Independent Docs Get a Showcase on NY Public TV--How about Your Station?
When PBS restored independent film series Independent Lens and POV to its prime-time core schedule, viewers then were threatened with the next hurdle: station carriage. In the past, many public TV stations have not carried social-issue documentaries at the time PBS has selected. This then makes a national publicity and promotion campaign impossible, and it often means that if viewers don’t know how to set their DVRs, they will miss the show. While the reasons stated vary, indie doc filmmakers often believe that the stations just don’t value this programming as much as they do other PBS fare. At Silverdocs this year, some indies wondered glumly if they would have to launch a campaign, through #PBSNeedsIndies, to get stations’ attention.
They and viewers can breathe a sigh of relief, and get ready to enjoy the shows. Many public TV stations are carrying the two flagship series for indie social-issue docs at 10pm Monday night. That now includes WNET, in the critical New York area. (New York is essential for critical attention, and viewers there include passionate doc aficionados.) That’s great news, and a great example. I’m ready to relish the Independent Lens slogan, “A film festival in your living room,” and put an end to the hunt-and-peck method of finding my indie docs, such as the next POV program A Light in Her Eyes, about a Muslim girls’ school in Syria. (When is your public TV station running it?)
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