PBS' independent documentary series POV has opened its doors for submissions to the 2014 broadcast season, and you've got until the end of the month to finish that masterpiece before they slam shut again. And with a mission like "telling stories that are not often seen in the mainstream," who wouldn't feel inclined to enter? So if you have a doc in the glint of your eye, holla at POV right now like you know what's up. As always, details after the jump.
First things first: Friday, June 28th is the arrive-by deadline, so get your application in the mail long before then. Or better yet, upload a digital submission. Got a short or a documentary that won't be ready in time? Don't despair: POV reviews finished films as well as fine and rough cuts that will be ready for broadcast in 2014. Completion funding is also an option for films at the assembly/rough/fine cut stage, and Early Introductions are recommended for less developed projects.
How deep is the competition? POV says, "Every year, more than 1,000 films compete for 12-15 slots on the POV broadcast schedule, so what’s a documentary filmmaker to do if she wants to fill one of those coveted slots?"
Here's what they're looking for:
Strong Aesthetics, Solid Craft
These are subjective criteria and POV airs an assortment of documentary styles, so check out these examples of POV directors and films:
- Ross McElwee's Bright Leaves
- Lourdes Portillo's Señorita Extraviada
- Jennifer Dworkin's Love & Diane
- Frederick Wiseman's High School
- Eric Daniel Metzgar’s The Chances of the World Changing
A Point of View
Surprise, surprise. POV wants a singular POV -- that means no survey (multi-plot) films, and no historical films or biographies "unless the subject is someone whose impact on our culture is largely unknown."
Your film should have context surrounding the main character which adds to the story and to our understanding of the world we live in. In POV's words, "POV films should move viewers to examine their own lives, look more closely at an issue, think differently about a group of 'other' people or shift their focus outside themselves." This doesn't mean that the story needs to focus on a major issue or historical event -- but the larger world should play a defining role in the story. Some examples POV provides to illustrate the small story/big picture thing:
- Tasha Oldham's The Smith Family
- Linda Goode Bryant and Laura Poitras' Flag Wars
- Tom Shephard's Scout’s Honor
- Madeleine Gavin, Judith Katz and Gary Sunshine's What I Want My Word to Do to You
- Jessica Yu's In the Realm of the Unreal
Uncommon Stories, Uncovered Lives
This one makes me happy POV exists. They're telling all those stories ignored by mainstream media. As POV puts it:
"Part of POV’s mandate is telling stories that are not often seen in the mainstream and serving communities that are traditionally underserved in mainstream media. There are lots of outlets for some stories (OJ, Britney and Anna Nicole, for example), and zero outlets for others. POV tries to tell the stories that won’t otherwise be told and has been doing so since the beginning of the series."
- Tongues Untied by Marlon Riggs
- Leona’s Sister Gerri by Jane Gilooly
- Silverlake Life: The View From Here by Tom Joslin and Peter Friedman
Cover Your Bases
Your film has roughly a 1% chance of getting chosen by POV because of the incredible competition for their few (12-15) slots, so don't put all your eggs in one basket. Apply for all the other grants we send your way, and you'll have better chances of getting somewhere at the end of the day. For more info, check out POV's "For Filmmakers" resource.
If you're interested in entering, go here!
I'll be submitting a new little ditty I've been working on called Brigidy Bram. Here's the teaser:
So, who's applying with me? Does anyone have experience with POV?