Report: Stories for a Stronger Nation

Posted on July 19, 2021

Independent filmmakers provide insights on how their work strengthens our public sphere and our democracy

ITVS is proud to share Stories for a Stronger Nation, a report that represents the culmination of a months-long series of conversations convened by ITVS board members Garry Denny, Sharon La Cruise and Patricia Aufderheide and published in collaboration with the Center for Media & Social Impact (CMSI) at American University with support from Ford Foundation. Stories for a Stronger Nation captures the findings of dozens of interviews ignited in 2020 by the intertwined crises of the pandemic and the racial reckoning following the police murder of George Floyd. The top takeaways from the report are shared below. 

The board members recognized that the documentary production and distribution wing of public broadcasting is a trusted source of powerful storytelling by independent producers and seized that moment to help imagine a more robust ecology going forward. They invited thought leaders to respond to research questions such as: How can the relationship between independent filmmakers and public broadcasting be strengthened? What’s our vision for an invigorated public broadcasting system and a more sustainable production field? What policy, systemic, and funding changes would make it happen?

Participants included filmmakers, public television and non-profit organization leaders, CEOs of production houses, philanthropists and influencers. 

You can read the full report from CMSI here.

TOP TAKEAWAYS 

  • Independent documentary filmmakers, as uniquely trusted storytellers about the complexities of American life, are critical to the future of the public sphere and a healthy democracy.

  • At a moment of intertwined crises in America, public television and independent filmmakers are crucial partners in reaching the American public; both need more investment in that relationship: to stabilize it, support it, and ensure their mutual contribution to America’s communities.

  • Public television urgently needs to strengthen its relationship with BIPOC independent filmmakers, a vibrant resource to address the racial reckoning.

  • Increased funding is needed now, and on an ongoing basis, for independent filmmakers and the organizations that directly support their work.

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