New Roster Of Independent Non-Fiction Films Join Pbs Primetime Lineup In 2003

July 29, 2002

Pasadena, Calif. – July 26, 2002 – Independent documentaries will be

presented in a series new to the PBS primetime schedule beginning

February 2003, it was announced today by Pat Mitchell, president and

CEO of PBS, at the Television Critics Association Press Tour in

Pasadena. INDEPENDENT LENS, a yearly 10-week fall series that

premiered in 1999, will now expand to 29 primetime episodes a year

and will be curated by ITVS (the Independent Television Service) and

PBS. The series is designed to complement P.O.V., PBS’s

award-winning 14-week showcase for personal documentary. Presented

on Tuesday nights at 10 p.m. (check local listings), P.O.V. and

INDEPENDENT LENS will establish a consistent timeslot for

independents on PBS.

“Just as FRONTLINE WORLD and WIDE ANGLE offer differing perspectives

on contemporary global events, PBS will now have two series –


P.O.V. – to capture more fascinating, compelling stories from the

world of nonfiction,” said Ms. Mitchell. “Multiple points of entry

for independent producers will inevitably bring a greater diversity

of voices and viewpoints to our audience.”

INDEPENDENT LENS is an anthology series that will present hour-long

(and occasional 90-minute) documentaries that showcase the best

documentary programming from the U.S. and abroad. Encompassing the

full spectrum of nonfiction film, from history to animation to shorts

to social-issue films, the series will broaden the scope for

documentary filmmakers and allow audiences access to powerful new

films. INDEPENDENT LENS is made possible by a special launch grant

from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB).

PBS is re-launching INDEPENDENT LENS with ITVS, which, since its

inception over ten years ago, has funded and presented the work of

some of the most creative independent producers on television. ITVS

has presented more than 200 documentaries on public television in the

last 10 years, accompanied by national outreach and award-winning Web

sites. The series will contribute to PBS’s and ITVS’s missions of

reaching people who rarely see themselves or their communities on

television, with stories that accurately reflect their lives.

INDEPENDENT LENS will be curated by PBS and ITVS with a team

consisting of Alyce Myatt, vice president, programming and Cheryl

Jones, senior director, program development and independent films

from PBS and Claire Aguilar, director of programming and Lois Vossen,

director of broadcast distribution and communications from ITVS.

“We are very pleased to be working with PBS on INDEPENDENT LENS

because it demonstrates PBS’s increased commitment to independent

filmmakers,” ITVS Executive Director Sally Fifer said. “The series

fulfills a 10-year dream on the part of ITVS and the independent

community to have a consistent place for nonfiction programming on

the national schedule. We look forward to re-launching a smart,

creative series that will include a broad range of documentaries,

from current events and historical docs to true tales that are

stranger than fiction. Think reality TV with a brain.”

PBS, headquartered in Alexandria, Virginia, is a private, nonprofit

media enterprise owned and operated by the nation’s 349 public

television stations. Serving nearly 90 million people each week, PBS

enriches the lives of all Americans through quality programs and

education services on noncommercial television, the Internet and

other media. More information about PBS is available at,

the leading dot-org Web site on the Internet.

CPB, a private, nonprofit corporation created by Congress in 1967,

develops educational public radio, television and online services for

the American people. The Corporation is the industry’s largest single

source of funds for national public television and radio program

development and production. CPB, a grant making organization, funds

more than 1,000 public radio and television stations. Visit for more information.

The Independent Television Service (ITVS) presents documentaries,

dramas and series on public television, and innovative new-media

projects on the Web. ITVS is funded by the Corporation for Public

Broadcasting, a private corporation funded by the American people.

ITVS was established by Congress to fund and present programs that

“involve creative risks and address the needs of underserved

audiences,” while granting artistic control to independent producers.

From series like THE FARMER’S WIFE and FOTO-NOVELAS to specials

including Sundance Award winner DAUGHTER FROM DANANG, Emmy Award

winners BLINK and NOBODY’S BUSINESS, and Peabody Award winners STILL


productions bring viewers face-to-face with the lives and concerns of

their fellow Americans. Visit for companion Web sites

and more information.


Nancy Fishman


415) 356-8383, x226,

Cara White

Caramar Media


Michael Turner