ITVS Announces the Launch of FUTURESTATES, An Online Series of 11 Unique Short Films Exploring Visions of What Life Might Look Like in an America of the Future

A First for ITVS, Move Represents a Huge Innovation in Public Media

Series Debuts March 8, 2010 on

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(SAN FRANCISCO, CA-March 8, 2010) — The Independent Television Service (ITVS), which brings independently produced, high-quality public broadcasting and new media programs to local, national, and international audiences, announces the launch of FUTURESTATES, a new online series that presents an intriguing collection of 11 short films offering diverse visions about what life in America will be like in the decades and centuries to come. 

ITVS worked with today’s best and emerging independent filmmakers to complete the 11 films – each about 15 minutes in length — to produce FUTURESTATES. The series launches as an immersive destination website on March 8th at and will be available for free via streaming video with subsequent distribution on 

FUTURESTATES brings together several key components of ITVS’s strategy for a sustainable, competitive public media. “Fewer and fewer people are watching programs through traditional appointment viewing,” said Sally Jo Fifer, ITVS president and CEO. 

“FUTURESTATES is an opportunity to reach new audiences that are younger and more diverse by combining online viewing with a shorter-format and edgy content with a sci-fi twist that inspire, entertain, and inform. Our end goal is to make FUTURESTATES available for public television broadcast down the road bringing along the new online audiences we gain.” 

Each episode of FUTURESTATES presents a different filmmakerʼs vision of American society in the not-too-distant future, fusing an exploration of social issues with elements of speculative and science fiction. Contributors include acclaimed director Ramin Bahrani (Goodbye Solo), whose mini-feature Plastic Bag narrated by the legendary Werner Herzog, traces the epic, existential journey of a plastic bag searching for its lost maker. In award-winning director Greg Pak’s Mister Green, a government undersecretary charged with terminating an experimental program to curb global warming ends up much greener than he ever imagined possible. Tze Chun, named among the "25 New Faces of Independent Film" by Filmmaker Magazine directed SILVER Silver Sling, which examines a polarized economy of the near future where corporations offer financial incentives to high ranking female employees to pay for chemically accelerated surrogate births and reveals the personal costs for the surrogates themselves. 

The FUTURESTATES website will feature not only the eleven short films in high-quality streaming video, but also the “Predict-o-Meter,” a unique engagement feature that invites viewers to submit their own predictions about life in five, 25, or even 100 years from today, and comment on the predictions of others. 

“The ‘Predict-O-Meter’ is meant to be entertaining,” said Matthew Meschery, ITVS Director of Digital Initiatives. “But it’s also a real tool for audience engagement and discussion about what the future holds in connection to the issues covered in the films. Additionally it allows people to think about their own future and the future of our world through the prism of today’s global realities.” 

About ITVS The 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 PM 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 provide for 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 is funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, a private corporation funded by the American people. 

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

Posted on March 8, 2010