New York, N.Y. – August 5, 2021 – POV Engage, the community outreach and education arm of acclaimed documentary series ‘POV’ on PBS, announced today the partners for ‘Our America: Documentaries in Dialogue’ 2021. Launched in the wake of the 2016 elections, ‘Our America’ is a high impact initiative that empowers PBS stations and community partners to champion civil, civic dialogue about issues that matter to their communities. Over the past four years the programs have provided tens of thousands of dollars to partners around the country, including in Flint, Michigan, Bisbee, Arizona and Roanoke, Virginia. The program is sponsored by the Open Society Foundations.
This year’s ‘Our America’ features public media partnerships with PBS Hawai’i, Alaska Public Media, WGCU in Fort Myers, FL and WQLN in Erie, PA. 2021 will also mark the first year POV has partnered with local community organizations as part of the ‘Our America’ initiative; DOC Savannah and The Moth will both host events as community partners. Each organization will put together its own schedule of screenings and events with a particular emphasis this year on the POV film Pier Kids and its related topics around LGBTQ+ advocates and homeless communities.
“As we continue to navigate challenging social, economic and political times, I’m honored that the POV Engage team can continue to support PBS Stations and community/educational spaces in the fifth year of 'Our America.' This initiative allows grantees to dream wildly and collaborate with new spaces to further storytelling for social good," said Aqiyla Thomas, manager of community engagement for POV Engage. "I hope that these community events can bring people together and encourage them to listen and learn from each other and to speak and act with integrity in order to better understand polarizing issues. I look forward to participating in more of these conversations throughout the year that create ripples of social impact locally and regionally across our nation."
“'Our America’ is led by our grantees and is informed and shaped by local expertise and experience, creating a direct link to regional stations and communities through the power of storytelling," said Robert Salyer, outreach specialist for POV Engage. "We’re asking: what are the deeper connections possible with our films? Who is watching? What can we do to foster conversations that need to happen but aren’t? 'Our America' challenges us to question our assumptions and reveals what is possible when we come together to watch, listen, and speak up. We couldn’t be more excited with this cohort of grantees, and are so grateful for the opportunity this initiative gives us to be in community together.”
Participating stations and community groups each receive up to $10,000 to support their event, exclusive digital access to POV films, and community and educational resources that can support virtual screenings, marketing and workshops. ‘Our America’ is made possible with the generous support of the Open Society Foundations.
Our America 2021 Grantees
Alaska Public Media will work with venues and organizations around Anchorage to highlight the history and visibility of Alaska’s LGBTQ+ and homeless populations through screenings of Pier Kids in addition to putting on educational events focused on storytelling and mental health for youth.
PBS Hawai’i’ plans to host screenings of Pier Kids, Things We Dare Not Do and Unapologetic to gather Hawai’i residents from all walks of life to increase visibility and solidarity around LGBTQ+ and social activism issues.
WGCU will partner with local Southwestern Florida LGBTQ+ groups to screen Pier Kids and host workshops for educators and families to learn about the issues confronting LGBTQ+ young people and how communities can join together to address them.
WQLN envisions a one-day festival in downtown Erie that will be accompanied by a screening of Pier Kids and community arts workshops designed to fill in crucial information gaps about local LGBTQ+ resources, advance the work of LGBTQ+ organizations and foster inclusion and create opportunities to forge new friendships for all of Erie’s residences.
Through creative writing contests, panel discussions with activists, a mural mosaic workshop and screenings of The Neutral Ground and Pier Kids, DOC Savannah will look to deepen Chatham County residents’ understanding of the social issues that affect their communities like how to talk about Confederate monuments and support the LGBTQ+ community.
Using its resources and connections from its Community Program, The Moth will screen POV films to support its Economic Mobility Project, putting on events that will work with community organizations and youth groups to use storytelling to enhance their advocacy efforts and dispel harmful narratives about poverty in America.
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 and Minding The Gap 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 broadcast nationally on PBS, POV.org and the PBS Video app.
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 42 Emmy Awards, 25 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
American Documentary, Inc. (AmDoc) is a multimedia company 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, Perspective Fund and the National Endowment for the Arts. Additional funding comes from Nancy Blachman and David desJardins, Bertha Foundation, The Hollywood Foreign Press Association's Charitable Trust, Park Foundation, Sage Foundation, New York State Council on the Arts, public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, Chris and Nancy Plaut, Abby Pucker, 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.