This is the first in a four-part series highlighting case studies of PBS station engagement with independent documentaries from this year’s PBS Annual Meeting. Check back next Thursday for our second installment. 

At the PBS Annual Meeting held last month in San Diego, POV was proud to partner with Firelight Media and ITVS to present a panel called “Making Independent Film Work for Your Station.” The forum highlighted the proven impact of independent documentary film and its ability to draw diverse audiences, attract new viewers, and provide creative opportunities to build invaluable community collaborations.

Moderated by Marcia Smith, the multi award-winning president and co-founder of Firelight Media, the discussion provided great insight into how stations nationwide use documentaries (curated and locally produced) to raise their profiles within their community, increase membership, create impact, fundraise and more.  The following station leaders who shared about successful film engagement campaign initiatives included:

Amy Shaw led the panel with a dynamic presentation of her work in St. Louis, starting with the CPB funded American Graduate initiative featuring films that included POV’s All the Difference, Brooklyn Castle and American Promise. Along with those programs, she provided an effective model for public media engagement that demystified the process, and revealed impressive statistical information on the impact and value-add for partners and the community at large.

Amy Shaw's Public Media Model for Engagement, from her presentation at PBS Annual Meeting 2017.
Amy Shaw’s Public Media Model for Engagement, from her presentation at PBS Annual Meeting 2017.

The presentation also included Independent Lens’ Black Panthers: Vanguard for a Revolution, and Nine Public Media’s compelling new local production, Gentleman of Vision (watch the trailer here) – both were used to effectively address vital local/national issues in areas such as St. Louis and Ferguson. The successful program initiatives proved that film not only increases awareness, and provides a deeper understanding of important issues, but also facilitates new opportunities, and a practical range of benefits for public media stations across the nation. Take a look at Amy’s case study here for more information on how film can create meaningful impact.

Stay tuned for our next highlight from this engaging discussion on and how independent films can help your station and community!

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POV Staff
POV (a cinema term for "point of view") is television's longest-running showcase for independent non-fiction films. POV premieres 14-16 of the best, boldest and most innovative programs every year on PBS. Since 1988, POV has presented over 400 films to public television audiences across the country. POV films are known for their intimacy, their unforgettable storytelling and their timeliness, putting a human face on contemporary social issues.