About The Series

Each year, POV brings 14 to 16 new films to public television viewers. Our summer series and year-round specials push the boundaries of nonfiction television with work from emerging and established filmmakers that reflects the range and diversity of American voices — viewpoints that enrich, enlarge, challenge and refine our experience of the world.

If your nonfiction film has a strong perspective, a dedication to craft, contemporary relevance and a passion for your topic, then the POV series is the best place for a national television broadcast. If you believe the entire country should see your film, POV is for you.

POV films are seen in 97% of the country with an average audience of 2 million per broadcast, making POV the most-watched independent documentary showcase on television today. Thousands see our films in community and educational screenings around the country, and our website has millions of visitors each year. We also develop strategic national press and promotional campaigns to highlight the issues explored in POV films.

POV is filmmaker-focused; intent on supporting and presenting the work of today's best contemporary storytellers. We believe in the power of stories to broaden our understanding of the world around us. Our films are used in communities to educate and foster dialogue about today’s critical social issues. Our goal is to surround each film with the tools to ensure a long and active life on television and beyond.

Eligibility

Non-fiction only.

Works that integrate some fictional elements or create genre hybrids can be considered. Please do not submit docudramas, reenactments, or performance pieces. When in doubt, please email cfe@pov.org, and include a number where we can reach you.

Works that have not been broadcast nationally.

POV expects to provide the US broadcast premiere of a program. POV will, however, consider a work when it is of special merit and has had only limited television exposure (such as broadcast on local public TV stations or on cable systems with limited geographical reach).

Works by independent filmmakers.

Works produced by filmmakers in association with a station or organization are acceptable if editorial control was entirely in the hands of the filmmaker. Instructional films, films made for a client, and sponsored films are not eligible.

POV welcomes and encourages submissions by both domestic and international filmmakers.

If your non-fiction film has not been previously broadcast in the US, and meets all other eligibility requirements, you may submit your film to POV. If your film is not in English, you must submit a version with English subtitles.

Works released within the past four years.

POV will consider exceptional works completed before this date only if they have achieved significant recognition through festivals, awards or reviews. However, the producer or distributor must contact our office to obtain clearance before the work is submitted. Eligibility of films released prior to the four-year cut-off date is solely at the discretion of the Executive Director.

Works of any length will be considered.

Though we prioritize feature and hour films, short films (30 mins. and under) are welcomed and encouraged to be submitted in the "Short Film" category. If acquired, please note that producers may be asked to cut works to comply with the POV/PBS broadcast format.

Works that are complete or near completion.

POV considers completed work or fine cuts for standard acquisition. Samples, assemblies, or excerpts usually cannot be considered for broadcast in the upcoming season. If you have a documentary project you’d like us to know about, please submit under the Early Introduction category and see guidelines for details.

Works not previously submitted to POV.

If a film has been previously submitted to POV in non-final form (rough cut), the film can be submitted again if it is finished and/or the story has changed significantly since the previous submission. A small number of producers are invited to re-submit their films, but POV will contact directly.

Works that comply with PBS underwriting guidelines.

For details on PBS National Program Funding Standards and Practices, please visit the PBS web site at www.pbs.org/producers/.

The Executive Director reserves the right to make exceptions to these guidelines in special cases.

Funding

The series also occasionally provides limited funds for completion costs such as post-production needs. Completion funding will be applied towards the acquisition fee for broadcast rights. See our resources page for other funding opportunities.

Further Information

Learn more in our Resources for Filmmakers section about the variety of funding and broadcasting opportunities available to independent producers at PBS.

Questions? Call us at 212-989-8121 ext. 380 or email cfe@pov.org.