The last installment in our “Making Independent Film Work for Your Station” series features PBS So Cal. Led by Jamie Annunzio Myers, the COO and VP of Engagement, independent films have been used to create innovative impact and dialogue, and serve as a great resource for station members, as well as the Los Angeles community at large. PBS So Cal’s stellar film engagement initiatives have broken new ground by focusing on the power of cultivating local partnerships, connecting station initiatives to film content, while positioning the station for funding acquisitions.

A great example of these efforts includes POV’s All the Difference (watch the trailer here). The film that follows two young men, African American teens who hail from the South Side of Chicago, as they dream of becoming college graduates, against the odds of dropping out of high school. PBS So Cal organized impactful youth screenings specifically designed to connect with and inspire first generation college students who live in Los Angeles. The film’s producer Wes Moore and rap artist/activist Rhymefest, who have defied their own odds to achieve success also participated in the programming, and participated in dialogue to support African American male achievement. In addition to utilizing this talent opportunity, the campaign initiative also established local collaborations, provided educational resources, and included media relations that brought together local funders, and reached new, diverse audiences.

PBS So Cal’s work also includes Independent Lens’ Indie Lens Pop Up series which has been instrumental in building partnerships with other stations and community venues. The Bad Kids, a compelling education documentary about at risk youth in California (watch the trailer here). The post screening program featured young people who attended alternative schools, and shared about their journey to overcome challenges, while an education reporter from partner NPR station, KPCC moderated the conversation. The film was part of a series that forged a strong collaboration between a local museum, and co-producing partner NPR, KPCC.

Myers and her team have used independent film very successful to establish a range of strong relationships that in turn have strengthened their station’s diverse community. For more insight on their effective model, take a look at Jamie’s case study for more information on how you can also use film to create meaningful impact in a variety of ways for your station.

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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 400 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.