Press Release

June 15 2020

American Documentary Announces ‘Artist Mental Health Fund’ for BIPOC Directors, Producers, and Interactive Creators

Press Release

June 19, 2020 Update:

American Documentary is taking a thoughtful pause to reassess the Mental Health Fund pilot to better both the application language and the funding process. We are adjusting and will re-open the fund as soon as possible. More information about the fund and application timelines is available here. The original press release can be read below.

Applications now open for US-based fund, which will provide critical mental health support for artists of color

New York, N.Y.June 15, 2020— American Documentary (AmDoc), the nonprofit organization behind the award-winning PBS series POV, is launching a new Artist Mental Health Fund to support the independent documentary community. This pilot fund will provide critical support for the mental health of Black artists as well as indigenous peoples and artists of color (BIPOC) who are working directors, producers and interactive creators. Applications will be accepted starting today June 15 and the application period will close June 20, 2020 at 11:59pm EDT. For more information about eligibility, criteria and the application process, visit or contact

These grants are a direct response to overall concerns about mental health in the documentary field, particularly as filmmakers of color are disproportionately vulnerable to lack of work and health risks due to the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the toll of ongoing systemic racism and police brutality. The creation of the Artist Mental Health Fund was informed by conversations with mental health practitioners, filmmakers and interactive creators, as well as critical learnings shared from the D-Word community and at the International Documentary Association's (IDA) Getting Real ‘18 conference.

"In recent years there has been such a growing conversation regarding the mental health needs of Black people, Indigenous folks and people of color. Our newest fund will give grants to support vital resources such as counseling and prescribed medications to nurture the health and creativity of artists from non-white communities," said Asad Muhammad, Vice President of Impact and Engagement Strategy at POV. "This Mental Health Fund is created to particularly support these artists who are on the frontlines of telling stories with integrity while experiencing the most barriers to their own care and livelihoods."

Kathleen Pike, PhD and Professor of Psychology (in Psychiatry and Epidemiology) at Columbia University Irving Medical Center and partner to the Fund said, "Establishing a fund to support the mental health needs of documentary filmmakers is not only the right thing to do, it is an essential act of respect and support for the storytellers of our time. I am honored to serve as an advisor to this initiative."

The mental health fund pilot is made possible with from CMP and a number of other generous individuals and organizations. For more information on ways to support this fund, contact Savannah Lennertz at


Produced by American Documentary, Inc., POV is public television’s premier showcase for nonfiction films. Since 1988, POV has been the home for the world’s boldest contemporary filmmakers, celebrating intriguing personal stories that spark conversation and inspire action. Always an innovator, POV discovers fresh new voices and creates interactive experiences that shine a light on social issues and elevate the art of storytelling. With our documentary broadcasts, original online programming and dynamic community engagement campaigns, we are committed to supporting films that capture the imagination and present diverse perspectives.

POV Community Engagement and Education (

POV Engage works with educators, librarians, community organizations and PBS stations to present more than 650 free screenings every year. In addition, we distribute free discussion guides, reading lists and standards-aligned lesson plans for each of our films. With our community partners, we inspire dialogue around the most important social issues of our time.

POV Spark (

Since 1994, POV Digital has driven new storytelling initiatives and interactive production for POV. The department has continually experimented with web-based documentaries, producing PBS' first program website and the first Snapchat-native documentary. It has won major awards for its work, including a Webby Award and over 19 nominations. Now with a singular focus on incubating and distributing interactive productions, POV Spark continues to explore the future of independent nonfiction media through its co-productions, acquisitions and the POV Labs, where media makers and technologists collaborate to reinvent storytelling forms.


Co-produced by American Documentary, Inc. andWORLD Channel, AMERICA REFRAMED brings to national audiences compelling stories that illuminate the changing contours of an ever-evolving America. The independent documentary series presents an array of personal voices and experiences through which we learn from our past, understand our present and are challenged to seek new frameworks for America’s future.

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.