New York, N.Y. – Jan. 17, 2017 – Celebrated documentary institution American Documentary | POV announces new board leadership and initiatives coinciding with the organization’s 30th anniversary.
Margaret Drain has been elected board chair of American Documentary, Inc. (AmDoc). Drain takes the role after serving several years as a member of the organization’s board. This announcement kicks off POV’s 30th anniversary celebrations, also marked with the introduction of new filmmaker resources on our website and events to be held at the Sundance Film Festival. Celebrations will continue throughout the year.
Drain succeeds Tammy Robinson, who stepped down in December 2016 after 12 years as board chair. Robinson will continue to serve the organization as a board member.
“POV is one of the crown jewels of public broadcasting. It has consistently set a high bar by presenting award-winning independent documentary films and groundbreaking work on digital platforms,” said Drain. “I am proud of my long association with this talented team, and particularly proud to be the new chair. POV’s mission—to pull back the curtain on complicated and controversial topics—has never wavered over the years, and that mission is particularly critical in today’s world.”
Drain is an experienced television executive, producer and journalist. She is the former vice president of national programs for WGBH Boston, where she supervised series including FRONTLINE, Masterpiece, NOVA and Antiques Roadshow. Drain also helped start American Experience, and served as its executive producer, and was also a producer at CBS News in the documentary unit and for the newsmagazine series West 57th. Prior to CBS, she worked at Bill Moyers Journal and ran a news and law program at the Ford Foundation, with an emphasis on First Amendment issues. Most recently, as managing editor, she helped launch the U.S. edition of The Conversation, an international online publication featuring daily news and analysis from academic experts and published under a Creative Commons license.
Drain’s work has earned her numerous awards, including Emmy, George Foster Peabody, Alfred I. duPont-Columbia and Writers Guild Awards, as well as a nomination for an Academy Award. She was also recognized by the Paley Center for Media as a celebrated woman in broadcasting and received a distinguished alumni award from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. A native of Cincinnati, she also attended Marquette University. Drain currently serves on several other nonprofit boards in addition to the American Documentary, Inc. board.
The announcement of Drain’s new role launches POV’s 30th anniversary year. Celebrations will begin at the Sundance Film Festival, and a host of anniversary events and initiatives will take place in the coming months. Sundance will see the premieres of two POV films that will broadcast on PBS in 2017 and 2018: QUEST and Motherland.
Filmed with vérité intimacy over the course of a decade, QUEST, the documentary feature debut of director Jonathan Olshefski, is a portrait of a family living in North Philadelphia. The film follows Christopher “Quest” Rainey and his wife, Christine “Ma Quest” Rainey, as they raise their children and nurture the creative sanctuary offered by their home music studio. The family evolves before our eyes, and what begins as a tender depiction of an American family develops into a stunning illumination of race, class and community. An ITVS/POV Co-production.
“POV is one of the most coveted programs for documentarians hoping to present their work to a national audience,” said Sabrina S. Gordon, producer of QUEST. “We are so pleased to be in such esteemed company among some of the best documentary films in the world.” Olshefski added, “The amazing community engagement that POV is known for is what makes me the most excited. I am so pumped to get this film out into the community and put it to work building bridges and making positive impact in the world.”
Motherland takes us into the heart of the planet’s busiest maternity hospital—a world unto itself in the Philippines. As unseen observers in this frenetic and understaffed landscape, viewers enter hectic birthing rooms and pass through overcrowded hallways bursting with life. Babies are lost and found, and multiple mothers share a single bed. Through her sensitive documentation of these personal journeys to motherhood, filmmaker Ramona S. Diaz reveals larger truths about the lack of reproductive healthcare policy in one of the most populous countries in the world. An ITVS/POV Co-production.
“I am beyond thrilled to once again be working with POV and to present Motherland to a wide-reaching audience,” said Diaz. “They never do a one-size-fits-all approach—each film receives unique treatment. When we first talked about the possibility of Motherland being on POV, I knew immediately that they ‘got’ the film, and that they understood it in a profound way.”
American Documentary is also excited to announce a new filmmaker resource on its site. With support from Genuine Article Pictures, AmDoc recently compiled and published a database of documentary fellowships, residencies and labs for filmmakers. The international list will be updated regularly and joins the other resources already available on the POV site. The addition is part of AmDoc’s ongoing commitment to providing support for the documentary field.
Other anniversary events and initiatives will be announced in the coming months.
“The staff and board of AmDoc are thrilled to be kicking off our 30th anniversary year with new energy, ideas and voices, while bringing public media audiences the best in documentary cinema from around the globe,” said Justine Nagan, executive producer and executive director of American Documentary | POV. “It is exciting and sobering to celebrate a milestone of independence, community dialogue and creative expression during a tumultuous political time. We thank all of our filmmakers, funders, community partners and, of course PBS, for 30 years of collaboration and we look forward to many more.”
About American Documentary, Inc. (www.amdoc.org/)
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.
Produced by American Documentary, Inc., POV is public television’s premier showcase for nonfiction films. The series airs Mondays at 10 p.m. on PBS from June to September, with primetime specials during the year. 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 36 Emmy® Awards, 19 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 Award for Corporate Commitment to Diversity. Learn more at www.pbs.org/pov/.