Monday roundup: WNYC gets $10 million, POV pairs with NYT, PRPD elects directors

• WNYC/New York Public Radio is receiving the largest grant ever given to a public radio station, it announced today. The pubcaster will use the $10 million from the Jerome L. Greene Foundation for digital innovation and to support its Jerome L. Greene Performance Space, keeping ticket prices low for events there. Also today, the station introduced a new Discover feature to its WNYC app, allowing listeners to create and download curated playlists with a function that "blends personal preferences with an element of surprise," it said in the announcement. • POV's new online documentary collaboration with the New York Times kicked off over the weekend with an in-depth look at a group of developmentally challenged men who survived decades of neglect in a small Iowa town. The Men of Atalissa, produced by the Times, was posted on both websites March 8. Continue Reading

Filmmaker Yoruba Richen's latest documentary The New Black, won the Audience Award for best feature film at last month's AFI Docs festival. It airs on PBS's Independent Lens in 2014. (Photo: Luke Rattray)

AFI Docs festival screens diverse pubTV films

Public TV was less visible at this year's American Film Institute documentary festival. Yet several of the 10 films that had received financial support from public TV grant-makers or broadcast commitments from PBS stood out among the 53 documentaries in the lineup. One even took the top prize. Continue Reading

NEA announces 2013 media arts grants; OVEE and AIR projects among recipients

The National Endowment of the Arts announced $4.68 million in funding to 76 media-arts projects April 23, including new grantees such as the Online Video Engagement Experience (OVEE) developed with CPB funding, a new initiative from the Association of Independents in Radio called Spectrum America and Sonic Trace, a multimedia production at KCRW in Santa Monica, Calif., that was created through AIR’s recently concluded Localore project. For a second year, the NEA will continue to support projects that use digital technologies to go beyond traditional broadcasting platforms. In its announcement, the endowment highlighted a $100,000 grant to OVEE, a digital platform that allows web users to interact while watching PBS and local station content. The Independent Television Service developed the technology with support from CPB. AIR also received $100,000 for Spectrum America, a project that will pair media artists with public stations as they experiment with “new approaches to storytelling.”

Sonic Trace, a co-production at KCRW initiated through AIR’s 2012–2013 Localore initiative, received a direct NEA grant of $75,000 to continue exploring the experience of Latino immigrants. NEA also backed digital media projects at NPR, providing $100,000 for music programming and multimedia content. Continue Reading

POV announces 26th season lineup, plans a move to Mondays

After a season of bad press following PBS's much-maligned 2012 decision to move its flagship independent documentary program POV from Tuesday nights to Thursdays, the show will move to Mondays for its 26th season, which premieres June 24. POV announced the lineup for its new season today. The program is also building off another recent round of good news: a $1 million grant from the MacArthur Foundation on Feb. 28. Its premiere episode will be Homegoings, a documentary about Harlem undertakers that was selected as part of the New York Museum of Modern Art's 2013 Documentary Fortnight. The lineup, with 15 national broadcast premieres and two encore presentations, will also include the Oscar-nominated Palestinian film 5 Broken Cameras on Aug. Continue Reading

POV’s American Promise wins special jury award for U.S. docs

The 90-minute feature was produced and directed by Joe Brewster and Michèle Stephenson, a married couple who traced the education of two African-American boys — their own son and his best friend — at a private school in Manhattan from 1999 through 2012. “All American families want to give their children the opportunity to succeed. But the truth is, opportunity is just the first step, particularly for families raising black boys,” said Stephenson. “We hope American Promise shines a light on these issues.”

The film had its world premiere at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah, Jan. 21 and received the award Jan. Continue Reading

POV and StoryCorps each receive $1 million from MacArthur Foundation

American Documentary, home to PBS’s independent film showcase POV, and StoryCorps, the oral history project heard on NPR, are each receiving $1 million from the MacArthur Foundation’s latest round of Awards for Creative and Effective Institutions. The grants, awarded to 13 recipients in five countries, help ensure the long-term sustainability of each organization, according to the foundation. “The award is not only recognition for past leadership and success but also an investment in the future,” the Chicago-based foundation said in the Feb. 28 announcement. “Organizations will use this support to build cash reserves and endowments, develop strategic plans and upgrade technology and physical infrastructure.”

Organizations do not apply for the awards; rather, MacArthur nominates and selects them. Continue Reading

POV, StoryCorps get $1 million each from MacArthur Foundation

American Documentary, home to PBS’s independent film showcase POV, and StoryCorps, the oral history project heard on NPR, are each receiving $1 million as recipients of the latest round of MacArthur Foundation Awards for Creative and Effective Institutions, announced today. The grants help ensure the long-term sustainability of the winners, 13 organizations in five countries, according to the foundation. “The award is not only recognition for past leadership and success but also an investment in the future,” the Chicago-based foundation said in the announcement. “Organizations will use this support to build cash reserves and endowments, develop strategic plans and upgrade technology and physical infrastructure.”

Organizations do not apply for the awards; rather, MacArthur nominates and selects them. To qualify, the foundation said, nonprofits must "demonstrate exceptional creativity and effectiveness; have reached a critical or strategic point in their development; show strong leadership and stable financial management; have previously received MacArthur support; and engage in work central to one of MacArthur’s core programs." Continue Reading

Oscar-nominated POV filmmaker detained at airport

Palestinian documentary filmmaker Emad Burnat, whose Oscar-nominated film 5 Broken Cameras received funding from PBS's POV, was detained Feb. 20 at Los Angeles International Airport after arriving in the country for Sunday's Academy Awards ceremony. The news that Burnat had been held for one and a half hours was first tweeted by friend and fellow documentary filmmaker Michael Moore. Burnat later released a statement confirming that he and his family had been detained and threatened with deportation and that they had been forced to provide proof that he had been nominated for an Oscar. "Although this was an unpleasant experience, this is a daily occurrence for Palestinians, every single day, throughout the West Bank," Burnat said. Continue Reading