The third letter in our series of letters from past executive producers for POV comes from Lisa Heller, who fondly remembers her time at AmDoc in terms of a certain well-known space Western:
A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away….(Wisconsin), I was an assistant at the local public television station and moonlighting as a member of a lovable indy film collective that programmed some screenings in and around the university. It never occurred to me that these two worlds could ever connect in a meaningful way. One year our film group brought in director Maria DeLuca to show her wonderful documentary Green Streets. She reported that the film was airing on something called “POV.” It was the first I had heard of this national series that aimed to marry the power of independent nonfiction filmmaking with the reach and access of PBS.
When I came to New York, I hoped to find the people who had the nerve to dream up such a thing. Maria connected me with the remarkable Ellen Weyrauch (one of the wise Yodas at the POV office in those early days) and before I knew it, I was handed a shopping bag full of VHS tapes for pre-screening… And so it began.
Obi-Weiss Kenobi and Princess Leia Schneider (aka Marc Weiss and Ellen Schneider) were at the helm during my time at the American Documentary. They were and remain two of the bravest, smartest and most adventurous thinkers about the vital role that public media can play in civic life. To have “studied” with them during my POV tenure was transformative. It had a deep and lasting impact on how I understand the responsibility we have as curators to fortify and amplify the work of visionary filmmakers and the true stories they dare to tell.
Onward and upward, POV!