PBS – On the Verge of Something New?

PBS – On the Verge of Something New?

Today I attended the PBS Listening Tour in NYC, a forum for PBS executives to hear ideas from filmmakers and community members on creating national strategies to highlight independent films. A lot of documentary heavy hitters showed up to this meeting, and made direct complaints about a schedule change (which has been temporarily revoked) in New York that would take P.O.V. and Independent Lens (IL) off of prime time. They complained about how the show would lose prestige and have less of an audience, in turn affecting filmmakers ability to drum up future funding. One filmmaker threatened to pass on Independent Lens in the future because he could get more money elsewhere, and it wouldn’t be worth the sacrifice if he wasn’t getting the eyeballs. A woman on the panel then spoke about a filmmaker at Sundance passing on their bid. It’s possible that they may lose the type of programming they generally air with this programming decision. I started to think about how the face of these PBS shows would change if these popular filmmakers were no longer interested in airing during these time slots. And I got excited about it. I got in line to share my ideas, and of course, the event ended as my time to talk approached. So here are my ideas. Yay for blogs. PROGRAMMING A majority of the documentaries shown by both POV and Independent Lens (IL) are films that perform well on the film festival circuit, are made by popular filmmakers, and receive major funding. If these filmmakers no longer think POV and IL are prime spots, WHAT WOULD HAPPEN IF the...
Will other festivals follow True/False’s lead?

Will other festivals follow True/False’s lead?

Imagine knowing that if your film plays in 20 festivals, that you can gross an additional $10,000-20,000. How would that inform your filmmaking future?Great News! True/False Film Festival will now pay a $450 stipend to all filmmakers who come to the festival to exhibit their films. I love the transparency of this announcement as well as the motivation behind it. The fest organizers want to incentivize long term careers with this incentive, and hope to boost the stipend from $450 to $1000.  Imagine knowing that if your film plays in 20 festivals, that you can gross an additional $10,000-20,000. How would that inform your filmmaking future? A filmmaker could pay back outstanding debt incurred by the film, or use the funds for developing a new film. What I can’t help but wonder is why some of the larger festivals haven’t come up with this first. What can we do to encourage other festivals to follow suit?...