American Documentary | POV Wins MacArthur Foundation Award


AMERICAN DOCUMENTARY | POV is one of only 13 nonprofit organizations around the world to win this year’s MACARTHUR AWARD FOR CREATIVE AND EFFECTIVE INSTITUTIONS. The award, which was announced today, recognizes exceptional grantees that have demonstrated creativity and impact, and invests in their long-term sustainability with sizable one-time grants. AMERICAN DOCUMENTARY | POV will use its $1 million MACARTHUR AWARD to build its cash reserves and complete an infrastructure upgrade.

According to MacArthur, the Award is not only recognition for past leadership and success but also an investment in the future. Organizations will use this support to build cash reserves and endowments, develop strategic plans, and upgrade technology and physical infrastructure.

POV Logo (Photo Credit: American Documentary, Inc.)

POV Logo (Photo Credit: American Documentary, Inc.)

Furthermore, for these Awards, the Foundation does not seek or accept nominations. To qualify, organizations must demonstrate exceptional creativity and effectiveness; have reached a critical or strategic point in their development; show strong leadership and stable financial management; have previously received MacArthur support; and engage in work central to one of MacArthur’s core programs.

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 and is often 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.

AMERICAN DOCUMENTARY, INC. (AMDOC) produces the award-winning series POV (POINT OF VIEW), which is celebrating its 25th year on PBS. American television’s longest-running showcase for independent documentaries, POV has presented more than 365 films since its first season in 1988. POV films have won every major film and broadcasting award, including 32 EMMY AWARDS®, 15 GEORGE FOSTER PEABODY AWARDS, 10 ALFRED I. DUPONT-COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY AWARDS, three ACADEMY AWARDS® and the PRIX ITALIA.

In 2012, POV achieved a new milestone, winning five NEWS & DOCUMENTARY EMMY AWARDS®. Since 1988, POV has pioneered the art of presentation and outreach using independent nonfiction media to build new communities in conversation about today’s most pressing social issues. POV airs from June through October, with primetime specials throughout the year. POV’s 26th season begins in June 2013 with an auspicious move to Mondays at 10 p.m. on PBS (check local listings). Visit

Since its inception, AMDOC has continually gone “beyond the broadcast” to spark critical conversations in communities across the country. Working with public television stations, educational institutions and national and local organizations, the POV team builds public-awareness campaigns by coordinating more than 600 screenings a year, along with discussions, panels, roundtables and conference sessions. This kind of cross-community dialogue is critical in tackling some of the most pressing challenges we face as a society, including food safety (Food, Inc.), health care (Critical Condition), veterans’ affairs (Where Soldiers Come From), immigration (Sin Pais) and education (American Promise).


POV 25th Anniversary Logo (Photo Credit: American Documentary, Inc.)

POV 25th Anniversary Logo (Photo Credit: American Documentary, Inc.)

VOICES PROJECT is provided by the CORPORATION FOR PUBLIC BROADCASTING. Special support provided by THE ACADEMY OF MOTION PICTURE ARTS AND SCIENCES. POV is presented by a consortium of public television stations, including KQED SAN FRANCISCO, WGBH BOSTON and THIRTEEN in association with WNET.ORG.

The POV series was founded on a simple but powerful premise–that the vision of independent documentary filmmakers had the power to engage audiences and explore the great issues of our time,” said AMERICAN DOCUMENTARY | POV’S EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR/EXECUTIVE PRODUCER SIMON KILMURRY. “Over the past 25 years the impact and the importance of these films in our culture have grown exponentially and continue to do so. This landmark award from the MacArthur Foundation affirms this vision and sets American Documentary on a path to secure POV’s future and attract new audiences with smart, engaging and enlightening films.”

It is quite a victory for our organization to receive this coveted MacArthur Award and to be among the stellar organizations recognized for their dedication to fostering creativity in the public interest,” said AMERICAN DOCUMENTARY | POV’S EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT/CO-EXECUTIVE PRODUCER CYNTHIA LOPEZ. “Documentary filmmakers are instrumental in providing a window into the lives, beliefs and policies that impact our lives. We appreciate MacArthur’s investment in the documentary form and its potential to spark public dialogue and make our communities better places to live.”

AMDOC has proven itself to be a nimble player in the television and movie industry in adapting new-media formats, and proactive in finding new opportunities for collaboration. POV has produced original programs in partnership with ABC NEWS’ NIGHTLINE, PBS NEWSHOUR and THE NEW YORK TIMES, as well as animated documentaries with the acclaimed oral-history project StoryCorps and initiatives to foster the next generation of young filmmakers. Pushing the boundaries of digital storytelling, POV hosts weekend Hackathons at its Brooklyn headquarters to find the “next big thing” in interactive media, and it has increased the public’s access to POV programs with an ever-expanding library of new and archival films available free online and on mobile devices.

POV DIGITAL ( POV’s award-winning website extends the life of the films in the series online with interactive features, interviews, updates, video and educational content, plus listings for television broadcasts, community screenings and films available online. The POV Blog is a gathering place for documentary fans and filmmakers to discuss their favorite films and get the latest news.

POV COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT AND EDUCATION ( POV’s Community Engagement and Education team works with educators, community organizations and PBS stations to present more than 600 free screenings every year. In addition, we distribute free discussion guides 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.

In honor of POV’s 25 years on PBS, the MUSEUM OF MODERN ART (MOMA) will celebrate with a special program, MOMA SELECTS: POV from Wednesday, Feb. 27 – Monday, March 4, 2013, as part of the museum’s DOCUMENTARY FORTNIGHT 2013 SHOWCASE. The six-day event will feature 22 POV films that have pushed the boundaries of the documentary craft and tackled some of our society’s most vital political issues. The selections range from POV’s first broadcast in 1988, LOUIS ALVAREZ and ANDY KOLKER‘s American Tongues; to the last film of the series’ 25th season, DAVID REDMON and A. SABIN‘s Girl Model; to a preview of the Academy Award®-nominated 5 Broken Cameras. The program will feature the world premiere of CHRISTINE TURNER‘s Homegoings with a special musical performance, which will also have its national broadcast premiere later this year on POV.

MOMA SELECTS: POV will also feature a two-part tribute to the late MARLON RIGGS, along with conversations with some of the documentary world’s most respected filmmakers. MARC WEISS (founder of POV); SIMON KILMURRY (executive producer, POV), CYNTHIA LÓPEZ (co-executive producer, POV) and others will moderate the conversations.

POV films and filmmakers have been at the center of a golden age of documentary filmmaking,” said KILMURRY. “The films in MoMA’s special program not only look back at the first 25 years of POV, but also look forward. Collectively, they illustrate how vibrant and essential documentaries have become in exploring the human experience.”

As we celebrate our 25th anniversary on PBS, MoMA’s retrospective program allows us to review our history, share insights about documentary craft and culture with the public and celebrate with the indie filmmaking community,” said LÓPEZ. “The ways in which documentaries have contributed to our culture will be a focus of conversations at the screenings. We hope the public will find that these documentaries inform, entertain and challenge conventional wisdom.”

MoMA is located at 11 W. 53rd Street, New York, NY 10019. For more information, visit

Additional information about why MacArthur selected AMERICAN DOCUMENTARY | POV for the Award and an overview video are at

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