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Three-Year Grant Will Support Award-Winning PBS Documentary Series POV, Its Digital Innovations and National Community Engagement Campaigns and the WORLD Channel Series AMERICA REFRAMED
New York, NY – Jan. 28, 2016 – The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation has renewed its support of American Documentary | POV with a grant of $2.25 million over the next three years. The funds will support the POV (Point of View) documentary film series on PBS and its community, education and digital innovation campaigns, along with the fledgling AMERICA REFRAMED series on WORLD Channel through 2018.
Produced by American Documentary, Inc. (AmDoc) and beginning its 29th season on PBS in June 2016, POV is American television’s longest-running independent documentary series and the recipient of a 2013 MacArthur Award for Creative and Effective Institutions. Co-produced by the WORLD Channel and AmDoc and beginning its fourth season in February 2016, the Emmy®-nominated AMERICA REFRAMED is a year-round documentary showcase that explores the changing contours of America’s diverse communities. POV Digital re-imagines nonfiction storytelling for the Web by organizing Hackathon incubator labs and co-producing Emmy-nominated shorts projects.
“MacArthur has been an indispensable supporter of POV since the series’ very first broadcast in 1988,” said Justine Nagan, executive director, AmDoc/executive producer, POV. “For 28 years, American Documentary has been dedicated to informing and inspiring the American public with nonfiction stories that resonate deeply and have lasting impact. Like POV, AMERICA REFRAMED could not have launched without MacArthur’s early and ongoing support of new voices in public media. This grant will allow us to keep innovating and exploring on television, on the Web, in the classroom and in local communities to bring vital, engaging nonfiction stories to the American public.”
POV premieres 14 to 16 feature-length documentaries every year from June to October and creates additional opportunities for viewers to explore the films and the issues through its wide-ranging community outreach and educational activities. POV offers original online programming, including digital documentaries made in collaboration with organizations such as The New York Times and interactive projects seeded at POV’s ongoing Hackathon labs, which use technology to experiment with new forms of nonfiction storytelling.
Since its first broadcast on PBS, Louis Alvarez and Andrew Kolker’s American Tongues, POV has presented more than 400 documentaries by established and emerging directors—from Chris Hegedus and D.A. Pennebaker to Stephanie Wang-Breal and Joshua Oppenheimer—that tell personal stories, explore contemporary issues and sometimes push the boundaries of the documentary genre itself. In addition to feature-length films, POV presents shorts, including animations from the renowned oral history project StoryCorps, also the winner of a MacArthur Award.
Two filmmakers whose first feature documentaries were broadcast on POV—Laura Poitras and Natalia Almada—received MacArthur “genius grants” in 2012. Poitras’ films for POV include the Peabody Award-winning Flag Wars (produced and co-directed with Linda Goode Bryant), the Oscar®-nominated My Country, My Country and the Sundance award-winning The Oath. POV has broadcast each of Almada’s feature documentaries: Al Otro Lado (To the Other Side), El Velador (The Night Watchman) and the Sundance award-winning El General. In 2005, POV premiered first-time filmmaker Marshall Curry’s Oscar-nominated Street Fight and it has broadcast each of his documentaries in the decade since, including Racing Dreams, the Oscar-nominated If a Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front and Point and Shoot.
POV’s 2016 season will look at black male achievement, the emotional side of interactive games and the crisis caused by drug cartels on the U.S.-Mexican border, among other topics. Tod Lending’s All the Difference, part of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting’s public media initiative American Graduate: Let’s Make It Happen, follows two young African-American men in their pursuit of higher education and a better life; David Osit and Malika Zouhali-Worrall’s Thank You for Playing explores how creating a video game helps a family through a life-altering crisis; and Bernardo Ruiz’s Kingdom of Shadows takes an unflinching look at the persistent U.S.-Mexican drug war. The films will be accompanied by free online streaming and the in-depth websites, nationwide screenings and comprehensive educational materials that have become POV’s hallmarks.
Season four of AMERICA REFRAMED begins Tuesday, Feb. 2, 2016 with Danielle Beverly’s Old South, a portrait of two communities living on one block in Georgia. Steeped in history, each of these communities—one black, one white—strives to keep its legacies relevant in a changing American South. Hosted by journalist Natasha Del Toro, AMERICA REFRAMED curates a diverse selection of films employing innovative and artistic approaches to storytelling from emerging and veteran filmmakers alike.
The MacArthur Foundation supports creative people and effective institutions committed to building a more just, verdant and peaceful world. In addition to selecting the MacArthur Fellows, the Foundation works to defend human rights, advance global conservation and security, make cities better places and understand how technology is affecting children and society. More information is at www.macfound.org.
POV is public television’s premier showcase for nonfiction films. Since 1988, POV has been the home for the world’s boldest contemporary filmmakers, celebrating intriguing personal stories that spark conversation and inspire action. Always an innovator, POV discovers fresh new voices and creates interactive experiences that shine a light on social issues and elevate the art of storytelling. With our documentary broadcasts, original online programming and dynamic community engagement campaigns, we are committed to supporting films that capture the imagination and present diverse perspectives.
POV films have won 34 Emmy® Awards, 18 George Foster Peabody Awards, 12 Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Awards, three Academy Awards®, the first-ever George Polk Documentary Film Award and the Prix Italia. The POV series has been honored with a Special News & Documentary Emmy Award for Excellence in Television Documentary Filmmaking, three IDA Awards for Best Curated Series and the National Association of Latino Independent Producers (NALIP) Award for Corporate Commitment to Diversity. Learn more at www.pbs.org/pov.
POV Community Engagement and Education (www.pbs.org/pov/engage)
POV’s Community Engagement and Education team works with educators, community organizations and PBS stations to present more than 650 free screenings every year. In addition, we distribute free discussion guides and standards-aligned lesson plans for each of our films. With our community partners, we inspire dialogue around the most important social issues of our time.
POV Digital (www.pbs.org/pov)
Since 1994, POV Digital has driven new storytelling initiatives and interactive production for POV. The department created PBS’ first program website and its first web-based documentary (POV’s Borders) and has won major awards, including a Webby Award (and six nominations) and an Online News Association Award. POV Digital continues to explore the future of independent nonfiction media through its digital productions and the POV Hackathon lab, where media makers and technologists collaborate to reinvent storytelling forms. @povdocs on Twitter.
American Documentary, Inc. (www.amdoc.org)
American Documentary, Inc. (AmDoc) is a multimedia arts organization 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. AmDoc is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization.
Major funding for POV is provided by PBS, The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Corporation for Public Broadcasting and National Endowment for the Arts. Additional funding comes from Nancy Blachman and David desJardins, Bertha Foundation, The Fledgling Fund, Marguerite Casey Foundation, Ettinger Foundation, New York State Council on the Arts, New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, Ann Tenenbaum and Thomas H. Lee and public television viewers. POV is presented by a consortium of public television stations, including KQED San Francisco, WGBH Boston and THIRTEEN in association with WNET.ORG.
In Season Four of AMERICA REFRAMED, viewers will be immersed in personal stories from the streets of towns big and small to the exurbs and country roads that span the spectrum of American life. The documentaries invite audiences to reflect on topics as varied as culture, healthcare, politics, gun violence, religion and more. Several episodes will feature a roundtable discussion with special guest commentators and filmmakers. In 2015, AMERICA REFRAMED won a Gracie Award for Outstanding Series and was nominated for an Emmy Award as well as an Independent Documentary Association Award for best curated series. In its first season, AMERICA REFRAMED received five 2013 CINE Golden Eagle Awards and one Imagen Awards nomination.