The Association of Independent Video and Filmmakers, a 30-year-old group that coordinated activism and provided networking and training for independent filmmakers, shuttered its offices and shut down operations in late June. The Manhattan-based association told members in March that it faced a financial crisis, but an emergency fundraising appeal didn’t generate enough contributions to maintain operations. The AIVF Board is looking for another group to take over publication of The Independent, AIVF’s monthly magazine. Although the board considered a scenario of eventually resuming operations, it’s unlikely that the association will revive, said Bart Weiss, organizer of the Dallas Video Festival and board president. “I wish it could, but I don’t see how it could happen,” he said.
A leading advocate for independent producers and openness in the governance of public broadcasting, Laurence S. Hall died Feb. 21  after a recurrence of cancer, according to one of his sons, Ole Hall. He was 74. Hall was one of “the three Larrys” — the others being Lawrence Daressa and Lawrence Sapadin — who were among the leaders of the 1980s movement to secure a role for independent producers in public TV. If there was one person responsible for that “modest miracle of legislation,” Daressa said recently, it was Hall.
The Idaho Legislature is the subject of Frederick Wiseman’s next cinema verite documentary. Starting with his controversial film Titicut Follies in 1967, Wiseman has filmed the day-to-day workings of American places and institutions — public housing developments, high schools and an old Maine seaport town, among other subjects. His last PBS broadcast, Domestic Violence, was filmed in a shelter for abused women and children, called the Spring, in Tampa, Fla. Wiseman, who doesn’t discuss his film projects until they’re near completion, declined Current’s request for an interview. But he told Idaho statehouse reporter Betsy Russell that he chose the Idaho Legislature because he wanted to film an American institution in the West.
Last year was a good year for the Independent Television Service. ITVS had weathered its first 10 years as a funder and presenter of independent productions for public TV. It was feted with retrospectives at museums and film festivals across the country, which highlighted such fare as The Farmer’s Wife, La Ciudad, First Person Plural, The Devil Never Sleeps and Still Life with Animated Dogs. And it brought in a new executive director, Sally Jo Fifer. Having worked nine years as executive director of the nonprofit Bay Area Video Coalition (BAVC), Fifer was uniquely qualified to steer the difficult course between stations and independents.
ITVS, the CPB-funded organization operating in the tricky middle-ground between independent filmmakers and public TV stations, has appointed a leader in the San Francisco indie community as its next chief executive. [She succeeded James Yee, who died in March 2001.]
Sally Jo Fifer, executive director of the Bay Area Video Coalition since 1992, will join the Independent Television Service as its top executive in August. BAVC grew explosively under her leadership — through partnerships with Silicon Valley companies during the soaring tech boom and through job-training contracts with federal, state and local government agencies. The ITVS Board sought an executive with entrepreneurial skills and a proven ability to “raise money and think creatively,” says Mark Lloyd, chairman of ITVS and president of the Civil Rights Forum on Communications Policy. “Sally’s experience with the Bay Area Video Coalition certainly suggests that she has those qualities.”
James T. Yee, former executive director of the Independent Television Service (ITVS) died March 17 in Piedmont, Calif., after an 18-month battle with cancer. He was 53. The former producer and community organizer headed ITVS for seven of its 10 years, 1994-2000. He fought off numerous budget cuts for the CPB-funded service, while building connections between public TV and his constituency of independent producers. Before joining ITVS, Yee co-founded and served as first executive director of the National Asian American Telecommunications Association, helping to raise the profile of Asian-Americans in TV and film.
Issued by the Association of Independents in Radio (AIR) and the Producers’ Advocacy Group, June 1999, and revised Jan. 23, 2001. PDF. INTRODUCTION: The Association of Independents in Radio* (AIR) and the Producers Advocacy Group** (PAG) present the following code in an effort to clarify and standardize rates and practices for working with freelancers in the public radio industry. In recognition of the central role freelancers and independent radio producers play in enriching the content of almost all the important programs on public radio, AIR and PAG recommend the following guidelines when public radio networks, stations or shows use the work of freelance radio producers:
LIVING WAGE: Freelance producers should be paid at a rate which allows a decent living.