Press Release

May 22 2020

POV Spark Introduces PUBLIC UPDATE


POV Spark launches online platform PUBLIC UPDATE to acquire and distribute non-immersive interactive documentary content for curious audiences
First volume “INTERACT” features five nontraditional nonfiction projects from around the world, on view for six months free for U.S. audiences at

New York, N.Y.May 6, 2020 — POV Spark announced today the launch of PUBLIC UPDATE, a new online home for exploratory content about the world around us, driven by and curated for nontraditional voices. The interactive arm of the iconic PBS series, POV Spark will use the platform to acquire and distribute works from independent artists with the hopes of inspiring the next generation of experimental documentary creators. This volume of PUBLIC UPDATE will be on view through October and available for free to U.S. audiences on the American Documentary website at

The first volume invites audiences to expand their definition of documentary by interacting with nonfiction in new ways. The five projects represent a range of formats and artist interventions–from Dr. Zun Lee’s haunting polaroids of African American family life found at yard sales and on eBay (Fade Resistance) to Kimi Maeda’s 360-video meditation on identity, culture and landscape (A Journey with a Camera in Five Movements). PUBLIC UPDATE also features the work of different illustrators with plans for a print zine and in-person events in the future.

“The brainchild of Yvonne Koudajo, Aja Evans and Pooja Desai, PUBLIC UPDATE is our first foray in connecting the dots across a fragmented interactive ecosystem by giving voice and exposure to artistry and content and by expanding the concept of what interactivity is,” says Opeyemi Olukemi, executive producer of POV Spark. “Despite the cataclysmic impact of COVID-19, we are choosing to build and we are strengthened by these creators who, despite our uncertain future, are creating new ways to interact.”

This is the fourth initiative from POV Spark to launch in the past year, as part of a focus on interactive content and artists. POV Spark debuted last spring with the announcement of its inaugural production slate, including Atomu which was selected as part of the New Frontier lineup at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival. Other projects include the 2019 African Interactive Art Residency in partnership with the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, selecting artists Sophia Nahli Allison and Miatta Kawinzi from over 150 applicants. The three-month residency took place in Washington D.C and New York and culminated at VR Island at last fall’s Venice International Film Festival. Otherly, a partnership with the National Film Board of Canada, commissioned female-identified and gender nonbinary creators to reimagine documentary on Instagram and is scheduled to premiere on the social media platform in 2020.

Volume One Projects

Rosalie Yu
A Ritual of Habits (2018)
Through photogrammetry, Yu explores meanings and associations of sugar and food.

Lucia Hierro
Mercado (2018)
Mixed Media
Mercado uses various artistic mediums as tools to tackle ideas of exclusion and privilege.

Ng Sze Min
Reason to the Moon (2018)
A look at how astronauts viewed Earth - no space travel required.

Zun Lee
Fade Resistance (2016)
Black visual self-documentation offers a counter-narrative to mainstream representation.

Kimi Maeda
A Journey With a Camera in Five Movements (2018)
A series of meditations on identity, culture and landscape made during travels between South Carolina and Japan.

From these basic interactive possibilities emerge fascinating, more complicated ideas, giving each part of "Interact" more depth than one might suspect.

Dan Schindel, Hyperallergic

POV Spark looks to make emerging technologies and interactive projects accessible to audiences beyond expensive headsets and exclusive festivals.

Daniele Alcinii, Realscreen
About POV Spark

The interactive arm of the iconic PBS series, POV Spark creates and advances experiential forms of storytelling, programming, and distribution, redefining U.S. public media to be more inclusive of emerging technologies and interactive makers.

About American Documentary

A national nonprofit media arts organization, American Documentary (AmDoc) strives to make essential documentaries accessible as a catalyst for public discourse. We collaborate with passionate filmmakers to amplify their voices, and to nurture the nonfiction community.