ITVS BOARD OF DIRECTORS MEETING
San Francisco, CA
November 22, 2014
Board Present: Garry Denny, Pat Aufderheide, Sharese Bullock-Bailey, Lisa Cortés, Beth Curley, Tracy Fullerton, Ian Inaba, Bathsheba Malsheen, and Margaret Wilkerson
Board Absent: Malinda Maynor Lowery, Robb Moss, and Jean Tsien
Staff Present: Sally Fifer, Jim Sommers, Erica Deiparine-Sugars, N’Jeri Eaton, Locsi Ferra, Amna Mirza, Michael Shiro, Jennifer Samani, and Kirk Vader
A meeting of the ITVS Board of Directors was called to order by Chair Garry Denny at 9:55 a.m. on Saturday, November 22, 2014 at the Hotel Nikko, San Francisco, California
Denny greeted the board and welcomed them to San Francisco. He pointed to the crucial role public television plays in American life — PBS was the only network to televise Obama’s recent immigration speech live. He then thanked the ITVS staff for supporting Judy Tam during her family leave.
Approval of Minutes ACTION: Sharese Bullock-Bailey introduced the minutes and, on a motion by Lisa Cortés, seconded by Bathsheba Malsheen, the Minutes of the July 12, 2014 board meeting were unanimously approved.
Fifer announced that ITVS films won four News & Documentary Emmys and that five ITVS producers would be attending Sundance. Independent Lens was again nominated by the IDA for the Best Continuing Series award. Fifer described the reception ITVS held with Rep. Henry Waxman in D.C. Four ITVS filmmakers spoke (Byron Hurt, Dawn Porter, Tracy Droz Tragos, and Darius Clark Monroe) and Waxman gave a compelling speech about ITVS’s origin story and ongoing impact. Fifer discussed promising new partnerships with the Washington Post and PBSD in the new media space and announced OVEE passed the 2,000 screening milestone [number includes test screenings with alpha and beta partners]. Fifer concluded with a recap of her November fundraising trip to the east coast.
FY15 Annual Work Plan
Fifer gave an overview of the organization-wide FY15 Annual Work Plan. In 2015, there will be a focus on digital development, a culture of diversity and high performance, a strong infrastructure undergirded by project management tools, and developing brand reach and depth. Organizational development will focus on seizing opportunities as they emerge using fast decision making and a nimble staff who are able to flow in and out of lines of work.
Wilkerson commented on changes in foundation expectations for immediate social impact, and how that has changed funding priorities, with less investment in whole ecosystems and more in limited projects. Denny asked if ITVS is outsourcing the work of targeting Independent Lens underwriters and Sally replied only internal staff is used at this time.
Amna Mirza gave an overview of audience development outcomes. Cortés asked how ITVS ensured the public was familiar with streaming content and Mirza replied that the streaming window for each film is promoted via social media. Bullock-Bailey suggested that ITVS take previously broadcasted programs and rewindow them when they are topical again.
Cortés asked after digital engagement for Gen Xers and wondered if ITVS had considered an IL podcast. Mirza replied that a podcast and other potential ideas are currently undergoing feasibility studies. Bullock-Bailey noted her excitement as ITVS begins to extend the IL brand experience.
ACTION: On a motion by Bullock-Bailey, seconded by Aufderheide, the FY15 Annual Work Plan was unanimously approved.
Reports on Operations
Jim Sommers, Senior Vice President of Content
Amna Mirza, Managing Director of Marketing and Communications
Erica Deiparine-Sugars, Managing Director of Programming
N’Jeri Eaton, Programming Manager
Locsi Ferra, Thematic Campaign Manager
Jim Sommers introduced Amna Mirza, Managing Director of Marketing and Communications, who presented the new Independent Lens branding. Mirza began by highlighting the IL brand strengths: hunger, heart, and belief then showed the new brand assets: 1) show opener; 2) bug and tag; 3) next on; 4) web toss and; 5) credit bed. Mirza concluded by showing a fresh ITVS stories reel. Denny asked if rights to all the clips in the reel were cleared and Amna responded that all but two were cleared.
Erica Deiparine-Sugars and N’Jeri Eaton summarized Open Call 2014 Round 2. Out of 270 submissions, nine films have been recommended and greenlit (but not yet contracted): Frank Wong’s Chinatown, Mimi and Dona, On a Knife Edge, Romeo Is Bleeding, The Russian Woodpecker, Denial, The Silence of Others, The Kill Chain, and The Oakland Police Department. Of the nine selected films, 45% of the applicants are diverse, and 55% of the films have diverse applicants.
Locsi Ferra presented on the ITVS plan to sunset the Women and Girls Lead campaign. Seven modules are being created for the three 90-minute episodes of WAGL’s final program, A Path Appears, which premieres in January 2015. An impact report on the WAGL strand is forthcoming in the summer of 2015. Ferra reported that WAGL assets and NGO relationships will be transitioned to Women and Girls Lead Global, as planned to align with new millennium goals.
Sommers and Aufderheide co-presented on their experiences at the IDA conference, which had 397 attendees (mostly filmmakers and producers, with some funders). Much discussion centered on creating a sustainable environment for documentary filmmakers.
Aufderheide presented her TV Documentary Series Study: Does Public TV Still Matter?, which she had also offered at the IDA conference. Her study showed that, via the IL strand, ITVS has funded diverse filmmakers at a much higher rate than HBO, ESPN and CNN. Wilkerson wondered if minority women were double-counted in Aufderheide’s study. Aufderheide said they were double-counted, but numbers could be separated out if needed.
Audit Committee Report
Beth Curley, Chair
The annual audit will begin in mid-December. A report on this will take place at the first board meeting of 2015.
Finance Committee Report
In Committee Chair Robb Moss’ absence, member Denny reported out on the FY15 budget, which was reviewed on a committee call the previous week. Shiro reviewed FY14, where actuals were within 3% of the budget.
ACTION: On a motion by Cortés, seconded by Wilkerson, the FY15 budget was unanimously approved.
Nominating Committee Report
Lisa Cortés, Chair
Lisa reported that the Nominating Committee sought a new candidate with skills in new media, content, distribution, and technology to replace Marie Nelson, who resigned after joining PBS. Committee members were reaching out to qualified candidates to set up interviews with board members. A new member will be presented at the next board meeting.
The Nominating Committee recommended to renew the terms for Curley and Tsien, whose first terms ended, and offered third terms to Moss and Wilkerson.
With no new business, Denny proposed that the meeting be brought to a close.
The meeting adjourned at 3:54 p.m.
Sharese Bullock-Bailey, Secretary