$1 Million Award Recognizes American Documentary and Its Groundbreaking Public Television Series, POV, for Extraordinary Creativity and Effectiveness
New York, NY, Feb. 28, 2013 – American Documentary | POV is one of only 13 nonprofit organizations around the world to win this year’s MacArthur Award for Creative and Effective Institutions. The award, which was announced today, recognizes exceptional grantees that have demonstrated creativity and impact, and invests in their long-term sustainability with sizable one-time grants.
American Documentary, Inc. (AmDoc) produces the award-winning series POV (Point of View), which is celebrating its 25th year on PBS. American television’s longest-running showcase for independent documentaries, POV has presented more than 365 films since its first season in 1988. POV films have won every major film and broadcasting award, including 32 Emmy Awards® and three Academy Awards®. POV airs from June through October, with primetime specials throughout the year. POV’s 26th season begins in June 2013 with an auspicious move to Mondays at 10 p.m. on PBS (check local listings).
“The POV series was founded on a simple but powerful premise–that the vision of independent documentary filmmakers had the power to engage audiences and explore the great issues of our time,” said American Documentary | POV’s Executive Director/Executive Producer Simon Kilmurry. “Over the past 25 years the impact and the importance of these films in our culture have grown exponentially and continue to do so. This landmark award from the MacArthur Foundation affirms this vision and sets American Documentary on a path to secure POV’s future and attract new audiences with smart, engaging and enlightening films.”
“It is quite a victory for our organization to receive this coveted MacArthur Award and to be among the stellar organizations recognized for their dedication to fostering creativity in the public interest,” said American Documentary | POV’s Executive Vice President/Co-Executive Producer Cynthia López. “Documentary filmmakers are instrumental in providing a window into the lives, beliefs and policies that impact our lives. We appreciate MacArthur’s investment in the documentary form and its potential to spark public dialogue and make our communities better places to live.”
Since its inception, AmDoc has continually gone “beyond the broadcast” to spark critical conversations in communities across the country. Working with public television stations, educational institutions and national and local organizations, the POV team builds public-awareness campaigns by coordinating more than 600 screenings a year, along with discussions, panels, roundtables and conference sessions. This kind of cross-community dialogue is critical in tackling some of the most pressing challenges we face as a society, including food safety (Food, Inc.), health care (Critical Condition), veterans’ affairs (Where Soldiers Come From), immigration (Sin País) and education (American Promise).
AmDoc has proven nimble in adapting new-media formats, and proactive in finding new opportunities for collaboration. POV has produced original programs in partnership with ABC News’ Nightline, PBS NEWSHOUR and The New York Times, as well as animated documentaries with the acclaimed oral-history project StoryCorps and initiatives to foster the next generation of young filmmakers. Pushing the boundaries of digital storytelling, POV hosts weekend Hackathons at its Brooklyn headquarters to find the “next big thing” in interactive media, and it has increased the public’s access to POV programs with an ever-expanding library of new and archival films available free online and on mobile devices.
In honor of POV’s 25 years on PBS, The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) is currently presenting a special retrospective, MoMA Selects: POV, during its Documentary Fortnight 2013 showcase. The six-day event, which concludes on March 4, features 21 POV films that have tackled some of society’s most vital social and political issues, plus the world premiere of Homegoings, about African-American funeral traditions, which will have its national broadcast premiere later this year on POV.
American Documentary | POV will use its $1 million MacArthur Award for Creative and Effective Institutions to build its cash reserves and complete an infrastructure upgrade.
According to MacArthur, the Award is not only recognition for past leadership and success but also an investment in the future. Organizations will use this support to build cash reserves and endowments, develop strategic plans, and upgrade technology and physical infrastructure.
For these Awards, the Foundation does not seek or accept nominations. To qualify, organizations must demonstrate exceptional creativity and effectiveness; have reached a critical or strategic point in their development; show strong leadership and stable financial management; have previously received MacArthur support; and engage in work central to one of MacArthur’s core programs.
Additional information about why MacArthur selected American Documentary | POV for the Award and an overview video are at http://www.macfound.org/maceirecipients/61/.