Kartemquin Films has announced the initial 15 members of its PBS Needs Indies Steering Committee, which the Chicago doc house is establishing to serve as a liaison between independent filmmakers and PBS. Names include International Documentary Association Board Member Beth Bird, and Michael Winship, senior writer of Moyers & Company with Bill Moyers. The group also posted a second open letter to PBS; its first garnered more than 1,000 signatures after PBS shifted indie showcases Independent Lens and P.O.V. from Tuesdays to Thursdays, resulting in ratings and carriage drops (Current, March 12).
"This incident has renewed our community’s awareness of the critical value of PBS to the national media ecology," the group said in the latest letter. "We know that public broadcasting, uniquely funded by taxpayers, reaches people at every level of society, in virtually every locality in the country. And we will continue to foster dialogue among the community of independent filmmakers about the significance of public broadcasting, and their own role in it."