Women's International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF)

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Cynthia Lopez Q and A

1. We did a campaign on the lack of feminist voices on PBS. We wanted transparency on how videos are chosen for air time. Has there been a sea change internally on what kind of films can be shown?

Paula Krueger, the new president at PBS, has hired someone, Haiti Rodriguez, who looks at diversity across the national schedule. A report was done that shows a lot of work needs to be done to increase diversity on PBS.

We need to continue to be diligent on this. More research on minority and women's inclusion in media needs to be done.

In terms of support on what can be done to have public television support diversity, you need to look at the cuts that are being done at all public service media organizations, you need to express to your elected officials that they need to continue to support public service media and describe the type of media you're interested in. Change is slow in public service media, but we are moving in the right direction.

Corporate funded media gets on the air faster than any other type of media.

2. How far along are the films that come to you?

POV on average receives about 1,000 films a year and selects 16-18 films to feature. The series is kept to 16-20 shows because we wage large campaigns around each film. There is an "In the Works" submission for development grant, a regular submission site, and a Diverse Voices Project: the film-maker had never had a national broadcast and we worked with the "Made in LA" film-maker to go from concept to filming to broadcast.

3. How can we help get more actual public funding for PBS?

One, I would definitely read the cover stories on Current Magazine. There's an article that was published on February 17 that talks about what is happening in public television and radio. Also go to PBS's website.

4. How do you choose films for POV?
We have a rigorous screening process. For a weekend, we view 50-80 films, the final cut for films that are chosen to go to an editorial committee who then choose 20-25 films to curate from. Usually we find that film-makers have the pulse of the community not only domestically but also globally.

5. Finishing funds for a documentary?
ITVS has a finishing fund, consortia for minority community has access to finishing funds, as does POV. Click into "For Producer" at POV.

6. Do you have ideas on how to create a new economic model for public media?

Unfortunately, NOW with David Brancaccio is a million dollars short on their operating budget and have to go on an 8-10 week furlough.

News and public affairs programming depend on philanthropic grants and are better at producing news than at fundraising. The majority of our budget comes from foundations. How to change that during this economic climate is really difficult.

If you look at media business plans, they're not working - that's why Nightline had to leave a major network. When you're in a huge crisis is not necessarily the time to work on the over-arching plan.


Post a Comment

<< Home