Interning at POV

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Alba Jaramillo is a recent graduate of the New College of Florida with a bachelor’s degree in Liberal Arts–Humanities and a POV intern. She writes about the intern site visit she coordinated for her fellow interns in the Arts and Business Council program.

This summer, I was one of 11 college students chosen to participate in the Arts and Business Council (ABC) of New York’s Multicultural Arts Management Internship Program. Sponsored by ConEdison, the internship program aims to promote diversity in the field of arts management by helping minority students obtain professional experience and make connections in the field. As an ABC intern at POV, I assisted with day-to-day operations, as well as with longer term projects associated with POV films. For the culmination of the internship, I — with the help of POV’s Anne del Castillo (director of development) and Jessica Lee (outreach and development assistant) — coordinated a site visit for all of the ABC interns to POV on July 23rd, bringing interns from organizations like WNYC, Wave Hill, Theater Development Fund, Mark Morris Dance Company, Bronx Museum of Art, Museum of African Diaspora, Arts Free Arts and Queens Theater in the Park to the POV offices. The attendees also included ABC’s executive director Will Maitland Weiss, as well as representatives from ConEdison, including my business mentor, ConEdison’s manager of economic development Stuart Leffler.

Group shot of the 2009 ABC summer interns

ABC 2009 interns. Back row (l-r): Nick Langlante (Theater Development Fund), Patricia Carino (Bronx Museum of Art), Alberto Rios de la Rosa (Wave Hill), Debra Cartright (Museum of African Diasporan Arts), Clayton Rosa (Queens Theater in the Park).
Front Row (l-r): Karen Chen (Arts and Business Concil of New York), Jingqiu Guan (Mark Morris Dance Group), Alba Jaramillo (POV), Shanelle Mills (Free Arts), Natalia Sanders (Manhattan New Music Project), Melanie Chow (WNYC).

POV’s executive director Simon Kilmurry kicked off the site visit with an overview of POV, its history and its ties to PBS. The ABC interns were particularly interested in the way in which films are chosen for the series. Interns were surprised to learn that although POV’s programming and production department steers the process, many others — from staff to PBS programmers to independent media makers — contribute to the curating of the series. “We want to have a wide range of perspectives that reflect the variety of our audience,” Simon explained in regards to staff involvement in evaluating the films. A few of the ABC interns made note of the difference between POV’s curatorial process and the process at art museums, whose curatorial departments are separate from the rest of the staff. Karen Chen, one of the ABC interns, pointed out that the POV staff, as a whole, “seems much more involved in the process — from critiquing the films, to talking to the filmmakers and asking for their input, to finding venues to screen the documentaries.”

POV vice president Cynthia Lopez and director of development Anne del Castillo expanded on POV’s public awareness campaigns, using the campaigns for the films Made in L.A. and Critical Condition as examples. Cynthia explained how POV partners with other organizations to raise awareness around the issues in the films, and provides resources for audiences to take action in their communities.

Our afternoon continued with a screening of Bronx Princess, which will air on POV in September. Yoni Brook, who made the film with Musa Syeed, came into the POV offices to answer our questions. Yoni talked about how he and Musa came to make the film, the challenges of the filmmaking process and how he got comfortable with the subjects. Anne del Castillo added that for Bronx Princess, which is about the Bronx-born teenage daughter of Ghanaian parents, POV’s community outreach efforts would be targeted toward first-generation college students who are transitioning from high school to college.

As I listened to Yoni talk about his film, I realized that the afternoon had really elucidated the process of how a film comes to and works with POV: it showed me the evolution of an idea, how that idea is realized by the filmmaker, and POV’s role in helping that idea have an impact on society.

“Being in the POV offices shined light on the intricacies of documentary work. It was also great to have executives and supervisors talk to us. I felt like they showed their passion and commitment to their job, and that also helped create a very positive environment” said Patricia Carino, an ABC intern at the Bronx Museum of Art.

The site visit to POV was a success, and we were happy to bring a new take on arts management to the ABC program. All the interns got a look at a multimedia arts showcase, and got a peek at what goes on behind the scenes!

POV Staff
POV Staff
POV (a cinema term for "point of view") is television's longest-running showcase for independent non-fiction films. POV premieres 14-16 of the best, boldest and most innovative programs every year on PBS. Since 1988, POV has presented over 300 films to public television audiences across the country. POV films are known for their intimacy, their unforgettable storytelling and their timeliness, putting a human face on contemporary social issues.