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.

Independent Film on PBS: The National Listening Tour Comes to New York City

This post was originally published on the POV blog 

listeningtour-500x306

On February 23, 2015 from 2 PM ET to 5 PM ET, POV, along with PBS, ITVS, WNET, Independent Lens and the Indie Caucus, will be in New York City for the second stop in the National Listening Tour for Independent Films on PBS at the SVA Theatre in Manhattan. RSVP now »

In keeping with its commitment to independent film and filmmakers, PBS leadership is hosting a series of open forums around the country with independent filmmakers, PBS series producers, and other public media and community partners. At each event, participants are invited to voice their priorities and innovative ideas on how all can work together to strengthen distribution, viewership and community engagement through Independent Lens, POV and all kinds of independent films.

Watch highlights from San Francisco, the first stop on the tour last month. The Indie Caucus and Kartemquin Films will host a third stop in Chicago in March, date TBD.

 

Listening Tour Kicks Off in San Francisco: A Report

PBS Listening Tour in San Francisco

On Saturday, PBS, ITVS, POV, Independent Lens, and WNET together led the first in a series of events to ignite conversations about the importance of independent documentary films — and the need to provide a prominent platform for indies.

More than 225 Bay Area filmmakers, local and national independent film organizations, public media advocates, educators, and community leaders turned out at the San Francisco Public Library to share and hear testimonials and ideas on how to build the visibility, reach, and impact of independent films by and about diverse, underrepresented communities on public broadcasting.

Their audience? PBS programming leaders Beth Hoppe and Marie Nelson, WNET’s Lesley Norman, ITVS’s Sally Jo Fifer, KQED’s Kevin Martin, Independent Lens’ Lois Vossen, POV’s Simon Kilmurry, filmmakers Orlando Bagwell and Tracy Droz Tragos, and community leaders Esta Soler of Futures Without Violence and Kin Folkz of Spectrum Queer Media.

The line to the microphone snaked up the auditorium aisle as attendees stepped up to tell the panel of “listeners” onstage about their experiences in making and using independent documentary to engage citizens of all ages in social issues, from poverty and homelessness to youth and women’s empowerment to LGBQT rights and gender-based violence. Many filmmakers expressed their hope for POV and Independent Lens to maintain a prominent position on the programming schedule amid recent headlines in trade press.

See a few highlights from the event here:

See coverage on Saturday’s event in Current: “Filmmakers push for common carriage at first stop in public TV ‘listening tour‘.”

PBS launched “Independent Film on PBS: A National Listening Tour” in partnership with ITVS, POV, Independent Lens, and WNET. WNET and POV will organize the next event to be held on February 23, 2015 in New York City, location TBD. The Indie Caucus and Kartemquin Films will host a third stop in Chicago in March, date TBD.

PBS, WNET, ITVS, Independent Lens and POV Statement

PBS, WNET, ITVS, Independent Lens and POV are working together in partnership over the next four months to develop a national strategy to raise the profile for independent film on public television and to reinforce PBS as the home for indies.

Together, we will be hosting a listening tour with independent filmmakers across the country to engage producers, stations and other stakeholders in the process.

While these discussions are underway, WNET will continue its broadcast of Independent Lens at 10 PM on Mondays on THIRTEEN.

ITVS and Independent Lens Receive 13 News and Documentary Emmy Nominations

The National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences announced this year’s nominees for the 35th annual News & Documentary Emmy® Awards, which recognizes outstanding achievement in broadcast journalism and documentary filmmaking. And ITVS is proud to say that nine of our documentaries received 13 nominations for 2013!

btb_emmy

PBS received a total of 43 nominations — the most of any network — including 10 nominations for Independent Lens, 11 nominations for FRONTLINE (two for the ITVS-funded Outlawed in Pakistan), and six for POV (including Reportero), so it’s a great day all around for public media documentaries! The News & Documentary Emmy Awards will be presented on Tuesday, September 30th, 2014, in New York City.

“These Emmy nominations are a testament to the expemplary journalism that independent documentary filmmakers practice,” said Lois Vossen, Independent Lens Deputy Executive Producer. “They reflect the extraordinary vitality and diversity of our vibrant independent documentary community.”

And without further ado, here are the ITVS films receiving Emmy honors: Continue reading

The ITVS Indie Roundup

A curated list of indie news and recommendations from ITVS’s Rebecca Huval.

San Franciscans, rejoice! Nick Offerman, who plays the meat-lovin’ libertarian and all-around heartthrob Ron Swanson on Parks and Recreation, will be in-person at the Roxie Theatre Saturday for the indie flick he stars in, Somebody Up There Likes Me.

MacArthur Foundation just awarded nine documentaries grants of more than $1 million total. Check out the lucky grantees, including ITVS-funded Cooked by Judith Helfand.

The 42nd edition of New Directors/New Films runs March 20 to 31 in New York City at the MoMA and the Films Society of Lincoln Center. Here are Hammer to Nail’s picks to watch.

Destin Daniel Cretton just won SXSW’s 2013 Grand Jury Award and the Audience Award for Narrative Feature competition for his premiere of Short Term 12. The San Francisco Film Society produced a lovely video interview of Cretton, where he talks about his filmmaking process and his start as a young storyteller, “building forts or making plays to perform to my mom or creating choreographed dance moves.”

Live chat with Ashley Sabin, director of Girl Model, and model Rachel Blais March 24th at 7 p.m. EST at POV.

Good news for The Hamilton Wood Type & Printing Museum, featured in the documentary Typeface! The collection of “over one million pieces of wood type” has a new location in its hometown of Two Rivers, Wisconsin, but twice the size. (via @Kartemquin)

“Should Filmmakers Learn to Code?” asks MIT Open Documentary Lab as part of its new blog series. In the second installment, documentarian Elaine McMillion (Hollow) said, “As an interactive storyteller, you need to have an understanding of user experience, design and coding, but most importantly you have to understand what makes a strong narrative.”

The ITVS Indie Roundup

A curated list of indie news and recommendations from ITVS’s Rebecca Huval.

These 22 storytelling tips by Emma Coates, Pixar’s former story artist, are as uplifting and imaginative as Pixar’s films, and the guidelines are useful for non-fiction and fiction storytellers alike.

If you’re hungry for more storytelling tips, check out this Kickstarter campaign for a “creative advice book” by 50 of the world’s preeminent documentary filmmakers. “Learn from your mistakes,” says James Marsh, director of Man on Wire. “Write them all down and torment yourself with them.”

There are so many interesting transmedia storytelling projects, it seems impossible to keep up. AIR’s Public Media Scan addresses this by featuring five projects weekly “at the intersection of technology, journalism, and blended media craft.” (via @povdocs)

Interested in making a short film? IFP shares how short videos can lift your overall filmmaking career.

SXSW rages on this week in Austin with a host of compelling documentary panels, screenings, and interactive storytelling workshops. Over at Indiewire, meet the filmmakers who are presenting their work at SXSW.

Doc lovers in Chicago have just as much to be excited about. The Society for Cinema and Media Studies (SCMS) 2013 Chicago Conference will unite legendary filmmakers and critics March 6 to 10.

Something for everyone this week! New Yorkers, check out POV Digital, Non-fiction Storytelling presented by the creator of the POV Hacakthon, Adnaan Wasey, March 19 at the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism. The event features “insights into cross-platform and immersive projects in a completely different way from many of the fiction projects StoryCode has presented.”

The ITVS Indie Roundup

A curated list of indie news and recommendations from ITVS’s Rebecca Huval.

The real reason we watch the Oscars: the surprising gaffes. Here are the best and worst moments of the Academy Awards ceremonies since 2008.

First-time documentary filmmakers, apply by March 8! You can get mentorship when you sorely need it through IFP’s Independent Filmmaker Labs, which guide low-budget films (less than $1 million) through completion, marketing, and distribution.

New York doc lovers should check out the Documentary Fortnight 2013 showcase at MoMA, Feb. 15 to March 4, and enter at POV to win free tickets to MoMA Selects: POV screenings.

Now in its third year, the upstart Open City Doc Fest in London rages on June 20 to 23. Late deadline for submissions is March 4!

If you haven’t seen it already, watch a snippet of the Oscar-nominated documentary How to Survive a Plague and learn about the filmmaker’s original inspiration. (via @TheBayCitizen)

Recovered Super 8 footage of President Nixon in the documentary Our Nixon will cap the New Films/New Directors festival on March 31.

The ITVS Indie Roundup

A curated list of indie news and recommendations from ITVS’s Rebecca Huval.

Year after year, you’re frustrated with the Academy’s choices. Now is your chance to set the record straight. The New York Times is collecting your picks for the Oscars.

Today is the deadline to submit to Rooftop Films! See your movie blazoned across an outdoor screen on a balmy, New York summer night (via @povdocs)

Follow the flurry of Twitter activity around the hashtag #MTMDC, or Media that Matters, a Washington, D.C. conference that examines how to measure of media’s impact, among other topics. Here’s the full slideshow of the keynote address: Measurement, Meaning, and Momentum: Storytelling in the Age of Data.

Familiar with the 180-degree rule? Free online filmmaking tutorials by Lights Film School teach this and other tidbits in short videos.

English-speaking residents of the Middle East: Documentary training awaits you. Goethe-Institut Kairo is accepting applications for its documentary workshops, conducted in English, in Cairo this April, Tunis in July, and Leipzig in October.

The 2013 Short of the Week Awards have been announced! Watch the nine wonderful winners here.

The ITVS Indie Roundup

A curated list of indie news and recommendations from ITVS’s Rebecca Huval.

Explore the possibilities of transmedia docs with Filmmaker Magazine’s reflections on the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam. At the festival, Doc Lab showcased choose-your-own-adventure documentaries that don’t sacrifice the main storyline.

Oscar excitement is through the roof! The shortlist for best documentary includes 15 picks, and Realscreen has interviews with seven of the directors.

Zooming out even further from the Oscar choices of 2012, here are the top 10 Sundance documentaries of the decade.

If you’ve never seen Paul Madonna’s illustrations, now is the time to start. Here is his adorable and insightful comic about the difficulties of living a creative life. Continue reading