ITVS Announces FUTURESTATES, a New Online Fictional Series to Explore Visions of Life in a Future America

Dramatic Mini-Features Will Debut Beginning March 2010 With Early Previewat AFI’s Digifest in Los Angeles on November 5, 2009

Move Represents a Huge Innovation in Public Media, Targeting Younger, Diverse Online Audiences With Eventual Broadcast to Follow

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(SAN FRANCISCO, CA) — The Independent Television Service (ITVS) announced today that it will unveil key concepts of its new FUTURESTATES series at AFI’s Digifest in Los Angeles on November 5, 2009. The series, which will be made available online beginning March 2010, will consist of 11 mini-features each 15 minutes in length, created by independent filmmakers exploring diverse visions of what life might look like in an America of the future. Initially, the series will be accessible exclusively online via ITVS’s redesigned website (launching in early 2010) and be available for free—via streaming video—on the new site’s enhanced broadband video player. 

“FUTURESTATES represents innovation on almost every front, beginning with the content itself,” says Sally Jo Fifer, ITVS President and CEO. “These short programs are narrative films exploring many of today’s complex social issues by imagining how they play out in the world of tomorrow. But it’s not just the content that is innovative,” adds Fifer. “We’re launching this series online, taking it directly to younger and diverse audiences who don’t typically watch public television.” 

Integral to ITVS’s production of the series is the development of online engagement activities with interactive features and opportunities for viewers to express their own ideas about life in the decades and centuries to come. ITVS has been collaborating with AFI’s Digital Content Lab in designing some of the interactive features to accompany the series, including a crowd-sourced timeline of past and future events. “Even though FUTURESTATES is a fictional series, we want to engage viewers in a conversation about our world,” says Matthew Meschery, ITVS Director of Digital Initiatives. “In many ways, imagining the future helps us come together around the challenges we face today. FUTURESTATES is definitely not a TV series,” adds Meschery. “It’s a transmedia program for your computer, your phone, and your TV too.” 

ITVS worked with over 20 of today’s best and emerging indie filmmakers to complete the 11 films to make up FUTURESTATES. Contributors include acclaimed director Ramin Bahrani, whose mini-feature entitled PLASTIC BAG is narrated by the legendary Werner Hertzog, Greg Pak ‘s MISTER GREEN and Tze Chun’s SILVER SLING. 

FUTURESTATES brings together several key components of ITVS’s strategy for a sustainable competitive public media. “We know that fewer and fewer people are watching programs through traditional appointment viewing. By combining online viewing with a shorter-format and edgy content with a sci-fi twist, we are going to reach new audiences with programs that inspire and inform,” says Fifer. “And of course, we are keenly interested in making FUTURESTATES available for public television broadcast down the road, and we aim to bring new audiences with us.” 

Contact: Voleine Amilcar, ITVS 415-356-8383 X 244

Posted on November 3, 2009