PDF). Funding categories include Script and Project Development, Production and Post-Production, and Other activities (including Distribution Initiatives; Documentary Film Festivals; Documentary Workshops). The Jan Vrijman Fund gives financial support twice a year. Application deadlines are January 15 and May 15. Click here for more details.
CAAM Media Fund
DEADLINE: May 19, 2011
The Center for Asian American Media (CAAM) seeks provocative and engaging proposals from independent media producers with projects intended for public television broadcast. Offered once a year, this round of funding is for applicants with documentary projects at the production and/or post-production stage. Click here for more details.
The 54th San Francisco International Film Festival runs April 21 through May 5. ITVS’ Better this Worldis among the competition for Best Documentary Feature.
America’s longest-running film festival gets underway Thursday in San Francisco. Bay Area residents interested in navigating through the 188 films from 48 countries on display — should visit this nifty feature from the Bay Area Citizen to help find what’s right for them.
ITVS is well represented this year at SFIFF with the doc Better this World competing for Best Documentary Feature. The doc, which is headed to P.O.V.this fall, tells the story of two childhood friends from Midland, Texas who fall under the sway of a charismatic revolutionary.
Just this past weekend, Directors Katie Galloway and Kelly Duane de la Vega’s film picked up top honors with the Documentary Jury Prize at the 2011 Sarasota Film Festival.
In addition to San Francisco, Better this World will be playing multiple festivals over the next month in Minneapolis, Boston, Toronto, and Baltimore.
The Tribeca Film Festival gets started today in New York and runs until May 1. The festival was founded in 2002 as a response to the events of 9/11, to help Lower Manhattan recover after the tragedy, and to celebrate the vitality and diversity of New York City through filmmaking.
Each year ITVS participates in the festival by meeting with filmmakers involved in the Tribeca All Access program. From April 22-28, ITVS’ Vice President of Programming Claire Aguilar will be in NYC to participate in the All Access development meetings with producers of color.
Plus, a special All Access screening of shorts from the second season of FUTURESTATES will screen on Saturday, April 23rd at 2:30PM at the Clearview Cinemas in Chelsea. This year’s selection, listed below, highlights Tribeca All Access alumni as well as emerging New York filmmaking talent: