Hundreds of documentary filmmakers have signed on to the open letter to PBS that Kartemquin Films posted only a week ago. Among the signatories: Barbara Kopple, Bill Moyers, Alex Gibney, Michael Moore, Joan Churchill, Jennifer Fox, Chuck Workman and other major award-winners. (Signatures still are being accepted.) Filmmakers are, in the technical language that IndieWIRE employed, pissed.
Filmmakers are angry because PBS appears has shoved Independent Lens and POV--to programs that provide almost year-round showcasing of independent filmmakers' work--onto the one night in the schedule that PBS has promised not to program (effectively kicking them off the schedule). Worse, PBS appears not to recognize that this demonstrates a lack of understanding of public broadcasting's public mission.
Media coverage has been impressive, as Kartemquin noted in its latest update:
New York Times: Schedule changes hurt PBS film series
FAIR.org: Is PBS Trying to Hide Some of Public TV's Best Work?
Center for Social Media: Why it Matters Where PBS Puts Independent Lens and POV
IndieWIRE: The PBS Debacle: Why a New Time Slot Spells Disaster For Indie Docs
About.com Documentaries: Restore Vital Documentary Scheduling on PBS!
Kartemquin.com: Major filmmakers pledge their support for our open letter to PBS
So far, PBS has evenly maintained that it continues to "negotiate," a process that appears to be stalled after months of PBS' insistence on kicking the two series off the main schedule.
Kartemquin encourages filmmakers to sign its open letter and for other constituencies also to generate open letters to PBS, and to circulate them widely.