2005 Sundance Film Festival

This Year's ITVS Slate Features Three Films in Doc Competition and One Web-Original Doc in Online Film Festival at Sundance 2005

CONTACT: Randall Cole, ITVS, 415.356.8383, ext. 254 or randall_cole@itvs.org 

Desiree Gutierrez, ITVS, 415.356.8383, ext. 244 or desiree_gutierrez@itvs.org 

Cara White, PBS, 843.881.1480 or carapub@aol.com 

(San Francisco, CA)— The Independent Television Service (ITVS) has announced that three of its films and one online project have been accepted for the upcoming Sundance Film Festival 2005 in Park City Utah, from January 20-30, 2005. ITVS has had a presence at the festival with its funded films since 1994. This year brings the grand total of ITVS films at Sundance to 53, along with several online projects. 

Documentary Competition 

THE EDUCATION OF SHELBY KNOX, by Marion Lipschutz and Rose Rosenblatt, follows Texas teenager Shelby Knox as she joins a youth group on a campaign for better sex education in Lubbock high schools. As Shelby is swept into the fight, she begins to question her deeply conservative Southern Baptist upbringing. When the campaign broadens to include a fight for a gay-straight alliance, Shelby must finally confront her family and a local youth pastor in this coming of age story. THE EDUCATION OF SHELBY KNOX is slated to air in an upcoming season of the acclaimed PBS series P.O.V. 

FROZEN ANGELS, by Eric Black and Frauke Sandig, follows a cast of characters through the wonder-world of assisted human reproduction while, at the same time, portraying Los Angeles, a city better known for elevating the superficial into an art, for Hollywood, Disneyland, freeways, silicone-implants, film sets of epic proportions, and perfect bodies at Muscle Beach. But in the Mecca of the Body Perfect, one in six couples is now infertile and Angelinos lead the world in number of fertility clinics per capita. All of their customers are wealthy; 99 percent are white. FROZEN ANGELS, a highly visual film blurring the line between fiction and documentary, makes the connection to people and the society that would seek to design its children. 

SHAKESPEARE BEHIND BARS, by Hank Rogerson and Jilann Spitzmiller, follows an all-male Shakespeare company working behind bars at Kentucky's Luther Luckett Correctional Complex. For one year a cast comprised of murderers, rapists and thieves rehearse and perform a full production of Shakespeare's last play, The Tempest, a play fittingly about forgiveness. In the film, the parallels between actor and inmate, text and life are striking. On the surface level in the film, the men rehearse their lines alone, with each other and in rehearsal. They experiment with different ways to deliver a line, to make a gesture or how to change the meaning of a scene—with one subtle stroke. On a deeper level, this constant searching within a character mirrors the constant search within the men themselves to find meaning in their past actions and present lives. The film shows men who are, in some ways, stuck in time, constantly replaying the text and gestures of their own crimes, wondering what “subtle stroke” would have changed their fate. And in this process, these men test the power of truth, change and forgiveness. 

Sundance Online Film Festival 

BEYOND THE FIRE: Teen Experiences of War, an Electric Shadows online project presented by ITVS, created and produced by Sesh Kannan and developed by Free Range Graphics, at www.beyondthefire.net, engages and educates American teens through the real life stories of their peers from seven war torn countries, including Somalia, Sudan, Afghanistan, Bosnia and Iraq, who have made their way to the U.S. in search of a better life. Now more than ever, teens and their teachers and parents are in need of accessible, engaging and informative sources to shed light on world issues, to help American teens become more enlightened citizens of the world. In a media environment dominated by the perspectives and voices of adults, there is a great need for teens to hear from their peers if lessons in world issues, politics and geography are to be relevant. BEYOND THE FIRE sparks teen dialogue on issues of war, geography, history and human rights. For more show-specific information and downloadable photos, please contact ITVS listed above. 

About ITVS

 Independent Television Service (ITVS) funds and presents award-winning documentaries and dramas on public television, innovative new media projects on the Web and the Emmy Award-winning weekly series Independent Lens on Tuesday nights at 10 P.M. on PBS. ITVS is a miracle of public policy created by media activists, citizens and politicians seeking to foster plurality and diversity in public television. ITVS was established by a historic mandate of Congress to champion independently produced programs that take creative risks, spark public dialogue and serve underserved audiences. Since its inception in 1991, ITVS programs have revitalized the relationship between the public and public television, bringing TV audiences face-to-face with the lives and concerns of their fellow Americans. More information about ITVS can be obtained by visiting itvs.org. ITVS is funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, a private corporation funded by the American People. 

About P.O.V. 

Produced by American Documentary, Inc. and entering its 18th season on PBS, P.O.V. is the first and most-awarded series on television to feature the work of America's best contemporary-issue independent filmmakers. Airing Tuesdays 10 P.M. during the summer, and with prime time specials during the year, P.O.V. has brought over 220 award-winning documentaries to millions nationwide, and now has a Webby-Award winning online series, P.O.V.'s Borders. Since 1988, P.O.V. has pioneered the art of presentation and outreach using independent non-fiction media to build new communities in conversation about today's most pressing social issues. More information about P.O.V is available online at pbs.org/pov. 

About PBS 

PBS is a private, nonprofit media enterprise that serves the nation's 349 public noncommercial television stations, reaching nearly 90 million people each week through on-air and online content. Bringing diverse viewpoints to television and the Internet, PBS provides high-quality documentary and dramatic entertainment, and consistently dominates the most prestigious award competitions. PBS is the leading provider of educational materials for K-12 teachers, and offers a broad array of educational services for adult learners. PBS' premier kids' TV programming and Web site, PBS KIDS Online (pbskids.org), continue to be parents' and teachers' most trusted learning environments for children. More information about PBS is available at pbs.org, one of the leading dot-org Web sites on the Internet, averaging more than 30 million unique visits and 380 million page views per month. PBS is headquartered in Alexandria, VA.

Posted on January 7, 2005