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An Open Letter From Filmmakers, Funders and NGOs

Tim Horsburgh

We, the undersigned producers, directors, funders, community organizations, and professionals working with documentary filmmakers in the United States, express our support for Indie Caucus' demand that PBS and WNET secure national prime time broadcast of Independent Lens and POV on primary channels ideally on Monday or Tuesday nights.

We want to share our encouragement and appreciation for Indie Caucus and the filmmakers they represent for their great contributions to our industry, our culture, and especially to Public Television's critical mission to bring diversity and important subject matter to the public.

In late 2014, WNET, the flagship PBS station in New York, announced plans to move POV and Independent Lens from their premier prime-time slot on WNET to secondary channel, WLIW.  They planned on rerunning the series on WNET late on Sunday nights.  Such a move would have drastically marginalized work about and by underrepresented communities, and set a dangerous precedent. Indie Caucus organized a protest, and 1,200 people signed a petition. WNET and PBS agreed to postpone their decision for four months, and agreed to a participate in a listening tour to learn about the value of independent film and the POV and Independent Lens series.

Indie Caucus is now organizing across the country, raising its voice so that Independent Lens and POV are secure in their prime time broadcast on public television beyond this precarious four-month reprieve.

We stand in solidarity with Indie Caucus and offer our support. Independent storytelling helps us see who we are as a nation and as individuals. Programs by and about underrepresented voices in American media are a core part of public television. Sharing diverse perspectives isn’t just what sets public media apart, it’s what PBS stations are mandated to do as part of their commitment to serve communities. Broadcast is still overwhelmingly how Americans get their TV, and it’s the most diverse audience as well.

We do hereby agree to support Indie Caucus in it's efforts to strengthen POV and Independent Lens, and all of the filmmakers, audiences, subjects, funders and NGO and government partners that are associated with these films.

Thank you for your time and your consideration,

Laura Poitras
Lucy Walker
Carlos Sandoval
Stanley Nelson
Liz Garbus
Rory Kennedy
Caroline Libresco
Renee Tajima-Pena
Chris Hedges
DA Pennebaker
Andy Davis
Alex Gibney
Gini Reticker
Abigail Disney
Frazer Pennebaker
Ross Kauffman
Scott Burns
Bill Siegel
Maro Chermayeff
Marshall Curry
Steve James
R.J. Cutler
Rachel Grady