New York, N.Y. – Sept. 11, 2007 – Two of PBS’s flagship documentary series, FRONTLINE and POV/American Documentary, will be honored with a Special Award for Excellence in Television Documentary Filmmaking at the 28th Annual News & Documentary Emmy® Awards. FRONTLINE, which will mark its 25th anniversary in January 2008, will be honored for more than 24 years of outstanding long-form public affairs documentaries. POV/American Documentary, which is in its 20th season on PBS this year, will be commended for its two decades as a showcase for outstanding independent documentary films.
The awards will be presented at the News & Documentary Emmy Awards black-tie dinner at the Sheraton New York Hotel and Towers on Monday, September 24 (5:30 PM reception; dinner/awards presentation: 6:15 PM).
Also that evening, Emmy Awards for news and documentary programming will be presented in 32 categories, including four Emmy Awards for content created specifically for broadband. Sponsors for the 28th Annual News & Documentary Emmy Awards include Grass Valley, a Thomson brand; and Television Week, the print partner.
“POV films are artful, courageous and personal. They reveal hidden aspects of contemporary life and challenge how we see the world.”
—Simon Kilmurry, Executive Director, POV
“FRONTLINE and POV/American Documentary are highly deserving of the National Academy’s special award for documentary filmmaking,” said Peter Price, President/CEO of the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (NATAS). “Their exemplary efforts in keeping regularly scheduled documentary series alive on television, and in incorporating broadband elements in support of timely examination and discussion of the issues of our time, are worthy of our recognition. We honor both FRONTLINE and POV/American Documentary for their decades of fine work.”
“From FRONTLINE I expect well-crafted, intelligent documentaries that examine complex and controversial subjects in a thoughtful and dispassionate manner,” said Bill Small, Chairman of the News & Documentary Emmy Awards. “From POV I expect equally distinguished filmmaking, but filtered through the particular sensibility of the filmmaker. Together these two outstanding series demonstrate PBS’s commitment to supporting the art of documentary filmmaking in all its dimensions.”
Since January 1983, FRONTLINE has served as PBS’s flagship public affairs series. Hailed upon its television broadcast debut as “the last best hope for broadcast documentaries,” FRONTLINE’s stature over almost 25 years is reaffirmed each week through incisive documentaries covering the scope and complexity of the human experience. From the beginning, FRONTLINE has forged a connection between literate journalism and distinguished filmmaking, to craft an intelligent series that doesn’t shy away from controversial or complex issues.
FRONTLINE is committed to providing a primetime venue for engaging documentaries that fully explore and illuminate the critical stories of our times. The series has won all of the major awards for broadcast journalism, including 35 Emmys, 23 duPont-Columbia University Awards, 12 Peabody Awards, and 11 Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Awards. In 1990 and 1996, FRONTLINE was recognized with the Gold baton, duPont-Columbia’s highest award, for its “total contribution to the world of exceptional television.” In 2002, the series was honored with an unprecedented third Gold Baton for its post September 11th coverage, a series of seven hour-long documentaries on the origins and impact of terrorism. And in 2003, “A Dangerous Business,” the FRONTLINE/New York Times joint-investigation of the cast-iron pipe-making industry was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for public service.
FRONTLINE’s impact stretches beyond the small screen to the Web, where each documentary program is accompanied by an in-depth Web site. In 1995, FRONTLINE developed one of the first deep content Web sites in history. By publishing interviews, research and additional editorial materials on the Web, the series made a commitment to transparent journalism and subsequently changed the nature and content of traditional broadcast journalism. Rather than ephemeral one-time transmissions, the documentaries and their ancillary materials are now preserved on the series’ Web site, www.pbs.org/frontline. The series now streams over 75 hours of full-length documentaries on the site. More than 15 million Web users visit the FRONTLINE site downloading over 40 million pages annually.
Nearing its 25th anniversary, FRONTLINE has reported on a wide range of topics–from child sexual abuse to early Christianity, from politics to the press, from Rwanda to Washington, all while providing its journalists the time needed to thoroughly research a story to tell it in a compelling way. The hard work has carried FRONTLINE to an audience that reaches more than 3 million viewers each week, with targeted FRONTLINE limited series reaching upwards of 11 million viewers.
ABOUT POV/AMERICAN DOCUMENTARY
POV is a production of American Documentary, a leading nonprofit media organization dedicated to creating, identifying and presenting contemporary nonfiction stories that express opinions and perspectives rarely featured in mainstream media.
Since 1988, POV has produced and presented on PBS over 250 of the most important documentary films of our time. These films — coupled with extensive national reach and local collaborations — have brought powerful documentary storytelling into people’s lives, and brought public dialogue on issues of national importance to a new level.
The series has provided a showcase for the early efforts of documentary superstars like Errol Morris, Jonathan Demme, Michael Moore and Freida Lee Mock, and introduced new generations of viewers to legendary films like Albert and David Maysles’ Salesman, Fred Wiseman’s High School and Mel Stuart’s Wattstax. POV has won every coveted industry award, including 18 Emmys, 11 George Foster Peabody Awards, eight Alfred I. duPont-Columbia Broadcast Journalism Awards, three Academy Awards, 36 Cine Golden Eagles, the Prix Italia and the Webby Award.
“POV films are artful, courageous and personal,” says executive director Simon Kilmurry. “They reveal hidden aspects of contemporary life and challenge how we see the world.”
As a catalyst for public dialogue, American Documentary goes “beyond the broadcast,” partnering with television and radio stations, community groups and local and national organizations to spark conversation about the issues presented on television and online. Screenings, panel discussions and public events are designed to trigger action, from dialogue and feedback to educational opportunities and community participation.
“Our programs take the pulse of what is happening in the world,” observes vice president Cynthia Lopez. “They embrace, examine and celebrate diversity in contemporary society.”
American Documentary is a leader in extending the reach of documentaries online and on the ground. POV develops award-winning public awareness campaigns for each film and Web sites with special features including interviews and story updates, podcasts, streaming video and community-based and educational materials — all designed to engage audiences with the issues.
ABOUT THE NATIONAL ACADEMY OF TELEVISION ARTS & SCIENCES
The National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (NATAS) is a professional service organization dedicated to the advancement of the arts and sciences of television and the promotion of creative leadership for artistic, educational and technical achievements within the television industry. It recognizes excellence in television with the coveted Emmy Award for News & Documentary, Sports, Daytime Entertainment, Daytime Creative Arts & Entertainment, Public & Community Service, Technology & Engineering, and Business & Financial Reporting. Beginning in 2006, NATAS began recognizing programming produced for the Internet, cell phones, and portable media players with its new Broadband Emmy Award for Outstanding Achievement in Content for Broadband and Portable Delivery. Excellence in Primetime programming and international programming is recognized by its affiliate, the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. Regional Emmys are given in 19 regions across the United States. Beyond awards, NATAS has extensive educational programs including National Student Television and its Student Award for Excellence for outstanding journalistic work by high school students, as well as scholarships, publications, and major activities for both industry professionals and the viewing public. For more information, please visit the website at www.emmyonline.tv.