Community Cinema Launches its Sixth Season in More Than 100 Cities & Towns Across the Country, Unveils Major Innovations for Deeper Impact for Docs

National Center for Media Engagement tapped to be National Impact Partner

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(San Francisco, CA)—The Independent Television Service (ITVS), the leader in independent public media, announced today a series of major innovations to its Community Cinema program — the largest and most successful community engagement program in public television. Community Cinema brings more than 50,000 participants to over 1,000 community screening events each year, in collaboration with more than 750 community partners nationwide. The program launches its sixth season in September 2011. 

“Community Cinema has continued its steep growth curve since its very first season,” said Dennis Palmieri, Managing Director of Communications and Media Strategy for ITVS. “This growth has been consistently led by demand from public television stations and their community partners around the country. With the program reaching more than 100 cities every month, now is the time to bring new and powerful resources to bear in support of both the continued grown and impact of the powerful documentary films the program presents.” 

Among this year’s major innovations is the addition of the National Center for Media Engagement (NCME) as the National Impact Partner for Community Cinema. NCME is the leading resource for public television and radio stations doing engagement work, and it is uniquely positioned to support the Community Cinema program—now a mainstay of station engagement strategies across the country. As the National Impact Partner, NCME will focus its efforts on two areas: first, on developing impact strategies tailored to the topics of each month's films and coaching stations on implementing those strategies; and second, working with stations to capture “stories of impact” each month and aggregate them to create a better picture of the program’s overall performance in engaging communities. 

“Through public media, Community Cinema provides an important platform for engaging citizens by convening and facilitating dialogue on issues of vital importance to our communities,” said Charles Meyer, Executive Director of the National Center for Community Engagement (NCME). “We know intelligent media fosters communication, builds understanding, and creates the potential for discovery.  Community Cinema’s commitment to bringing communities and local organizations together through the featured documentaries aligns perfectly with NCME’s mission to support public media in working collaboratively with their communities to discover, understand, and address community concerns.” 

In addition to the NCME partnership, ITVS will also launch a completely re-designed website to support the program at The new site will build on the NCME-led impact strategies by offering users the opportunity to take direct action on behalf of the issues featured in Community Cinema films straight from the website. “Community Cinema’s central goal has always been to empower communities to get involved and make a difference on the issues that are most important to them. Typically, those opportunities are driven by locally based community partners whose work dovetails with the topic of one of our films,” said Palmieri. “With the new website, Community Cinema will now offer both national and local impact opportunities online, as well as film clips, event information, and an updated set of tools for stations and event partners.” 

Community Cinema will launch its 2011-2012 season with the landmark miniseries event, Women, War & Peace. Produced by Abigail E. Disney, Pamela Hogan, and Gini Reitcker, Women, War & Peace is a bold new five-part PBS miniseries challenging the conventional wisdom that war and peace are men’s domain. A co-production of THIRTEEN and Fork Films, Women, War & Peace places women at the center of an urgent dialogue about conflict and security and reframes our understanding of modern warfare. Featuring narrators Matt Damon, Tilda Swinton, Geena Davis, and Alfre Woodard, the series reveals how the post-Cold War proliferation of small arms has changed the landscape of war, with women becoming primary targets and suffering unprecedented casualties. Simultaneously, women are emerging as necessary partners in brokering lasting peace and as leaders in forging new international laws governing conflict. Women, War & Peace is a part of ITVS’s Women and Girls Lead — an innovative public media initiative designed to focus, educate, and connect women, girls, and their allies across the globe to address the challenges of the 21st century. 

Community Cinema will present two of the five episodes in more than 120 screening events nationwide: Pray the Devil Back to Hell, the astonishing story of the Liberian women who took on the warlords and regime of dictator Charles Taylor in the midst of a brutal civil war and won a once unimaginable peace for their shattered country in 2003; and Peace Unveiled, which follows three women in Afghanistan who are risking their lives to make sure that women have a seat at the negotiating table in talks between the U.S. and the Taliban. 

The rest of the 2011-2012 Community Cinema line-up will be announced later this month, including 10 films scheduled for broadcast on the upcoming season of the Emmy Award-wining PBS series Independent Lens

About Community Cinema 
ITVS Community is the national community engagement program of the Independent Television Service (ITVS) and the Emmy® Award-winning PBS series Independent Lens. Through community engagement campaigns in support of groundbreaking, independent films, our innovative educational product ITVS Community Classroom, and our flagship community outreach program Community Cinema, ITVS Community works to bring communities together and connect them with information, resources, and opportunities for education, engagement, and positive change. ITVS Community builds on our 15-year legacy of community engagement activities and makes public broadcasting into a powerful resource for individuals, communities, and organizations working on key social issues around the country. For a complete lineup or more information about the Community Cinema series visit: 

About the National Center for Media Engagement (NCME) 
The National Center for Media Engagement supports and strengthens public media as community institutions that are essential to a healthy democracy. In service of this vision, NCME provides leadership, guidance, and resources to experiment with new technologies, identify best practices, and create and deliver community engagement initiatives on every platform. For more information on NCME visit 


Voleine Amilcar, ITVS 415-356-8383 x 244 

For more information about the Community Cinema series visit,

Posted on August 25, 2011