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Updates and statements from the Indie Caucus.


Indie Caucus Responds to PBS Statement

Tim Horsburgh reports on a new plan PBS unveiled today that will keep Independent Lens and POV on WNET's Monday night schedule. Additionally, the network is committing extra resources for promotion and looking for way to feature independent documentaries in other parts of the schedule. Read the full article by Dru Sefton here.

See Also: PBS's press release 4/23/2015

In response to PBS's announcement, Indie Caucus issued the following statement:

"Since January, Indie Caucus has worked alongside PBS on an unprecedented listening tour, inviting filmmakers and audience to take part in public discussion surrounding the POV and Independent Lens (IL) presence on public television. Our campaign was triggered by WNET’s abrupt announcement that it was dropping IL and POV from their primetime slot on its flagship station. These two award-winning series have showcased the best, most diverse, point-of-view work each year. We are pleased that our conversations with PBS have been productive with the news today that PBS has committed to keeping POV and IL in their Monday night broadcast schedule for one year.

“The independent documentary series — IL and POV — speak to the core of what public television is all about and like others I am encouraged by this new agreement,” said filmmaker Bernardo Ruiz. “I think we have all learned that there is a large, diverse and active set of audiences for these films and its now time to think about further growing these audiences — in particular, younger and more diverse viewers."

However, the fight is not over. The trigger for this campaign was WNET’s unilateral decision to bump the independent series from primetime on their main channel. Indie Caucus will continue to call for transparency as we move forward with this 1-year experiment with a goal of serving all audiences.

“The statement from PBS leaves us cautiously optimistic that we are on the road to having a strong and stable home for indies on PBS. One of the benefits of this process over the last several months is that the creativity community has been energized about this issue.” added filmmaker Katy Chevigny. “All parties involved can count on the Indie Caucus to watch the implementation of the new plan and continue to advocate for increased visibility of these programs.”

As filmmakers, we recognize that IL and POV have been leaders in breaking new ground with documentary film. Indie Caucus celebrates that legacy and remains committed to working with PBS to develop new audiences and new filmmakers to these programs. Documentary films have the power to hold a mirror to society and elevate diverse voices and narratives. IL and POV are central to this space and lead broadcast and cable networks in spotlighting underrepresented stories and filmmakers. We are watching closely to see what comes next and will continue to hold PBS and its member stations accountable to their mission."