POV Revealed (2/2): The Filters & Selection Process. What Are Your Odds of Success?
In this post: What is POV’s selection process, from Open Call to Offer?
- The Filters.
- Who decides?
- What are your odds?
- Read POV Revealed, Part 1.
- Also: POV‘s 2015 and 2014 selections.
- Great non-fiction storytelling.
- Address social issues and issues neglected elsewhere.
- Have a strong point of view from the filmmaker and/or the characters.
- “Our strand is called ‘POV’ for a reason” says EP Chris White. “Our films are often a subjective take on a controversial issue.”
- “POV films involve viewers in an issue through the eyes of an active participant or observer.”
- Aesthetically bold: “The filmmaker has a unique editorial style that pushes the boundaries of the craft of filmmaking.”
- Emotional resonance
- POV’s filters are combined with a “curatorial eye”
- The POV team ensures that themes and styles are not redundant.
- And that needed topics are explored.
- “Themes frequently emerge organically” says Chris White. “Examples are human rights and immigration.”
Domestic? Or Global?
- U.S. topics: 10+/-
- International topics: 6+/-
- “About half of these come from international filmmakers – but the mix varies from year to year. This year, we are at about 50/50.”
Marketing and Promotional Clout
We asked if it makes a difference if a project arrives with powerful marketing relationships in place:
- “We’re interested in hooks and ties that will expand a film’s audience. But it’s the quality of the film that leads our decision.”
- POV develops national public awareness campaigns which can include presenting films to critics at the Television Critics, Satellite TV and Radio media tours.
ACQUISITIONS PROCESS & TIMELINE
1. Open Call
- End of June
- POV receives 1,000+ entries for 16+/- slots
- The entries fall into three categories, based principally on their level of completion:
- Early Introduction
Treatment and some scenes are complete
Few projects are funded that are in these early stages
But many are watched or mentored for the next year’s Open Call
Films need post: 50% of projects.
30 minutes and under
- Early Introduction
POV staff also attends many markets and festivals scouting for projects in production
- These include Sundance, IDFA (Amsterdam), Hot Docs (Toronto), Sheffield Doc/Fest, Full Frame, IFP Independent Film Week and others
3. Screening for Short List
- 20 pre-screeners + 5 POV staff members sift through the 1,000+/- Open Call applicants
- They develop a shortlist of 25-30 films
4. Editorial Advisory Committee
- Selection panel is comprised of:
- 6 public TV station representatives
- 6 independents, including filmmakers and festival programmers
- Panel is sequestered for a long weekend in early October:
- Each film is screened by 4 of 12 panelists in its entirety
- Each film is presented to the full panel, with extended clips
- Final 15-16 films recommended by end of weekend
- The POV team exercises a final ‘curatorial filter’ in case a topic or style of filmmaking is over-represented.
- The final decision made by POV’s executive team.
- Broadcast offers are rolled out after the editorial committee and POV staff editorial meeting
POST / COMPLETION
- Filmmakers who accept the offer complete their work and cut their film to the POV clock
- Chris White says “POV provides editorial feedback and support, but we don’t make the final cut. The filmmaker’s vision is the key.”
- The work is completed by the filmmaker or sometimes in-house at POV.
- New season is announced in early February
- The POV slot is scheduled weekly on Monday nights at 10PM, June-October
- The PBS footprint covers 115 million TV households, and POV reaches 96%+/- of them
- Audience for premieres:
- High: 1,900,000
- Low: 500,000
- POV has a mission to foster dialogue in communities and classrooms around issues that are raised in its films
- The POV team works in partnership with local public television stations, national non-profit organizations, cultural institutions, community groups, educators and more to facilitate free screenings, discussions, panels, roundtables, conference sessions and workshops.
- Every year, POV facilitates 600+ screening events across the U.S.
- POV develops resource materials for every film to help foster dialogue, education and action. These materials include standards-aligned lesson plans, discussion guides and reading lists, all available to download for free.
- Examples of outreach resources are: Here, here, here and here
OTHER POV INITIATIVES
American Documentary Inc is the non-profit organization that is the parent of POV.
- A new series AMERICA REFRAMED was launched in 2012 in collaboration with PBS WORLD.
- AMERICA REFRAMED licenses completed films focused on contemporary American stories.
- Films that are in a second window are eligible for AMERICA REFRAMED
- The license fee for AMERICA REFRAMED has been $4,o00 for a two-year license, which POV is hoping to increase.
- POV HACKATHONS:
Held 4 times per year, the HACKATHONS are a place to experiment with new digital storytelling tools, matching filmmakers with coders and programmers to develop prototypes.
- Digital Co-productions:
With funding from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation in 2014-15, POV increased its digital co-productions,hired a technology fellow to create VR tools for film and media makers; and POV continues to host successful Hackathons throughout the year.
- Filmmaker Resources:
POV launched a new online resource for filmmakers with opportunities for funding, distribution and festivals.
POV partners with The New York Times to co-produce a series of digital documentaries to premiere on both organizations’ websites, with accompanying articles and interviews.
Many thanks to Nicole Tsien for her contribution to our coverage of POV.
All regular programs aired Mondays at 10p. Here is the press release.
- June 22 – Out in the Night by Blare Dorosh-Walther
- June 29 – The Overnighters by Jesse Moss
- July 6 – Tough Love by Stephanie Wang-Breal
- July 13 – Web Junkie by Shosh Shlam and Hilla Medalia
- July 20 – Return to Homs by Talal Derki
- July 27 – Tea Time by Maite Alberdi
- August 3 – Beasts of the Antonov by Hajooj Kuka
- August 17– Neuland by Anna Thommen
- August 24 – Point and Shoot by Marshall Curry
- August 31– The Storm Makers by Guillaume Suon
- September 18 – Cutie and the Boxer by Zachary Heinzerling
- September 21 – Don’t Tell Anyone by Mikaela Shwer
- September 25 – Art and Craft by Sam Cullman Jennifer Grausman
- October 2 – Ai Weiwe: The Fake Case by Andreas Johnsen
POV promotion at Photoville 2015, Brooklyn Bridge Park
POV 2014 SCHEDULE
All regular programs air Mondays at 10 p.m.
- June 23 — When I Walk by Jason DaSilva
- June 30 — American Revolutionary: The Evolution of Grace Lee Boggs by Grace Lee
- July 7 — My Way to Olympia by Niko von Glasow
- July 14 — Getting Back to Abnormal by Louis Alvarez, Andrew Kolker, Peter Odabashian, and Paul Stekler
- July 21 — Dance For Me by Katrine Philip
- July 28 —Fallen Cityby Qi Zhao
- Aug. 4 — 15 to Life: Kenneth’s Story by Nadine Pequeneza
- August 11 – Neurotypical by Adam Larsen
- August 18 – A World Not Ours byMahdi Fleifel
- August 25 – Big Men by Rachel Boynton
- September 1 – After Tiller by Martha Shane and Lana Wilson
- September 8 – The Genius of Marian by Banker White and Anna Fitch
- September 2 – Koch by Neil Barsky
Fall/Winter Special Broadcast:
- October 6 – The Act of Killing by Joshua Oppenheimer
Spring Special Broadcast:
- Cutie and the Boxer by Zachary Heinzerling (date TBA)