Renewed Support for American Documentary | P.O.V.
February 26, 2008 | Press release | Journalism & Media

MacArthur has renewed its support of American Documentary | P.O.V. with a grant of $1,500,000 over the next three years. The funds will support the P.O.V. (“Point of View”) series and related online and education activities through 2010.

American television’s longest-running independent documentary series, P.O.V. is public television’s premier showcase for point-of-view, nonfiction films, and is a 2007 recipient of a Special News & Documentary Emmy Award for Excellence in Television Documentary Filmmaking. P.O.V. has been widely credited for changing the landscape for documentary films in the US, developing new audiences and mentoring emerging filmmakers.

“The MacArthur Foundation has been a key supporter of P.O.V. since our launch on PBS in 1988,” said Simon Kilmurry, Executive Director, American Documentary | P.O.V. “This generous grant will allow us to continue our co-production activities to support documentary filmmakers, support online distribution and exhibition of P.O.V. films, develop new content streams such as the P.O.V. Online Shorts Film Festival, continue the educational and community outreach that is our hallmark, and expand our award-winning Web site.”

For 20 years P.O.V. has presented the work of some of the most provocative and diverse documentary filmmakers to national audiences. From Errol Morris’s “Gates of Heaven” and Freida Lee Mock’s Academy Award-winning “Maya Lin: A Strong Clear Vision” to Marlon Riggs’ seminal documentary poem “Tongues Untied” and Laura Poitras’ examination of family life in war-torn Baghdad in “My Country, My Country,” P.O.V. films put a human face on the vital issues of the day, and challenge audiences to engage with the world.

P.O.V. not only presents a national television series, but has also pioneered art of audience engagement on a deeper level. Through a range of beyond-broadcast activities, P.O.V. extends the impact of films by developing a national network of partners, working with local PBS stations, educators and community organizations to offer free discussion guides, lesson plans, screenings and events, and providing resources and training to students and youth organizations via the Youth Views initiative. P.O.V.'s Web department produces special features for every film, including filmmaker interviews, podcasts, and streaming video. P.O.V. Interactive also created the Web-only interactive showcase, P.O.V.’s Borders, and recently launched the P.O.V. Blog, a gathering place for documentary fans and filmmakers.

With a mandate to mentor emerging talent and bring international perspectives to the American audience, P.O.V. initiated the Diverse Voices Project, bringing such films as “American Aloha,” “Made in L.A.” and “Sierra Leone’s Refugee All Stars” to national television. P.O.V.’s 21st season, which begins in June 2008, will highlight domestic and international issues with “Traces of the Trade,” about the legacy of American slavery; “Critical Condition,” concerning America’s health-care crisis; “Up the Yangtze,” a look at China’s massive hydroelectric dam and the lives it will affect; and “Belarusian Waltz,” about a post-Soviet dictatorship and a lone dissenter.

P.O.V.’s works have been honored with 19 Emmys, 11 George Foster Peabody Awards, eight duPont-Columbia Awards, three Academy Awards, the Prix Italia and the Webby Award.

Produced by American Documentary, Inc. and celebrating its 21st season on PBSin 2008, the award-winning P.O.V. series is the longest-running showcase on television to feature the work of America's best contemporary-issue independent filmmakers. Airing Tuesdays at 10 p.m., June through September, with primetime specials during the year, P.O.V. has brought more than 250 award-winning documentaries to millions nationwide, and now has a Webby Award-winning online series, P.O.V.'s Borders. Since 1988, P.O.V. has pioneered the art of presentation and outreach using independent nonfiction media to build new communities in conversation about today's most pressing social issues. More information about P.O.V is available online at

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.

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