ITVS Announces New National Community Engagement Program Supporting Independent Lens

100 Free Community Screenings along with other Civic and Educational Events to Take Place in 10 Cities Across the Country

Media Contact: Desiree Gutierrez (415) 356-8383 x244 

(San Francisco)—The Independent Television Service (ITVS) today unveiled its new national community engagement program, ITVS Community, which will support the Emmy Award-winning PBS series Independent Lens, with more than 100 events in 10 markets from coast to coast beginning in September 2005 through June 2006. 

ITVS Community will bring together local public television stations, leading organizations (both public and private) and communities around the country with free screening events featuring panel discussions, educational materials and special guests speakers. These events will convene dialogue in communities about key social issues and provide concrete opportunities for individuals to get involved through leading organizations working both locally and nationally. 

Working through a network of strategically placed Regional Outreach Coordinators, ITVS will collaborate with public television stations and leading national organizations (including the Hands On Network, 4-H, the National League of Cities, Health Ministries Association, and others) to bring ITVS Community programming to Atlanta, Boise and Pocatello (Idaho), Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Seattle and Washington, DC. ITVS Community Cinema, the program's flagship screening series, will be produced monthly in each of these markets between September 2005 and June 2006. 

“Community outreach and civic engagement have always been at the heart of ITVS' commitment to serving diverse audiences. ITVS Community represents an exciting new national effort at connecting communities with issues, ideas and the leading organizations that work on them,” said Sally Jo Fifer, ITVS President and CEO. 

ITVS Community is built around four program pillars (CINEMA, CLASSROOM, CAMPAIGNS and NETWORK) to engage audiences with the content provided by Independent Lens. The program's central goals include creating opportunities for leading organizations and local communities to convene around key social issues; creating more opportunities for civic engagement and positive social change; providing supporting materials—including lesson plans, discussion guides, fact sheets, etc.—to make Independent Lens' cutting-edge content more accessible as a public education tool. 

Just some of the films that will receive ITVS Community support are; RACE IS THE PLACE, an exhilarating look at race relations in the US through the creative visions of poets, musicians and artists; GIRL TROUBLE, a look at the lives of the fastest growing prison population—young girls, and the system that fails them; TAKING THE HEAT explores the history of women firefighters in America and the price these women paid to serve their communities; THE REAL DIRT ON FARMER JOHN, the story of a farmer that abandons conventional chemical farming and fights local hysteria to build a thriving organic farm and A LION IN THE HOUSE an inspiring, harrowing and intimate series following five children as they fight cancer over the span of six years. 

ITVS Community will launch its flagship CINEMA series with a screening event in partnership with the City of West Hollywood and Artists for Amnesty (Amnesty International USA) at the Pacific Design Center in West Hollywood on September 26, 2005. Attendees will view SEOUL TRAIN, a gripping expose into the life-and-death struggle faced by North Korean refugees as they flee their homeland through China, and participate in a post-screening discussion with representatives from Amnesty International and other leading groups. 

“Community Cinema makes going to the movies into an important civic event, and positions public television as the place to go for diverse perspectives on the issues of our time," said ITVS National Outreach Manager, Dennis Palmieri. 

More About ITVS Community: Community Cinema: A monthly community screening series. Screenings will be hosted by local, regional and national partner organizations. Community Cinema will screen 10 shows per year in 10 markets during 2005-2006; all screenings will be free and open to the public and will be followed by panel discussions and/or special guest speakers. 

Community Engagement Campaigns (CEC): Our full-service outreach package providing a range of outreach support and activities during a 6 to 12 month period leading up to broadcast. In addition to participation in the Community Cinema and Classroom programs, CEC's will also include public television station outreach grants, an ITVS outreach website, a committee of national partner organizations and other national events and activities. 2005-2006 CECs are underway for COUNTRY BOYS (a three-part FRONTLINE mini-series co-presented by ITVS) and A LION IN THE HOUSE, a two-part Independent Lens special on pediatric cancer. 

Community Classroom: A subscription-based educational service featuring four to six films scheduled for broadcast on Independent Lens. Participating educators, public television stations and organizational partners will receive educational materials in support of these films. Materials will include a 15 to 20 minute classroom video module, accompanying curricular materials, and special activities. 

Community Network: A quarterly newsletter to connect our local, regional and national partner organizations and public television stations with ITVS programming, outreach activities, updates and upcoming events. 

More About Independent Lens: Independent Lens is jointly curated by ITVS and PBS, and is funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), a private corporation funded by the American people, with additional funding provided by PBS and the National Endowment for the Arts. 

To learn more about efforts in your area visit the ITVS Community site at

Posted on September 20, 2005