At least two public television networks opted not to air this week the POV documentary After Tiller, which profiles four late-term abortion providers and prompted a campaign among anti-abortion organizations. POV’s plans to air the film’s national broadcast premiere at 10 p.m. Sept. 1 spurred an Aug. 27 online statement from Judie Brown, president of the American Life League, who called the documentary “nothing short of pure propaganda intended to demonize the entire pro-life movement and drum up support for late-term abortion.” Several other anti-abortion websites urged visitors to contact PBS headquarters or PBS Ombudsman Michael Getler to protest stations airing the film. South Carolina ETV in Columbia and Mississippi Public Broadcasting in Jackson declined to air After Tiller.
WEDU’s Too Close to Home, which was previewed to a packed theatre before its Sept. 26 broadcast debut, reports personal stories behind a troubling trend in the Sunshine State: Florida has become a huge destination state for human trafficking, ranking third in the nation.
Wendy Levy, the director of arts consultancy group New Arts AXIS, called for documentary filmmakers to embrace big data tools as a permanent part of their storytelling process during the keynote address at the Media That Matters Conference, held Feb. 15 in Washington, D.C.
Crowdfunding website Kickstarter announced Thursday that independent film projects on its site had passed the $100 million mark in pledges since its 2009 launch, with $42.6 million of that total pledged to documentaries — the largest share of any film genre. Many Kickstarter-funded documentaries find their way to larger success, whether through film festivals, theatrical distribution or airings on networks like PBS. This year, three Kickstarter-assisted documentary features shortlisted for a Best Documentary Oscar nomination will also air on PBS in 2013: The Waiting Room, Detropia and Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry.