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January 24, 2017

WNET Fosters Dialogue on Documentaries, Public TV at Sundance Film Festival

On Saturday, January 21, WNET and PBS hosted a panel discussion and reception at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival.

sundance-2017Titled “Independent Filmmakers and Public Media: Telling America’s Stories,” the panel featured 5 prominent documentarians and was moderated by Cara Mertes, Director of Just Films at the Ford Foundation.

This is the fourth year that WNET has partnered with PBS to sponsor the Sundance Film Institute’s Documentary Film Program and it was the most well-attended thus far. The impressive lineup of independent filmmakers included Yance Ford (Strong Island); Pete Nicks (The Force); Cyndee Readdon (Tell Them We Are Rising: The Story of Historically Black Colleges and Universities); Barack Goodman (American Experience: Oklahoma City) and Jeffrey Palmer, director of the upcoming American Masters film, N. Scott Momaday: Words From a Bear.

The panel deep in discussion.

The panel deep in discussion.

The thoughtful discussion centered around the importance of telling stories that reflect the people, culture and social issues in America and the value of telling those stories on public television. As Cara Mertes said, “As we all know, film is a potent force for creating common language, to affirm someone else’s reality, to build leadership and community, and ultimately it can be a pathway to a kind of healing and transformation.”

The panel was filmed and will be available on the Just Films website soon.

[Top image caption left to right: PBS’s Marie Nelson; Filmmakers Jeffrey Palmer (“American Masters/N. Scott Momaday: Words from A Bear”); Yance Ford (“Strong Island”); Cyndee Readdon (“Tell Them We Are Rising: The Story of Historically Black Colleges and Universities”) and Barak Goodman (“Oklahoma City”); Stephen Segaller; Cara Mertes/Ford Foundation; Filmmaker Pete Nicks (“The Force”); PBS’s Beth Hoppe]

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