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PBS Announces Open Call for Emerging Filmmakers
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ARLINGTON, VA; February 2, 2021 — Today during its Winter Press Tour, PBS announced an open call for submissions for long and short form films by next generation content creators. This initiative will further amplify the voices of diverse/BIPOC producers across public media, inviting submissions that explore a broad range of experiences, perspectives and points of view.

Whether in the early concept stages of developing a film or nearing completion with final edits, PBS will offer funding support to the top entries, determined by editorial criteria. Upon completion, selected projects may be distributed across PBS platforms such as and PBS Digital Studios, and/or broadcast through PBS’s national and local schedules.

With this open call, PBS will elevate and fund the next generation of diverse filmmakers. This effort coincides with PBS’s continued work to support a broad coalition of multicultural media makers—such as its long-standing partnerships with ITVS, POV, World Channel, Latino Public Broadcasting, Black Public Media, Vision Maker Media, Pacific Islanders in Communications, and the Center for Asian American Media.

This year alone, PBS has committed over half of its 2021 primetime schedule to include diverse on-screen talent and/or address subject matter related to diversity and inclusion. As a system that serves every person in every community, representing the full range of the American experience is— and always has been—core to PBS’s work.

"At PBS, we are always looking to amplify the untold stories of America. We believe that every part of the story— from who is in it, to who is making it, to how it gets made— is important,” said Sylvia Bugg, Chief Programming Executive and General Manager, General Audience Programming at PBS. “This open call is a way for us to reach unique content creators whose work can foster dialogue and encourage engagement across the public media system.”

Bugg made the open call announcement during PBS’s virtual Television Critics Association Press Tour, in which she led a panel entitled “The Future of American Storytelling,” and highlighted the importance of the next generation of filmmakers. The panel featured Bernardo Ruiz, director, VOCES “Latino Vote: Dispatches from the Battleground;" Ursula Liang, director and producer, INDEPENDENT LENS “Down a Dark Stairwell;” Sara Wolitzky, producer, McGee Media and director, NOT DONE: WOMEN REMAKING AMERICA; and Stacey L. Holman, producer, THE BLACK CHURCH: THIS IS OUR STORY, THIS IS OUR SONG.

Full details and criteria of the open call will be released on March 1 via PBS social channels and on

About PBS

PBS, with more than 330 member stations, offers all Americans the opportunity to explore new ideas and new worlds through television and digital content. Each month, PBS reaches over 126 million people through television and 26 million people online, inviting them to experience the worlds of science, history, nature and public affairs; to hear diverse viewpoints; and to take front row seats to world-class drama and performances. PBS’ broad array of programs has been consistently honored by the industry’s most coveted award competitions. Teachers of children from pre-K through 12th grade turn to PBS for digital content and services that help bring classroom lessons to life. Decades of research confirms that PBS’ premier children’s media service, PBS KIDS, helps children build critical literacy, math and social-emotional skills, enabling them to find success in school and life. Delivered through member stations, PBS KIDS offers high-quality educational content on TV – including a 24/7 channel, online at, via an array of mobile apps and in communities across America. More information about PBS is available at, one of the leading dot-org websites on the internet, or by following PBS on Twitter, Facebook or through our apps for mobile and connected devices. Specific program information and updates for press are available at or by following PBS Pressroom on Twitter.

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