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(San Francisco, CA, October 2, 2018) Three documentaries funded by ITVS received News and Documentary Emmy Awards, two for Independent Lens and one for FRONTLINE, it was announced last night at the 39th Annual News & Documentary Emmy® Awards. The winning films were Abacus: Small Enough to Jail, Forever Pure and TOWER. The News & Documentary Emmy® Awards were presented on Monday, October 1, 2018 in New York City; twelve documentaries funded by ITVS received nominations. PBS scored more wins than any other network, with seven winning films.

“We are overjoyed to have three ITVS co-productions honored by the esteemed Television Academy," said Sally Jo Fifer, President and CEO, ITVS. "With unwavering support from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, funders and viewers across the nation, ITVS is honored to provide brave and passionate storytellers with a platform to produce films that reflect today’s world. Thank you to our colleagues at FRONTLINE and Independent Lens, these films are a testament to your dedication and courage in bringing important stories to audiences nationwide.”

“We’re proud to have presented both Forever Pure and TOWER on Independent Lens,” said Lois Vossen, series Executive Producer. “These filmmakers spent years establishing trust with the people represented to tell multilayered, authentic stories and it's gratifying to see their work recognized with the industry’s highest award for news and documentary programs.”

Formed by Congress in 1988 to address the lack of diverse voices in public media, ITVS has served as an incubator for filmmakers and a funding engine for more than 1400 films. Recipient of the 2017 Peabody Institutional Award, ITVS was recognized by the Peabody Awards Board of Jurors for its “broad transformative impact on the media landscape.”


Abacus: Small Enough to Jail (Outstanding Business and Economics Documentary) FRONTLINE/Filmmaker: Steve James

ITVS Supervising Producer: David Eisenberg

Nominated for an Academy Award, Abacus: Small Enough to Jail tells the saga of the Sungs, a Chinese American family who own and operate Abacus Federal Savings in New York’s Chinatown — the only U.S. bank prosecuted in relation to the 2008 financial crisis.


Forever Pure (Outstanding Politics and Government Documentary)

Independent Lens/Filmmaker: Maya Zinshtein

Forever Pure follows what happened when two Muslim players joined Israel’s most popular and controversial football team. Through the story of one tumultuous season in the life of this famed club, the film offers a dramatic window into modern Israeli society.


TOWER (Outstanding Historical Documentary)

Independent Lens/Filmmaker: Keith Maitland

On August 1, 1966, a sniper rode the elevator to the top floor of the University of Texas Tower and opened fire. When the gunshots were finally silenced, the toll included 16 dead, three dozen wounded, and a shaken nation left trying to understand.


About ITVS

ITVS is a San Francisco-based nonprofit organization that has, for over 25 years funded and partnered with a diverse range of documentary filmmakers to produce and distribute untold stories. ITVS incubates and co-produces these award-winning films and then airs them for free on PBS via our weekly series, Independent Lens, as well as on other PBS series and through our digital platform, OVEE. ITVS is funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. For more information, visit

About Independent Lens

Independent Lens is an Emmy® Award-winning weekly series airing on PBS Monday nights at 10:00 PM. The acclaimed series, with Lois Vossen as executive producer, features documentaries united by the creative freedom, artistic achievement, and unflinching visions of independent filmmakers. Presented by ITVS, the series is funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, a private corporation funded by the American people, with additional funding from PBS, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Wyncote Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts. For more visit Join the conversation: and on Twitter @IndependentLens.


Tanya Leverault, ITVS    415-356-8383

Mary Lugo                        770-623-8190

Cara White                        843-881-1480


Posted on October 2, 2018