CIPB Honors Winning Documentaries and Challenges PBS To Stop Shutting Out Independent Filmmakers

Apr 25, 2001, 01:00 ET from Citizens for Independent Public Broadcasting

    WASHINGTON, April 25 /PRNewswire Interactive News Release/ -- At an April
 27th board meeting, directors of Citizens for Independent Public Broadcasting
 (CIPB) will announce the winners of CIPB's national documentary film
 competition and call on PBS to stop shutting out independent filmmakers. None
 of the winning films have been accepted for PBS national broadcast, but all
 have been judged "Ready for PBS" by juries of the Association of Independent
 Video and Filmmakers.
     CIPB chapters in major cities across the country will feature the
 documentaries in public screenings and promote them for play on PBS member
 stations. KBDI Boulder (Colorado Public Television) recently became the first
 PBS member station to schedule the films for airing. The films provide in-
 depth examinations of controversial issues, like human rights violations of
 the Kurds in Turkey, Falun Gong in China or civil rights movement in the U.S.
 and labor's struggle against multi-national corporations in the new global
 economy.
     Former FCC Commissioner Nicholas Johnson, a member of the CIPB board,
 states, "Issue oriented independent documentaries serve public broadcasting's
 primary mission to educate and engage viewers as citizens. It is tragic that
 financial dependence and political intimidation have subverted PBS's will to
 provide an important alternative to the corporate controlled commercial
 broadcasters."
     Producer Barbara Trent, another CIPB board member, will announce the
 winners. Trent's own film, The Panama Deception, won the 1993 Academy Award
 for "Best Documentary Feature," but was rejected by PBS. The Washington Post
 called The Panama Deception "a meticulously researched investigation,"
 However, PBS claimed, "Its assertions about the intent of U.S. policy and the
 conduct of U.S. troops are not adequately substantiated."   A PBS inside
 source informed the Los Angeles Times, "There was a general nervousness (about
 the film)." Trent called it "censorship."
     News of the awards reached Academy Award winning cinematographer Haskell
 Wexler who commented: "Nothing will deter dedicated socially conscious image
 makers from creating artful documentaries. As communicators we must dedicate
 sufficient energies to break through the corporate wall and convince Public
 Television to serve the public."
     Another winner is Good Kurds, Bad Kurds: No Friends but the Mountains by
 Pulitzer Prize nominee Kevin McKiernan. Kani Xulum, a leader of the Kurdish
 independence movement and subject of the film, says, "Kevin McKiernan has done
 a great service for the Kurdish people. I hope that public broadcasting will
 share his film with all Americans." Also honored will be Emmy-award winning
 producer Danny Schechter for Falun Gong's Challenge to China. Branded
 "counterrevolutionaries" by the Chinese government, the Falun Gong have
 suffered 70,000 arrests and 189 deaths. According to Schechter, "These are the
 kinds of compelling human rights stories that too rarely get told on PBS."
     Director Barbara Zahm will be honored for her documentary, The Last
 Graduation, which gives a moving account of the dramatic success and ultimate
 killing of prison college programs by the "Contract with America" 104th
 Congress. Finally, there is Fred Glass' Building the House They Lived In, a
 film that chronicles the California labor movement's successful fight for fair
 employment practices in the 1950s. "Also recommended" is Jeremy Brecher and
 Andrea Hubbell's Global Village or Global Pillage, a critical look at the
 influence of multinational corporations and what workers and communities can
 do to protect their interests in the midst of this dramatic change.
     In CIPB briefing papers, the filmmakers discuss their visions of the
 films, the obstacles they overcame to get them made and obstacles they could
 not overcome in getting their work shown on PBS. CIPB Executive Director
 Jerold Starr explains, "PBS underwriting guidelines ban even partial support
 from labor or public interest groups without which many films could not get
 made. Since PBS accepts films supported by corporations and conservative
 foundations, this discrimination amounts to a defacto censorship of content."
     CIPB Chapter Development Coordinator Ramatu Bangura notes, "We are
 sponsoring this tour to show the American people how much better PBS could and
 should be. Like KBDI Boulder, local PBS member stations have the opportunity
 and resources to schedule these films. Many of our chapters are hosting large
 screenings and hope to bring these works to their public stations as well."
     Speaking to CIPB's proposal for an independently funded Public
 Broadcasting Trust to provide the financial security required for journalistic
 integrity, stage and film star Alec Baldwin observed, "The PBS mission is the
 same now as when it was chartered during Lyndon Johnson's administration: to
 provide programming that may not be 'appropriate or available for support by
 advertising.' What has happened since then? Politics and money, which have
 severely limited PBS's range and damaged its once estimable reputation.
 Depoliticizing PBS's budget will benefit all Americans. Democracy is about
 participation. Let's help PBS to inform our democracy."
 
                     MAKE YOUR OPINION COUNT -  Click Here
                http://tbutton.prnewswire.com/prn/11690X81462984
 
 

SOURCE Citizens for Independent Public Broadcasting
    WASHINGTON, April 25 /PRNewswire Interactive News Release/ -- At an April
 27th board meeting, directors of Citizens for Independent Public Broadcasting
 (CIPB) will announce the winners of CIPB's national documentary film
 competition and call on PBS to stop shutting out independent filmmakers. None
 of the winning films have been accepted for PBS national broadcast, but all
 have been judged "Ready for PBS" by juries of the Association of Independent
 Video and Filmmakers.
     CIPB chapters in major cities across the country will feature the
 documentaries in public screenings and promote them for play on PBS member
 stations. KBDI Boulder (Colorado Public Television) recently became the first
 PBS member station to schedule the films for airing. The films provide in-
 depth examinations of controversial issues, like human rights violations of
 the Kurds in Turkey, Falun Gong in China or civil rights movement in the U.S.
 and labor's struggle against multi-national corporations in the new global
 economy.
     Former FCC Commissioner Nicholas Johnson, a member of the CIPB board,
 states, "Issue oriented independent documentaries serve public broadcasting's
 primary mission to educate and engage viewers as citizens. It is tragic that
 financial dependence and political intimidation have subverted PBS's will to
 provide an important alternative to the corporate controlled commercial
 broadcasters."
     Producer Barbara Trent, another CIPB board member, will announce the
 winners. Trent's own film, The Panama Deception, won the 1993 Academy Award
 for "Best Documentary Feature," but was rejected by PBS. The Washington Post
 called The Panama Deception "a meticulously researched investigation,"
 However, PBS claimed, "Its assertions about the intent of U.S. policy and the
 conduct of U.S. troops are not adequately substantiated."   A PBS inside
 source informed the Los Angeles Times, "There was a general nervousness (about
 the film)." Trent called it "censorship."
     News of the awards reached Academy Award winning cinematographer Haskell
 Wexler who commented: "Nothing will deter dedicated socially conscious image
 makers from creating artful documentaries. As communicators we must dedicate
 sufficient energies to break through the corporate wall and convince Public
 Television to serve the public."
     Another winner is Good Kurds, Bad Kurds: No Friends but the Mountains by
 Pulitzer Prize nominee Kevin McKiernan. Kani Xulum, a leader of the Kurdish
 independence movement and subject of the film, says, "Kevin McKiernan has done
 a great service for the Kurdish people. I hope that public broadcasting will
 share his film with all Americans." Also honored will be Emmy-award winning
 producer Danny Schechter for Falun Gong's Challenge to China. Branded
 "counterrevolutionaries" by the Chinese government, the Falun Gong have
 suffered 70,000 arrests and 189 deaths. According to Schechter, "These are the
 kinds of compelling human rights stories that too rarely get told on PBS."
     Director Barbara Zahm will be honored for her documentary, The Last
 Graduation, which gives a moving account of the dramatic success and ultimate
 killing of prison college programs by the "Contract with America" 104th
 Congress. Finally, there is Fred Glass' Building the House They Lived In, a
 film that chronicles the California labor movement's successful fight for fair
 employment practices in the 1950s. "Also recommended" is Jeremy Brecher and
 Andrea Hubbell's Global Village or Global Pillage, a critical look at the
 influence of multinational corporations and what workers and communities can
 do to protect their interests in the midst of this dramatic change.
     In CIPB briefing papers, the filmmakers discuss their visions of the
 films, the obstacles they overcame to get them made and obstacles they could
 not overcome in getting their work shown on PBS. CIPB Executive Director
 Jerold Starr explains, "PBS underwriting guidelines ban even partial support
 from labor or public interest groups without which many films could not get
 made. Since PBS accepts films supported by corporations and conservative
 foundations, this discrimination amounts to a defacto censorship of content."
     CIPB Chapter Development Coordinator Ramatu Bangura notes, "We are
 sponsoring this tour to show the American people how much better PBS could and
 should be. Like KBDI Boulder, local PBS member stations have the opportunity
 and resources to schedule these films. Many of our chapters are hosting large
 screenings and hope to bring these works to their public stations as well."
     Speaking to CIPB's proposal for an independently funded Public
 Broadcasting Trust to provide the financial security required for journalistic
 integrity, stage and film star Alec Baldwin observed, "The PBS mission is the
 same now as when it was chartered during Lyndon Johnson's administration: to
 provide programming that may not be 'appropriate or available for support by
 advertising.' What has happened since then? Politics and money, which have
 severely limited PBS's range and damaged its once estimable reputation.
 Depoliticizing PBS's budget will benefit all Americans. Democracy is about
 participation. Let's help PBS to inform our democracy."
 
                     MAKE YOUR OPINION COUNT -  Click Here
                http://tbutton.prnewswire.com/prn/11690X81462984
 
 SOURCE  Citizens for Independent Public Broadcasting