The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation has renewed its support of American Documentary | POV with a grant of $1,500,000 over the next three years. The funds will support the POV (“Point of View”) series and related online and education activities through 2010.
American television’s longest-running independent documentary series, POV is public television’s premier showcase for point-of-view, nonfiction films, and is a 2007 recipient of a Special News & Documentary Emmy Award for Excellence in Television Documentary Filmmaking. POV has been widely credited for changing the landscape for documentary films in the US, developing new audiences and mentoring emerging filmmakers.
“The MacArthur Foundation has been a key supporter of POV since our launch on PBS in 1988,” said Simon Kilmurry, Executive Director, American Documentary | POV “This generous grant will allow us to continue our co-production activities to support documentary filmmakers, support online distribution and exhibition of POV films, develop new content streams such as the POV Online Shorts Film Festival, continue the educational and community outreach that is our hallmark, and expand our award-winning Web site.”
For 20 years POV has presented the work of some of the most provocative and diverse documentary filmmakers to national audiences. From Errol Morris’s Gates of Heaven and Freida Lee Mock’s Academy Award-winning Maya Lin: A Strong Clear Vision to Marlon Riggs’ seminal documentary poem Tongues Untied and Laura Poitras’ examination of family life in war-torn Baghdad in My Country, My Country, POV films put a human face on the vital issues of the day, and challenge audiences to engage with the world.
POV not only presents a national television series, but has also pioneered art of audience engagement on a deeper level. Through a range of beyond-broadcast activities, POV extends the impact of films by developing a national network of partners, working with local PBS stations, educators and community organizations to offer free discussion guides, lesson plans, screenings and events, and providing resources and training to students and youth organizations via the Youth Views initiative. POV’s Web department produces special features for every film, including filmmaker interviews, podcasts, and streaming video. POV Interactive also created the Web-only interactive showcase, POV’s Borders, and recently launched the POV Blog, a gathering place for documentary fans and filmmakers.
With a mandate to mentor emerging talent and bring international perspectives to the American audience, POV initiated the Diverse Voices Project, bringing such films as American Aloha, Made in L.A. and Sierra Leone’s Refugee All Stars to national television. POV’s 21st season, which begins in June 2008, will highlight domestic and international issues with Traces of the Trade, about the legacy of American slavery; Critical Condition, concerning America’s health-care crisis; Up the Yangtze, a look at China’s massive hydroelectric dam and the lives it will affect; and Belarusian Waltz, about a post-Soviet dictatorship and a lone dissenter.
POV’s works have been honored with 19 Emmys, 11 George Foster Peabody Awards, eight duPont-Columbia Awards, three Academy Awards, the Prix Italia and the Webby Award.
The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation is a private, independent grantmaking institution helping to build a more just and sustainable world. Through the support it provides, the Foundation fosters the development of knowledge, nurtures individual creativity, strengthens institutions, helps improve public policy, and provides information to the public, primarily through support for public interest media. With assets of $6.8 billion, the Foundation makes approximately $260 million in grants annually. MacArthur supports independent documentary film and video and public radio in the United States to help ensure a diversity of viewpoints and expand the availability of high-quality content. More information is available at www.macfound.org.
Produced by American Documentary, Inc. and celebrating its 21st season on PBS in 2008, the award-winning POV series is the longest-running showcase on television to feature the work of America’s best contemporary-issue independent filmmakers. Airing Tuesdays at 10 p.m., June through September, with primetime specials during the year, POV has brought more than 250 award-winning documentaries to millions nationwide, and now has a Webby Award-winning online series, POV’s Borders. Since 1988, POV has pioneered the art of presentation and outreach using independent nonfiction media to build new communities in conversation about today’s most pressing social issues. More information about POV is available online at www.pbs.org/pov.
American Documentary, Inc. (AmDoc) is a multimedia company dedicated to creating, identifying and presenting contemporary stories that express opinions and perspectives rarely featured in mainstream media outlets. AmDoc is a catalyst for public culture, developing collaborative strategic engagement activities around socially relevant content on television, online and in community settings. These activities are designed to trigger action, from dialogue and feedback to educational opportunities and community participation.