Frequently Asked Questions

Find answers to commonly asked questions, such as when POV programs re-air, how to purchase tapes and DVDs, how to find the companion Web site for a POV film and more.

POV AND AMERICAN DOCUMENTARY ON AIR

OUTREACH

AWARDS

 

POV AND AMERICAN DOCUMENTARY ON AIR

What is POV?
Now in its 27th season on PBS, POV is a multi-media service organization focused on creating high impact, energetic broadcasts for the best independent point-of-view documentaries. The award-winning series is presented each summer on PBS, with year-round specials. POV activities are designed to explore the potential of independent media in public life, and include an array of initiatives that have served as models in creative uses of independent non-fiction media.

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No really. What is POV?
POV is a cinema term for "point of view."

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What kind of films does POV broadcast?
POV seeks nonfiction programs from all perspectives, at any length under two hours (though we may request a cut-down version). The films on POV's broadcast list reflect all styles of non-fiction film: personal, investigative, cinema verité and traditional documentary, as well as experimental approaches. Please note that you do not have to be in your POV film; we are looking for films that express an opinion, which can be done in a variety of ways. Please see the For Producers section for further information.

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How are films chosen?
POV has an in-depth annual submissions process. Guidelines are laid out in our Call for Entries application. As part of the selection process, tapes are screened by an editorial committee, a unique working partnership between independents and public television executives. Films chosen must meet PBS's funding guidelines. Films with public funding (from CPB, the Minority Consortia or ITVS, for instance) do not receive special consideration — we let the film's content speak for itself. Final selections are made by POV with recommendations from our committee. To submit a film, apply online or call 212-989-8121 to receive a form in the mail. The deadline is the last Friday in June every year. The series is announced in the spring of the following year. There is no application fee for submitting.

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When will a program be on the air again?
Your local PBS station makes independent decisions about when and how frequently to replay POV programs, so unfortunately, we can't give you an easy answer.

You can check your local listings on POV's TV Schedule Page for upcoming (re)broadcasts of POV in the next two weeks. Just type in your zip code or state, select your local PBS station, and see if the program you are interested in appears in the listings.

If you don't see the particular program or any POV broadcasts at all listed, your station will not be airing POV in the next two weeks and we don't have any further information to offer, unfortunately.

We recommend that you contact your local station directly to let them know if you are interested in seeing a POV program rebroadcast, or to inquire about any future plans to re-air the program.

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My station never carries POV at the time you advertise, Mondays at 10 pm. What's up?
PBS recommends that local stations air POV on Monday nights at 10 pm, but local PBS stations make their own decisions about when to air POV programs. Feel free to let them know if you would prefer that the series were scheduled at a different time.

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How can I find out about upcoming POV shows?
One simple way is to sign up for our newsletter, which we email out to your in-box weekly during our regular on-air season (summer/fall) and intermittently the rest of the year. It will remind you about upcoming POV programs and update you about Web sites premiering on PBS Online.

As an alternative, if you see a film that interests you on the TV schedule, click on the REMIND ME button to sign up for a one-time-only email reminders for a particular broadcast.

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Where can I buy a copy of a POV program on tape or DVD?
Visit POV's Film Archive, where you can browse for the program by title or season, or search by the filmmaker's name, etc. Once you've found the program you're interested in, click the "Buy the Film" link in the left-hand margin for more information. If no such link appears, as in the case of some films from early seasons of POV, that means that we currently have no information on the film's distribution.

If you've been to one of our companion Web sites before, you might have noticed that "Buy the Film" links appear on companion site homepages as well. Some of our films are also available to rent through Netflix: In those cases, you'll see a "Rent from Netflix" link on the homepage.

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Can I tape a program off the air and use it in my classroom?
Most POV documentaries can be taped off the air and used for educational purposes (K-12) for up to one year from the broadcast date. In certain cases this period may vary. For more information about off-air taping rights, visit PBS TeacherSource, a great resource for educators. For a list of lesson plans offered for use with POV films, visit our For Educators area.

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Where can I send my comments on a particular program?
There are multiple ways you can share your responses with us.

The most direct way would be to send us an email via feedback [at] pov.org.

Online, you can comment on any film by going to that film's page. There you can express your POV and talk about the issues with other viewers.

Have a comment related to the journalistic integrity of PBS and POV content? Send an email to the PBS ombudsman, Michael Getler, or contact him directly at 703-739-5290.

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How do I submit a story idea?
We're probably not the best place to send your idea. POV doesn't do "story development" in traditional television terms, because we're a series of independently produced documentary films. Most films come to us near completion or already finished. If you have a film you would like to submit for consideration, visit the For Producers area of the site.

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I'm a filmmaker. How do I get my film on POV?
Every year, POV holds a Call for Entries, in which we encourage filmmakers to submit films for consideration for broadcast on POV For more information, visit our For Producers area, where you'll find links to our Call for Entries, more on what kinds of projects are eligible for consideration, and other funding and broadcasting resources available to independent producers at PBS.

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How do I find the Web site for a particular POV program?
If you visit our Discover Films, you can browse for the program by title or season, or you can search by the filmmaker's name or anything else you remember about the program. When you find the program, click on the film's title, which will take you to the homepage of the companion Web site.

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Do you have any job openings? Can I be a POV intern?
We have a small staff and rarely have openings for full-time positions.
If you are interested in working for POV or interning in one of our departments, check out our Jobs page.

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What is your mailing address?
You can write to us at:

American Documentary, Inc.
P.O. Box 25462
Brooklyn, NY 11202-5462

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OUTREACH

What community engagement projects do POV and American Documentary, Inc. oversee?
Everything POV does is, on some level, targeted towards amplifying community involvement through the power of independent documentaries. POV has developed several engagement initiatives over the years, including Talking Back: Video and Digital Letters to POV, which challenges the notion of television as a passive medium by encouraging viewers to become a part of the POV broadcast loop. Viewers with a passion to speak their minds need only pick up a camcorder or a telephone, go online or mail their comments. In select markets, public television stations will open their doors and provide opportunities for viewers to "talk back." Lively selections of those responses are broadcast or webstreamed during the POV season, creating a robust opportunity to broaden public discourse and the range of perspectives on public television.

To extend the impact of POV programming, our Community Engagement campaigns are designed to build new audiences, inspire civic dialogue and when possible, foster community engagement around issues represented in select programs. Through creative, strategic partnerships with nonprofit organizations and public television stations, Community Engagement helps to expand the role and value of independent storytelling in public life.

POV Interactive is our award-winning Web department. POV Interactive specially develops Web sites for each of our films as well as other new media tools focused on interactivity and community building through the web, based on the creative exploration of issues raised by POV programming. Site users are invited to share personal stories and perspectives, and become part of ongoing exchanges long after a show is broadcast. POV Interactive also produces POV's Borders, an ongoing Web-original series that explores the borders in our lives with new themed installments launched annually.

Youth Views, our newest initiative, creates partnerships for pre-broadcast screening events with youth groups nationally. Along with screenings, Youth Views works with youth leaders through the annual Youth Views Institute and Advisory Board, providing training and materials for using media as a tool in community organizing.

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AWARDS

What awards have POV presentations won?
POV presentations have won every major film and broadcasting award, including Academy Awards, duPont-Columbia Awards, numerous Emmys, Peabodys and the Prix Italia. View a partial list of the awards.

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Major funding for POV is provided by PBS, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, New York State Council on the Arts, the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, the Wyncote Foundation, Ann Tenenbaum and Thomas H. Lee, The Educational Foundation of America and public television viewers. Special support provided by The Fledgling Fund. POV is presented by a consortium of public television stations, including KQED San Francisco, WGBH Boston and THIRTEEN in association with WNET.ORG.

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Left: LAST IMAGES OF WAR by Stephen Olsson and Scott Andrews (POV 1992)