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PBS and Independent Lens Launch New Documentary-Driven YouTube Channel (Exclusive)

5 September 2017 4:41 PM, PDT | The Wrap | See recent The Wrap news »

PBS isn’t just for your grandparents anymore. The public broadcasting mainstay is continuing to solidify its presence as a digital media player, launching a YouTube channel in collaboration with Independent Lens, an Emmy award-winning indie documentary series. The new channel, Indie Lens Storycast, will debut on Sept. 12 with its first doc, “Iron Maidens,” highlighting an all-girls competitive robotics team from Bronx Science High School. Independent Lens Executive Producer Lois Vossen told TheWrap the nascent series aims to find dynamic stories that will appeal to a younger audience. Also Read: Colin Trevorrow Exits as Director of 'Star Wars: Episode IX' “Indie Lens Storycast. »

- Sean Burch

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First Woman Judge Appointed By Palestine Court Tells Her Story In Tiff Premiere ‘The Judge’ — Watch

24 August 2017 2:23 PM, PDT | Indiewire | See recent Indiewire news »

The Muslim Shari’a courts in the Middle East have excluded women for centuries, and the influential religious legal system has never appointed a woman as a judge — until Kholoud Al-Faqih came along. The Palestinian lawyer tells her story in Erika Cohn’s new documentary “The Judge,” which will premiere next month at the Toronto International Film Festival. IndieWire has the first look at the trailer below.

Cohn’s film follows Al-Faqih through her ongoing advocacy for women’s rights, providing a closeup look at the way she navigates personal and professional struggles while working her way up through the court system. She’s driven by several causes at once. “If I can’t achieve justice for myself, I can’t achieve justice for others,” she says in the film. It’s no big spoiler to note that she’s successful in that goal, since she now goes by the title Judge Kholoud Al-Faqih. »

- Eric Kohn

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Documentaries Double-Dip for Emmy and Oscar Consideration

17 August 2017 10:00 AM, PDT | Variety - TV News | See recent Variety - TV News news »

In the past decade, half of all documentaries nominated for an Academy Award went on to receive a Primetime, News and Doc or Intl. Emmy nomination.

Unlike “Moonlight,” “Spotlight” and “12 Years a Slave,” nonfiction feature Oscar winners including “CitizenFour,” “Taxi to the Dark Side” and “Born Into Brothels” can also tout an Emmy win.

Why? Because documentaries are by and large a product of television or digital platforms and not film studios. Without funding from small-screen distributors such as HBO, PBS, A&E and streaming services including Netflix and Amazon, the Oscar feature documentary category wouldn’t exist.

But docu filmmakers, similar to narrative filmmakers, want the same thing: for their film to be seen in a movie theater with an audience. So outlets, including HBO and PBS, have selectively facilitated that desire for primarily two reasons: to please directors and perhaps more importantly, to qualify for an Academy Award, which »

- Addie Morfoot

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Documentaries Double-Dip for Emmy and Oscar Consideration

17 August 2017 10:00 AM, PDT | Variety - Film News | See recent Variety - Film News news »

In the past decade, half of all documentaries nominated for an Academy Award went on to receive a Primetime, News and Doc or Intl. Emmy nomination.

Unlike “Moonlight,” “Spotlight” and “12 Years a Slave,” nonfiction feature Oscar winners including “CitizenFour,” “Taxi to the Dark Side” and “Born Into Brothels” can also tout an Emmy win.

Why? Because documentaries are by and large a product of television or digital platforms and not film studios. Without funding from small-screen distributors such as HBO, PBS, A&E and streaming services including Netflix and Amazon, the Oscar feature documentary category wouldn’t exist.

But docu filmmakers, similar to narrative filmmakers, want the same thing: for their film to be seen in a movie theater with an audience. So outlets, including HBO and PBS, have selectively facilitated that desire for primarily two reasons: to please directors and perhaps more importantly, to qualify for an Academy Award, which »

- Addie Morfoot

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Television Academy Grants 2017 Governors Award to Itvs

8 August 2017 2:55 PM, PDT | Variety - TV News | See recent Variety - TV News news »

Documentary producer Itvs will receive the 2017 Governors Award from the Television Academy. The non-profit will be recognized for its focus on diversity and inclusiveness in documentary programming during its 25 years in broadcasting.

“Itvs cultivates projects that provide thought-provoking, innovative content from an enormously diverse group of creators,” said Michael A. Levine, chair of the Governors Award Committee. “We are proud to present the Governors Award to an organization that supports pioneering television and inclusion both on screen and behind the scenes.”

Known for the programs showcased in PBS’s lineup of nonfiction series including “Independent Lens,” “Pov,” “Frontline,” “American Master,” and “American Experience,” Itvs has also introduced audiences to the works of Barry JenkinsMarlon Riggs, and Lourdes Portillo.

“We are incredibly honored to be the recipient of the Television Academy’s Governors Award,” said Sally Jo Fifer, president and CEO of Itvs. “It is our privilege to fuel the courageous work of the talented independent producers »

- Rebecca Rubin

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PBS Doc About Civil Rights Activist Dolores Huerta Gets Theatrical Release Date

29 June 2017 12:01 PM, PDT | Women and Hollywood | See recent Women and Hollywood news »

Dolores”: Sundance

An important chapter — and figure — in herstory is about to get some much-deserved and long-overdue attention: “Dolores” has a theatrical release date. PBS Distribution has announced that the award-winning doc about civil rights activist and American labor leader Dolores Huerta will open in New York City exclusively at IFC Center on September 1 with other cities to follow.

“An equal partner in co-founding the first farm workers unions with Cesar Chavez, [Huerta’s] enormous contributions have gone largely unrecognized,” the film’s official synopsis reads. “Dolores tirelessly led the fight for racial and labor justice alongside Chavez, becoming one of the most defiant feminists of the twentieth century — and she continues the fight to this day, at 87.”

Directed by Peter Bratt (“La Mission”), “Dolores” made its world premiere at Sundance in January. It’s gone on to screen at over 20 other fests such as Hot Docs, AFI Docs, and the Athena Film Festival, and won audience awards at the San Francisco International Film Festival, Montclair Film Festival, Houston Latino Film Festival, and the Denver Women + Film Festival.

Regina K. Scully and Janet MacGillivray are among the project’s executive producers.

PBS previously announced that the doc will air on PBS’ “Independent Lens” in 2018.

“My story, it’s really the story of a lot of other people who were involved in the farmworker movement,” Huerta has said. “It was the farmworkers themselves, many of them who were arrested, who were jailed, who were beaten, who were killed, just trying to get basic human rights.”

Actor Benjamin Bratt, who is one of the doc’s producers, emphasized how sexism has played a part in why so few people are aware of Huerta’s important contributions. He observed, “On some level, the film is a correction of the historical record, as it’s been recorded thus far. Dolores’ story, other women and their impact on our culture, on who we are as a people, it’s been excised, purposefully.” He explained, “The film is a celebration of her sense of independence, the fire of her spirit, and really it’s a testament to, and a reminder that individual power, as she likes to say, is a very powerful thing not to be squandered, that if you have the commitment, and the level of self sacrifice that it takes, that anyone can activate and put positivity in the world.”

PBS Doc About Civil Rights Activist Dolores Huerta Gets Theatrical Release Date was originally published in Women and Hollywood on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story. »

- Laura Berger

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PBS’ Independent Lens Announces Season 16 Slate (Exclusive)

22 June 2017 11:05 AM, PDT | Variety - TV News | See recent Variety - TV News news »

Despite the fact that President Donald Trump’s proposed federal budget calls for the eventual elimination of government funding for public TV, Independent Lens isn’t going anywhere… at least not for the next 12 months.

The long-running documentary series that airs on PBS will launch its 16th season on Nov. 6 with John Scheinfeld’s “Chasing Trane.” About John Coltrane, the film premiered at the Telluride Film Festival last September followed by a screening at Toronto Intl. Film Festival. Pic includes interviews with Wynton Marsalis, former President Bill Clinton, and Common, with Coltrane’s own words spoken by Denzel Washington. Abramorama »

- Addie Morfoot

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Emmy in Reach for Docs That Ran in the Oscar Race

14 June 2017 10:00 AM, PDT | Variety - Film News | See recent Variety - Film News news »

Thanks to such deep-pocketed streamers as Netflix, Amazon and now Hulu, the campaign to win an Oscar for documentary has evolved into a pricey, cutthroat endeavor. But the fight for a little gold man doesn’t end after the Academy Awards — it starts right back up again for the Primetime Emmy race.

While an Oscar and Emmy recognize excellence in film and television, respectively, docs are in a unique position. They can be eligible for both awards because without funding from small-screen distributors such as HBO, Netflix and PBS, the majority of docs in the Oscar race would never exist.

Mounting an Emmy campaign after an Oscar nomination or even win hasn’t always been the standard. Oscar winners including “Born Into Brothels” (2005) and “Taxi to the Dark Side” (2008) were submitted for and won the lower-profile, non-televised News & Documentary Emmy award. But in recent years, Academy Award-winning films including “Citizenfour »

- Addie Morfoot

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Emmy in Reach for Docs That Ran in the Oscar Race

14 June 2017 10:00 AM, PDT | Variety - TV News | See recent Variety - TV News news »

Thanks to such deep-pocketed streamers as Netflix, Amazon and now Hulu, the campaign to win an Oscar for documentary has evolved into a pricey, cutthroat endeavor. But the fight for a little gold man doesn’t end after the Academy Awards — it starts right back up again for the Primetime Emmy race.

While an Oscar and Emmy recognize excellence in film and television, respectively, docs are in a unique position. They can be eligible for both awards because without funding from small-screen distributors such as HBO, Netflix and PBS, the majority of docs in the Oscar race would never exist.

Mounting an Emmy campaign after an Oscar nomination or even win hasn’t always been the standard. Oscar winners including “Born Into Brothels” (2005) and “Taxi to the Dark Side” (2008) were submitted for and won the lower-profile, non-televised News & Documentary Emmy award. But in recent years, Academy Award-winning films including “Citizenfour” and this year’s Oscar winner, “O.J.: Made in America »

- Addie Morfoot

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A Netflix release isn't always the answer, say Us doc experts

13 June 2017 3:55 PM, PDT | ScreenDaily | See recent ScreenDaily news »

Theatrical releases can still work for documentaries, argued the Doc/Fest panel.

In a panel at Sheffield Doc/Fest, experts from the American documentary sector said Netflix or Amazon are not always the best options for releasing documentary features.

The panellists were: Ben Braun from New York-based production, distribution and sales agency Submarine, Marie Nelson from PBS, Simon Chinn from London and La-based production company Lightbox, Molly Thompson from A&E IndieFilms and Mark Leaver from department for international trade. 

Thompson said she was proud that A&E IndieFilm partnered with theatrical distributors for projects like The Imposter, Cartel Land (pictured) and Matthew Heineman’s follow-up City of Ghosts (screening at Doc/Fest) before their respective VOD and television premieres. 

“I have seen great films that went on Svod immediately, and they disappeared quickly. How many people actually saw Nina [Simone] or 13th in theatres? I think that is a shame,” said Thompson »

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Iraq War veteran with Ptsd swaps the gun for the plough on Independent Lens

29 May 2017 8:18 AM, PDT | Monsters and Critics | See recent Monsters and Critics news »

This week Independent Lens tells the story of an Iraq War veteran suffering from Ptsd who has decided to become a farmer. In this documentary timed for Memorial Day, Independent Lens follows one veteran’s struggle to adapt to civilian life after the trauma of war has left him deeply scarred. These scars are the not the visible ones we see too often from those returning from combat, but the hidden ones that can often be just as debilitating. However, this vet has taken a leaf out of his father’s book and gone back to the land in order to try and...read more »

- James Wray

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New PBS Documentary on Youth Prison Finds Salvation in the Arts: ‘It’s Important to Incentivize Hope’

22 May 2017 10:31 AM, PDT | PEOPLE.com | See recent PEOPLE.com news »

Ben Lear, the son of TV pioneer Norman Lear, initially wanted to make a scripted movie that dealt with prison.

But as part of his research, he got to know some jailed juveniles in the Los Angeles area and found their stories incredibly compelling. The scripted idea was scrapped in favor of a documentary.

“I remember being nervous and not knowing what to expect, and being immediately put at ease when I met all of them,” Lear, 28, says of his first meeting with the minors. “They were so young and ‘teenagery’ in every way, I just felt an immediate affinity. »

- Jeff Truesdell

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‘Master of None’ Returns, ‘I Love Dick’ Debuts, Plus More TV You Must See This Week

7 May 2017 10:38 AM, PDT | FilmSchoolRejects.com | See recent FilmSchoolRejects news »

Another one of our favorite shows is back this week, as the whole of Master of None’s Season 2 hits Netflix, and one of the most hopeful new series of the year, Amazon’s I Love Dick, makes its leap from pilot to full first season the same day. There’s also the end of the first season of Riverdale, more Fargo and Better Call Saul, a must-see installment of Saturday Night Live, reason to check out the new sitcom Great News, and why we’re paying attention to the MTV Movie Awards this year.

To help you keep track of the most important programs over the next seven days, here’s our guide to everything worth watching, whether it’s on broadcast, cable, or streaming for May 7–13 (all times Eastern):

SUNDAY2017 MTV Movie and TV Awards (MTV, 8pm)

Yeah, it’s MTV, and yes they still have awards like “Best Kiss,” but »

- Christopher Campbell

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Drone strikes spotlighted as three former Us soldiers break the silence on Independent Lens

1 May 2017 12:55 PM, PDT | Monsters and Critics | See recent Monsters and Critics news »

Independent Lens takes a look at the impact drone warfare is having both on those targeted and the people operating these new battlefield tools. In an episode titled National Bird, the show features interviews with three former soldiers involved in the drone program, a former intelligence officer and family of those directly affected by strikes. Perhaps the most disturbing and interesting issue is the psychological impact on the operators. They are not allowed to talk to anyone about their work and that includes their psychologists, something that is surely bound to end badly one day. The moral issues surrounding drone...read more »

- James Wray

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Should the Holocaust be off-limits to comedians? Independent Lens asks the question in The Last Laugh

24 April 2017 10:36 AM, PDT | Monsters and Critics | See recent Monsters and Critics news »

This week Independent Lens asks if the Holocaust should be off-limits to comedians. The Last Laugh is a 90-minute documentary that asks whether some subjects are just too sensitive to be funny. Should certain topics always be taboo for comedy? Comedians and indeed humans in general often use humor to make light of things that are in fact very serious or tragic. It’s a sort of coping mechanism perhaps, that gets people through difficult times and helps them come to terms with terrible events — whether it’s the dark humor of morticians or the jokes doctors often crack to relieve the tension...read more »

- James Wray

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“13th,” “Trapped,” & More Women-Directed Docs Win Peabody Awards

18 April 2017 1:01 PM, PDT | Women and Hollywood | See recent Women and Hollywood news »

Trapped

Twelve documentaries are being honored by the Peabody Awards Board of Jurors, and seven of them are women-directed or co-directed. 2016 was an amazing year for documentaries, and this stellar selection proves it.

Ava DuVernay’s Oscar-nominated “13th” is among the titles being recognized. The feature traces the connection between slavery and mass-incarceration in the U.S. “It’s been a topic that I’ve always thought about, even when I was a little girl,” DuVernay told us. “Growing up in Compton, there was a heavy police presence. I would always see cops on my block. The interactions weren’t positive, as I’d see officers interacting with the citizens in my community. Much more negative encounters than positive, which I think is interesting. As a child, when I think back, most folks in this country who don’t live in black or brown communities regard the cops [with] a sense of safety,” she observed. “Imagine growing up and feeling just the opposite when you see an officer. That’s a real, completely different way to move through the world.”

Dawn Porter’s “Trapped” is also being honored. The doc investigates how women’s reproductive rights have been impacted by “Trap” (targeted regulation of abortion providers) laws that have been passed by conservative state legislatures across the U.S. When we asked Porter what she wanted people to think about after they watch the film, she said, “That they cannot be complacent. I love the line from one of the clinic owners, who says something to the effect of, ‘No one ever thinks they are going to need an abortion.’ I want people to think about what they would do if the clinics around them were closed,” she urged.

Entertainment Weekly reports that this year’s Peabody Awards Ceremony will take place in New York and will air as a television special on PBS. The event be hosted by “Angie Tribeca’s” Rashida Jones.

Check out all of the women-directed and co-directed docs being honored below, which include explorations of rape culture (“Audrie & Daisy”), activism (“Hooligan Sparrow”), and homophobia and misogyny in the justice system (“Southwest of Salem: The Story of the San Antonio Four”). This list is adapted from EW.

“Audrie & Daisy” — Co-Directed by Bonni Cohen

AfterImage Public Media in association with Actual Films (Netflix)

Filmmakers Bonni Cohen and Jon Shenk present a heartbreaking and timely tale of how social media shaming enacts a secondary and sometimes even more impactful traumatization of teen rape victims.

“4.1 Miles” — Directed by Daphne Matziaraki

The New York Times Op-Docs (NYTimes.com)

Desperate journeys undertaken by refugees risking their lives to cross the Mediterranean and find safe haven in Europe is well-documented. Daphne Matziaraki’s short film differs in its point-of-view and raw imagery of one Greek boat captain thrust into the breach.

Independent Lens: Trapped” — Directed by Dawn Porter

Trilogy Films LLC, Bigmouth Productions, Cedar Creek Productions and the Independent Television Service (Itvs) (PBS)

A timely report that examines the motivation and politics surrounding “Trap” laws, specifically designed to restrict access to abortion. Director Dawn Porter goes behind-the-scenes to follow the people working on a daily basis to keep clinics open under challenging circumstances.

“Mavis!” — Directed by Jessica Edwards

Film First and HBO Documentary Films (HBO)

More than just a biopic, this story celebrates the deep influence of Mavis Staples and the Staple Singers across music genres — from gospel to soul and rock-and-roll. “Mavis!” illustrates the history of social movements in America and is a powerful reminder of one woman’s impact on popular culture.

“Pov: Hooligan Sparrow” — Directed by Nanfu Wang

Pov | American Documentary (PBS)

First-time filmmaker Nanfu Wang takes personal risks to follow the story of Ye Haiyan, aka “Hooligan Sparrow,” and a small group of women’s rights activists protesting the state of sexual assault crises in schools in China.

Southwest of Salem: The Story of the San Antonio Four” — Directed by Deborah S. Esquenazi

Deborah S. Esquenazi Productions, LLC (Investigation Discovery)

A modern tale of colonial-style persecution follows four Latina lesbians wrongfully accused of sexual assault in the mid-1990s. Picking up a decade after conviction, the film chronicles their struggles as homosexual women of color in their conservative Texas community and their battle for eventual exoneration.

“13th” — Directed by Ava DuVernay

Forward Movement LLC and Kandoo Films (Netflix)

Filmmaker Ava DuVernay deconstructs the criminalization of African-Americans — from racial slavery to convict leasing systems, from Jim Crow terror to mass incarceration — as a means of exercising social control of black populations.

“13th,” “Trapped,” & More Women-Directed Docs Win Peabody Awards was originally published in Women and Hollywood on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story. »

- Laura Berger

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Peabody Awards: ‘O.J.: Made In America, ‘13th’, ‘Zero Days’ Among Documentary Winners

18 April 2017 8:00 AM, PDT | Deadline TV | See recent Deadline TV news »

Oscar winner O.J.: Made In America, Ava DuVernay’s criminal justice docu 13th and Alex Gibney’s cyber warfare pic Zero Days are among the 12 winners of Peabody Awards for documentaries. PBS scored four of the 12 spots, with Frontline pieces on Isis and the refugee crisis, Independent Lens: Trapped and Pov: Hooligan Sparrow. Netflix, which has ramped up its documentary slate considerably in the past year, has three titles on the list: Audrie & Daisy, DuVernay’s… »

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Peabody Awards: ‘O.J.: Made In America, ‘13th’, ‘Zero Days’ Among Documentary Winners

18 April 2017 8:00 AM, PDT | Deadline | See recent Deadline news »

Oscar winner O.J.: Made In America, Ava DuVernay’s criminal justice docu 13th and Alex Gibney’s cyber warfare pic Zero Days are among the 12 winners of Peabody Awards for documentaries. PBS scored four of the 12 spots, with Frontline pieces on Isis and the refugee crisis, Independent Lens: Trapped and Pov: Hooligan Sparrow. Netflix, which has ramped up its documentary slate considerably in the past year, has three titles on the list: Audrie & Daisy, DuVernay’s… »

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‘O.J.: Made in America,’ ’13th,’ ‘Frontline’ Episodes Among Peabody Documentary Winners

18 April 2017 8:00 AM, PDT | Variety - TV News | See recent Variety - TV News news »

Espn’s “O.J.: Made in America,” Netflix’s “13th,” HBO’s “Zero Days” and two episodes of PBS’ “Frontline” are among the 2016 Peabody Award winners for documentary programming.

The Peabody jury selected 12 programs for honors in the documentary category. A total of 30 Peabody kudos will be handed out on May 20 at a ceremony in New York hosted by Rashida Jones. Winners in the entertainment field will be unveiled on Thursday, followed April 24 by winners in the news and radio/podcast category.

Veteran producer Norman Lear and Independent Television Service last week were named the recipients of the individual and institutional awards.

The Peabody Awards, administered by the University of Georgia’s Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication, rank high on the list of TV’s most prestigious laurels.

Here is a full list of 2016 documentary winners:

“Audrie & Daisy

AfterImage Public Media in association with Actual Films (Netflix)

Filmmakers Bonni Cohen and Jon Shenk present a heartbreaking »

- Variety Staff

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‘Fargo’ and ‘Veep’ are Back, Plus More TV You Must See This Week

16 April 2017 10:16 AM, PDT | FilmSchoolRejects.com | See recent FilmSchoolRejects news »

Ewan McGregor in ‘Fargo

Two of the best series on television return this week as HBO brings back Veep and FX debuts another season of Fargo. Additionally, there are anticipated fiction and nonfiction shows as well as a new HBO biopic we’re excited about, at the same time we’re set to say goodbye to other favorites, either for the year or forever. To help you keep track of the most important programs over the next seven days, here’s our guide to everything worth watching, whether it’s on broadcast, cable, or streaming for April 16–22:

(All listed times are Eastern)

SUNDAYVeep (HBO, 10:30pm)

This show is back for the first time since the election, and fans are surely wondering how the political humor will reflect the new administration. Probably not at all, considering it was never a reaction to current events before. Instead, the focus on the first episode of season six, “Omaha »

- Christopher Campbell

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2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008

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