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The Museum of Television & Radio Announces the Fourth Annual Television Documentary Festival, April 24 to May 4, 2003, in New York

Tuesday, March 25, 2003

New York, NY—The Museum of Television & Radio will present its fourth annual Television Documentary Festival beginning on April 24 and running through May 4, 2003, with a special Members-Only preview on April 23. A noncompetitive festival devoted to the art and history of television documentary, the 2003 Television Documentary Festival will again feature screenings of both premieres and distinguished recently seen works, with a panel discussion between the audience and the filmmakers, production teams, and film subjects following each screening. This year's Festival will include premiere screenings of five documentaries and two work-in-progress previews, as well as a retrospective look at the Vietnam War and the continuation of Docu-Jam: A Youth Documentary Showcase. In addition, two new elements will be introduced to the Festival: a hands-on workshop for aspiring documentarians, and a special presentation of a "classic" documentary. 

The 2003 Television Documentary Festival will feature fifteen films, including five premieres, two works-in-progress, and a retrospective look at films on the Vietnam War. Selections include a Members-Only premiere screening of Guns & Mothers; profiles of literary lions Kurt Vonnegut and Gore Vidal; an exploration of Latino culture and its rich heritage; a biography of Marilyn Monroe drawn from previously unknown recordings; a chronicle of a writing workshop led by Eve Ensler in a maximum security prison; a film based on the remarkable autobiography of Holocaust survivor Edith Hahn; and a screening of the classic Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars. All screenings will be followed by a discussion with the filmmakers, production teams, and film subjects. All Festival programs have been selected based on criteria in keeping with the Museum's ongoing mission to make available the finest collection of programs that uphold traditions of excellence, cultural impact, and historical significance. A complete screening schedule is attached. 

Vietnam Vérité Retrospective
The cinéma vérité revolution had a profound impact on the way the war in Vietnam was conveyed to Americans via television. Handheld 16mm cameras, mobile sound equipment, and largely unfettered access enabled film crews to get up close and personal with the GIs and capture what it felt like, in human terms, to fight a contested war. Although many of the six selections in this retrospective do not adhere to the strict orthodoxy of cinéma vérité—for instance, some occasionally employ voice-over narration-they all share a willingness to allow the documentary's narrative structure and political tone to be shaped by the lives, deaths, hopes, and fears of its soldier subjects. 

A new addition to the Festival, The Art of the Documentary Pitch: How to Turn an Idea into a Reality will take place on Saturday, April 26 at 2:00 p.m. In this workshop, cosponsored by the International Documentary Association, veteran producers will discuss the process of developing a documentary, simulating situations that novice filmmakers face in trying to sell a nonfiction concept. Several up-and-coming documentarians will be preselected to make public pitches to the panelists, who will evaluate their proposals for uniqueness and viability.  Panelists will also take questions from the audience. Panelists will include Diana Holtzberg, Acquisitions & Project Development Director, USA, Films Transit International; Lauren Lazin, Executive Producer/Senior Vice President, MTV News and Documentaries; Cara Mertes, Executive Director, P.O.V.; and Steve Rosenbaum, President/CEO, CameraPlanet Pictures. 

Student Films
Docu-Jam: A Youth Documentary Showcase returns for a third year on Friday, May 2 at 4:30 p.m. This year's Festival spotlights eight documentary shorts by young media producers exploring themes such as cultural identity, family, and community life, and other issues central to the lives of young people. Young filmmakers, taught to document their lives with video cameras at local media centers, will present and discuss their films, creativity, and future media plans.  Presented in association with Downtown Community Television Center (DCTV).  This event is free to students with valid ID.  


  • Tickets for each Festival event are $10 each ($8 for Museum members) and $5 for students with valid ID. The series price for any three events is $24 ($18 for Museum members) and $12 for students.
  • Tickets may be purchased in advance by calling the Museum at (212) 621-6600 Mondays to Fridays from 12:00 to 5:00 p.m., or at the Museum's front desk during regular Museum hours (Tuesdays to Sundays 12:00 to 6:00 p.m., Thursdays until 8:00 p.m.).
  • Admission to the Vietnam Vérité Retrospective screenings is included with general admission.
  • Admission to Docu-Jam is free to students with valid ID.
  • Members of the Association of Independent Video and Filmmakers and the International Documentary Association may purchase tickets at the Museum Members price. 

Programs and participants are subject to change. Doors open 30 minutes prior to scheduled start time, and all seating is general admission. No refunds or exchanges. The attached schedule includes a complete listing of dates and times for Festival events. For up-to-the-minute Festival information call the Hotline at (212) 621-6699, e-mail, or visit the Museum's website at 

Funding for this Festival has been generously provided by The Hearst Corporation, The Anna and John Sie Foundation, Leon Constantiner, and HBO. Additional support provided by Court TV and Thirteen/WNET. 

The Museum's Television Documentary Advisory Committee members are Jon Alpert, Downtown Community Television Center; Al Cattabiani, President, Wellspring Media; Nancy Dubuc, Vice President, Documentary Programming Development, A&E; David Fanning, Executive Producer, Frontline; Paola Freccero, Senior Vice President Film Programming, Sundance Channel; Liz Garbus, Cofounder/Producer-Director, Moxie Firecracker Films; Lee Gash-Maxey, Vice President, News & Public Affairs, BET; Chana Gazit, Producer/Director/Writer, Steward/Gazit Productions; Rena Golden, Executive Vice President & General Manager, CNN International; David Grubin, President, David Grubin Productions; Diana Holtzberg, Acquisitions & Project Development Director, USA, Films Transit International; Marjorie Kaplan, General Manager & Senior Vice President, Discovery Kids/Discovery Communications, Inc.; Lynne Kirby, Vice President, Development, Court TV; Barbara Kopple, Founder and President, Cabin Creek Films; Susan Lacy, Executive Producer, American Masters; Lauren Lazin, Executive Producer/Vice President, MTV News and Documentaries; Ruby Lerner, Executive Director, Creative Capital; Albert Maysles, President, Maysles Films, Inc.; Cara Mertes, Executive Director, P.O.V.; Stanley Moger, President and CEO, SFM Entertainment, LLC; Sheila Nevins, Executive Vice President, Original Programming, HBO; Elizabeth Peters, Executive Director, Association of Independent Video and Filmmakers; George Stoney, Professor, Department of Undergraduate Film & Television, Tisch School of the Arts; Susan Werbe, Vice President, Programming, The History Channel; Christopher Wilcha, Filmmaker; and Kristal Brent Zook, Adjunct Professor, Graduate School of Journalism and Institute for Research in African-American Studies, Columbia University. 

The Museum of Television & Radio, with locations in New York and Los Angeles, is a nonprofit organization founded by William S. Paley to collect and preserve television and radio programs and advertisements and to make them available to the public. Since opening in 1976, the Museum has organized exhibitions, screening and listening series, seminars, and education classes to showcase its collection of over 100,000 television and radio programs and advertisements. In 2001 the Museum initiated a process to acquire Internet programming for the collection. Programs in the Museum's permanent collection are selected for their artistic, cultural, and historic significance.

The Museum of Television & Radio in New York, located at 25 West 52 Street in Manhattan, is open Tuesdays through Sundays from noon to 6:00 p.m. and until 8:00 p.m. on Thursdays. The Museum of Television & Radio in California, located at 465 North Beverly Drive in Beverly Hills, is open Wednesdays through Sundays from noon to 5:00 p.m. Both Museums are closed on New Year's Day, Independence Day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. Suggested contribution: Members free; $10.00 for adults; $8.00 for senior citizens and students; and $5.00 for children under fourteen. Admission is free in Los Angeles. The public areas in both Museums are accessible to wheelchairs, and assisted listening devices are available. Programs are subject to change. You may call the Museum in New York at (212) 621-6800, or in Los Angeles at (310) 786-1000. Visit the Museum's website at