Brooklyn, N.Y. – November 16, 2023 – American Documentary (AmDoc) announced today that they have joined in the coordinated preservation efforts led by the American Archive of Public Broadcasting (AAPB) to ensure care, stewardship and accessibility of documentary film programs.
Select POV documentaries will join historic public media programs from the past 70-plus years representing more than 581 stations, producers, and archives across the country. The AAPB collection has over 160,000 items available for research, informational and educational purposes with over 100,000 streaming online, free to the public, in the US. The digital files amassed through this project, including POV films and filmmaker interviews, are stored at the Library of Congress to safeguard and enable continued access.
In the summer of 2023, AmDoc in partnership with AAPB, GBH and Library of Congress, initiated the process of identifying, cataloging, and digitizing key films from POV’s previous seasons for eventual deposit into the Library of Congress collection and the AAPB. This project highlights the organization’s longstanding commitment to presenting an array of visionary and authentic stories by a cross-section of filmmakers whose perspectives invite and deepen viewers' understanding of and compassion for communities outside their own. Historically and culturally significant films such as Marlon Riggs’s 1989 landmark essay film Tongues Untied, a deeply personal exploration of what it means to be Black and gay, will be among POV titles included in this project. The list includes films about Native American experiences such as Suree Towfighnia’s 2007 film from POV’s 20th season Standing Silent Nation which explores the limits of tribal sovereignty in the Lakota Nation. In addition to older titles, more recent POV documentaries such as Shaena Mallett’s 2018 film Farmsteaders which presents a family grappling with shifts in the U.S. agriculture industry, have been identified as additions to AAPB. POV and AAPB collaborators leading preservation and outreach efforts will continue with researching possible titles and extending invitations to advance the full participation of filmmaker and producer alumni in building this archival collection.
The AAPB, a collaboration between Boston public media producerGBH and the Library of Congress, was established in 2013 to preserve and make accessible programs created for, or distributed by, public media and made possible by a grant from the Mellon Foundation. Alan Gevinson, Library of Congress AAPB project director, stated “Since 1988, POV has provided one of the only platforms on public television for independent producers to present their works to millions of contemporary viewers. We hope that through this preservation project, POV documentaries from the past, newly available via the AAPB platform, will become a vital resource for future generations to better understand many of the enduring issues we’ve faced over the past 35 years.”
Asad Muhammad, Vice President of Impact and Engagement Strategy at American Documentary said: “Much physical labor, care, coordination and filmmaker outreach has gone into getting this project launched. All of it has been worth it, as we recognize that in these difficult times, we are literally making history by solidifying access to these works of art that brilliantly inform and challenge viewers, all while providing a greater understanding of the experiences of people both living in and outside of America.”
As the archive project moves forward, hundreds of POV films and related filmmaker interviews will be available online and easily accessible for a wide range of users including scholars, researchers, educators, students, and the general public along with resources for deeper understanding and engagement.
Produced by American Documentary, POV is the longest-running independent documentary showcase on American television. Since 1988, POV has presented films on PBS that capture the full spectrum of the human experience, with a long commitment to centering women and people of color in front of, and behind, the camera. The series is known for introducing generations of viewers to groundbreaking works like Tongues Untied, American Promise, Minding The Gap and Not Going Quietly, and innovative filmmakers including Jonathan Demme, Laura Poitras and Nanfu Wang. In 2018, POV Shorts launched as one of the first PBS series dedicated to bold and timely short-form documentaries. All POV programs are available for streaming concurrent with broadcast on all station-branded PBS platforms, including PBS.org and the PBS App, available on iOS, Android, Roku streaming devices, Apple TV, Android TV, Amazon Fire TV, Samsung Smart TV, Chromecast and VIZIO. For more information about PBS Passport, visit the PBS Passport FAQ website.
POV goes “beyond the broadcast” to bring powerful nonfiction storytelling to viewers wherever they are. Free educational resources accompany every film and a community network of thousands of partners nationwide work with POV to spark dialogue around today’s most pressing issues. POV continues to explore the future of documentary through innovative productions with partners such as The New York Times and The National Film Board of Canada and on platforms including Snapchat and Instagram.
POV films and projects have won 47 Emmy® Awards, 27 George Foster Peabody Awards, 15 Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Awards, three Academy Awards® and the first-ever George Polk Documentary Film Award. Learn more at pbs.org/pov and follow @povdocs on social media.
About American Documentary, Inc.
American Documentary, Inc. (AmDoc) is a multimedia organization dedicated to creating, identifying and presenting contemporary stories that express opinions and perspectives rarely featured in mainstream media outlets. AmDoc is a catalyst for public culture, developing collaborative strategic engagement activities around socially relevant content on television, online and in community settings. These activities are designed to trigger action, from dialogue and feedback to educational opportunities and community participation.
Major funding for POV is provided by PBS, the Open Society Foundations, The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Wyncote Foundation, Reva & David Logan Foundation, Park Foundation, and Perspective Fund. Additional funding comes from the National Endowment for the Arts, New York State Council on the Arts, public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, the Chasing the Dream and Peril and Promise public media initiatives of The WNET Group, Chris and Nancy Plaut, Ann Tenenbaum and Thomas H. Lee and public television viewers. POV is presented by a consortium of public television stations, including KQED San Francisco, WGBH Boston and THIRTEEN in association with WNET.ORG.
About the American Archive of Public Broadcasting
The American Archive of Public Broadcasting (AAPB), a collaboration between the Library of Congress and GBH, preserves the most significant public television and radio programs of the past 70 years and provides a central web portal for public access. More than 160,000 hours of television and radio programming contributed by more than 100 public media organizations and archives across the United States have been digitized. The entire collection is available on location at GBH and the Library of Congress, and more than 100,000 files are available at americanarchive.org.