January 20, 2015
Does anyone still need broadcast TV to reach an audience? I mean, hello, YouTube, and hey there, Amazon Prime.
That’s the question that hit independent documentary filmmakers across the country in late December, when it looked like the two public TV series that carry indie docs—Independent Lens and POV—might get moved to the programming equivalent of Siberia. A 1,200 signature petition changed WNET and PBS’s minds for the moment, and prompted a nation-wide listening tour. The first event on the tour, in San Francisco, packed a room with more than 200 people, speaking about how indie film on public TV makes a difference to soldiers, moms, vets, immigrants, young people and more.
But in a cord-cutting world, why are indie filmmakers so passionate about public TV?