POV Launches Fund for Documentary Filmmakers Amid Coronavirus Pandemic

Courtesy of WeOwnTV Freetown Media Center
POV's Ebola documentary 'Survivor.'

The acclaimed PBS doc series was first launched in 1988.

American Documentary — the nonprofit organization supporting the acclaimed PBS documentary series POV — announced Wednesday that it is launching a fund designed to support the independent documentary community during the novel coronavirus pandemic.

The fund will initially start with $100,000. It will provide rapid response grants of up to $500 to assist those in need with food, immediate health needs and insurance premiums. Applications are now open and will be reviewed on a rolling basis until the fund is expired.

The critically acclaimed POV doc series, first premiering in 1988, is dedicated to highlighting contemporary social issues through a personal lens. Docs going out under the banner have won numerous Emmys, Peabody Awards and three Oscars.

A similar fund was first announced last year by AmDoc, albeit under different circumstances.

"Last year when we ran the pilot the need for a fund of this kind was already substantial. During this pandemic, the need is critical," Justine Nagan, executive producer and executive director of POV/AmDoc  said. "We are just beginning to see how COVID-19 is affecting filmmakers, especially those from marginalized communities. Canceled premieres, halted production and broader systemic issues are profoundly affecting filmmakers from health care to housing security. This adapted COVID AEF is designed for quick turnaround grants to support filmmakers and their families’ physical health."

The Artist Emergency Fund is made possible with support from Open Society Foundation, Shizuka Asakawa, the Chicago Media Project, Genuine Article Pictures and a number of other individuals.