Monday Memo: WNET Gets Blowback From Filmmakers, Sundance Coverage Continues To Filter In

It seems that WNET’s plan to sweep documentary programming aside has been met with a litany of outrage from the filmmakers who’ve long enjoyed the support that PBS’s POV and Independent Lens have lent them over the years. Variety’s James Rainey has the story, in which “more than 2,000 documentarians” – the likes of Laura Poitras, Gordon Quinn and Tracy Droz Tragos among them – “have signed a petition saying they fear that the New York station’s action would lead to the shows being marginalized by PBS affiliates nationwide, slicing into their audiences and crippling efforts to raise money for often edgy, controversial films.”

In response to the criticism, the programmers at WNET have set up what they’ve called a “Listening Tour”, stopping in major cities and hosting public forums to discuss how they can better support filmmakers. At the POV Blog, you can find details on the New York City stop of the tour to be hosted on February 23rd at the SVA Theatre in Manhattan. If you’d like to attend the free event, RSVP here.

Also in NYC, the Stranger Than Fiction Winter ’15 Season continues tomorrow at 8pm at the IFC Center with FREE: CRACK IN THE SYSTEM. Following the screening, there will be a Q&A session with director Marc Levin.

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Monday Memo: WNET Reinstates Monday Night Doc Shows

The PBS station WNET reinstated the documentary shows POV and Independent Lens to Monday nights this week.

This week New York City PBS station WNET announced that it would reinstate the two doc programs POV and Independent Lens to their Monday time slots after earlier announcing that they would be removed. Realscreen’s Manori Ravindran and TV Guide covered the development.

The year-end lists keep coming. Lauren Wissot of Filmmaker Magazine rounded up her list of 10 Oscar-worthy docs for 2014. At Wired Magazine, staff listed this year’s five most intriguing docs. Writing for, Christopher Campbell published the 2014 Nonfics Poll of the year’s best docs, with THE OVERNIGHTERS from Jesse Moss taking top honors. In a piece at the Moyers & Company website, Tom Roston listed his top 10 social justice docs of the year. Roston also published a separate list of his favorite docs of the year in a post at POV.

At TechDirt, Tim Cushing detailed a suit being brought against Laura Poitras for NSA surveillance leaks included in her film CITIZENFOUR. Eriq Gardner of The Hollywood Reporter also covered the development.

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Monday Memo: WNET Pulls Doc Showcases from Monday Nights

This week WNET Thirteen announced that it was removing the doc showcases Independent Lens and POV from Monday nights.

This week Dru Sefton at reported that New York’s PBS station, WNET, planned to pull both POV and Independent Lens from its lineup in January. At Realscreen, Manori Ravindran also covered the development. At the Kartemquin Films website, the Indie Caucus–a group of independent filmmakers–issued a statement criticizing the move. The Indie Caucus posted a FAQ on WNET’s decision on its blog, asking concerned parties to sign a petition at

The International Documentary Association (IDA) site set up a poll for documentary filmmakers regarding Fair Use issues. You can go here to complete it.

Writing for the IDA Jack Lerner wrote on the legal implications of the film THE INNOCENCE OF MUSLIMS.

At Realscreen, Julianna Cummins reported on the development of a new diversity doc training program from Hot Docs and Shaw Media. Also at Realscreen, Manori Ravindran covered the winners of the Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Awards.

Dave McNary of Variety reported that PARIS IS BURNING from director Jennie Livingston would receive the Legacy Award from the Cinema Eye Honors for Nonfiction Filmmaking. Kevin Ritchie of Realscreen also covered the news.

Writing for Canada’s POV Magazine, Christina Clarke interviewed director Thom Andersen.

At, Christopher Campbell shared a list of docs available on home viewing platforms like VOD this week. Also at, Landon Palmer had a list of six docs from the year that had to be seen.

In a piece for Indiewire, Melissa Silverstein shared a list of the best woman-directed docs of 2014.

Back at Realscreen, Charlie Phillips of The Guardian responded to a year-end doc quiz presented by Manori Ravindran.

At Filmmaker Magazine, Esther B. Robinson gathered some pitching advice gleaned from the forum at this year’s CPH:DOX. Also at Filmmaker Magazine, Eli Brown had a piece on 10 tips and observations on pitching docs at this year’s International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam (IDFA).

At his Kino-Eye site, David Tames interviewed HOLLOW director Elaine McMillion. Tames also had a separate post on the updates to Final Cut Pro X, and its viability as a go-to NLE platform.

Writing for the POV blog, Tom Roston had a piece making the case for Steve James to win an Oscar for his film LIFE ITSELF.

Back at the IDA site, Ron Deutsch had a piece on the effects that two Montreal-based festivals have had on the documentary form.

At the POV blog, Pamela Yates wrote about an ethical complication she encountered after completing the film WHEN THE MOUNTAINS TREMBLE.

Also at the POV blog, Brian Chirls penned a post on the use of a virtual reality map.

Please send any tips or recommendations for the Memo via email here, or by Twitter to @GuerrillaFace. Thanks and have a great week.

Monday Memo: More Sundance Films Announced

Among the films making it to this year's Sundance Film Festival are (T)ERROR from directors Lyric Cabral and David Felix Sutcliffe.

This week the Sundance Film Festival continued its announcements of films that made the cut for 2015. Adam Benzine of Realscreen wrote on the docs premiering at the festival, as did Filmmaker Magazine and Daniel Fienberg of HitFix Magazine, along with Casey Cipriani of Indiewire. Christopher Cambpell of had a guide to Sundance documentary titles, while Realscreen’s Kevin Ritchie took a look at the festival’s short docs. Alexandra Zeevalkink of DocGeeks also had a round-up of Sundance doc selections.

A slew of “Best of 2014” lists came out this week. Paste Magazine’s staff named the best 12 docs of 2014, while Susan Gerhard listed the top 10 docs of the year at Fandor. At Indiewire, Anthony Kaufman named the best 12 docs of the 2014. Gregg Kilday of The Hollywood Reporter had a list of 15 docs from the year that must be seen.

Indiewire’s Paula Bernstein made a useful meta-post rounding up their coverage of documentary filmmaking advice from the past year.

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Monday Memo: Independent Lens Names Winter/Spring 2014 Season

The PBS documentary show Independent Lens announced its Winter/Spring lineup this week.

The PBS show Independent Lens this week announced the lineup for its Winter/Spring 2014 season. At Indiewire, Alison Willmore had coverage of the program’s schedule, which includes AT BERKELEY from Frederick Wiseman, MEDORA from Davy Rothbart and Andrew Cohn, LET THE FIRE BURN from Jason Osder and THE NEW BLACK from Yoruba Richen, among others. At the Independent Lens blog, Craig Phillips interviewed JIRO DREAMS OF SUSHI director David Gelb.

Year-end lists continued to roll in from all quarters of the internet this week.’s Christopher Campbell rounded up a whole slew of critics picks, while Jose F. Rodriguez of the Tribeca Film Institute wrote up a list of the year’s 10 best docs. The POV blog also updated its list of the top docs of 2013, while Paste Magazine’s Michael Dunaway had his picks for the year’s top 15 films at Paste Magazine. At Indiewire’s Women and Hollywood blog, writers Melissa Silverstein and Inkoo Kang listed the year’s best female-helmed docs. Filmmaker Caveh Zahedi penned a list of his top 10 docs at Fandor. And Indiewire’s Peter Knegt updated the site’s list of the top grossing indie docs for 2013 as of December 17.

CNN doubled down on docs this week, announcing that it would begin acquiring and airing documentaries that were not first on television premieres. Adam Benzine covered the move for Realscreen, with Tony Maglio doing the same at The Wrap and Hilary Lewis pulling duty at The Hollywood Reporter.. Lisa de Moraes of Deadline also reported that CNN chief Jeff Zucker had other changes for CNN in the works intended to help the network compete with channels such as Discovery and National Geographic.

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