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The Museum of Television & Radio Sets Dates for the 2005 Television Documentary Festival

Thursday, November 4, 2004

New YorkNY—The Museum of Television & Radio will present its sixth annual Television Documentary Festival in New York beginning on April 12 and running through April 20, 2005.  

Building on the success of last year's Festival, which presented the New York premieres of such acclaimed films as Zana Briski and Ross Kaufman's Born into Brothels, Ivy Meeropol's Heir to an Execution, David Grubin's JFK, and Barak Goodman's The Fight, the Museum will again showcase approximately ten of the season's most noteworthy television documentaries. Each screening will be introduced by the filmmaker and followed by a lively Q&A session, a hallmark of the Festival. 

In addition to the premieres, the Festival will feature seminars and panel discussions exploring issues critical to the craft and content of the television documentary; a pitch workshop for aspiring documentary filmmakers; screenings of rarely seen "classic" documentaries; and Docu-Jam, an annual showcase of documentaries produced by student filmmakers from around the country. 

The Television Documentary Festival was inaugurated in 2000 with the mission of highlighting the role that television plays in bringing exemplary works of nonfiction to the public. Over the past five years, the Festival has explored the art, craft, and history of the documentary through screenings and dialogues that have included such participants as Jon Alpert, Peter Arnett, Ken Burns, Ric Burns, Glenn Close, Robert Drew, Eve Ensler, Liz Garbus, Sebastian Junger, Susan Lacy, Rory Kennedy, Al Maysles, Michael Moore, Gordon Parks, Alexandra Pelosi, DAPennebaker, Alvin Perlmutter, Sam Phillips, Alan and Susan Raymond, Gore Vidal, Kurt Vonnegut, Robert Weide, and Gideon Yago.  

Call for Entries

In an effort to broaden the scope of the Festival, the Museum is initiating an "open call" for submissions.  Applicants can submit a synopsis of the film, along with contact information and a brief history of the project, via e-mail to no later than January 15, 2005. Please put "FESTIVAL SUBMISSION" in the subject line. Screeners (either VHS or DVD) will be requested from those filmmakers whose documentaries fit the criteria of the festival (see below). Should the project be accepted in the Festival, the filmmaker(s) will be expected to introduce their work in person and participate in a moderated Q&A following the screening. There is no entry fee for submissions. 

Festival Criteria for Submissions:

In keeping with the mission of the Museum, submissions must have a television connection, meaning they must have been funded, in part or wholly, by a television company or network (U.S. or international) or by a television grant (such as ITVS) or have a broadcast deal in place by the time of the Festival. Documentaries that will have aired on U.S. television before April 2005 are NOT eligible.  

The Art of the Documentary Pitch-Call for Entries

The Festival will again feature The Art of the Documentary Pitch: How to Turn an Idea into a Reality, a workshop in which five filmmakers will have the opportunity to pitch their documentary idea to a panel of buyers and development executives. Last year's workshop drew a sold-out audience and generated an inspiring discussion about how a documentary idea grows from seed to fruition. Filmmakers interested in participating in the workshop can submit a synopsis of their documentary idea, along with contact information and a brief history of the project, via e-mail to Please put "PITCH WORKSHOP" in the subject line. Workshop entries must be received by January 30, 2005. There is no submission fee. Applicants will be notified by late February of their status.  

A complete Festival schedule will be announced at a later date. 

For additional information, go to or e-mail 

The Museum's Television Documentary Advisory Committee members are Jon Alpert, Downtown Community Television Center; Nancy Dubuc, A&E; David Fanning, Frontline; Paola Freccero, Sundance Channel; Liz Garbus, Moxie Firecracker Films; Chana Gazit, Steward/Gazit Productions; Rena Golden, CNN International; David Grubin, David Grubin Productions; Diana Holtzberg, Films Transit International; Marjorie Kaplan, Discovery Kids/Discovery Communications, Inc.;  Lynne Kirby, Court TV; Barbara Kopple, Cabin Creek Films; Susan Lacy, American Masters; Lauren Lazin, MTV News and Documentaries; Ruby Lerner, Creative Capital; Al Maysles, Maysles Films, Inc.; Cara Mertes, P.O.V.; StanleyMoger, SFM Entertainment, LLC; Nina Henderson Moore, BET; Sheila Nevins, HBO; Elizabeth Peters, Association of Independent Video and Filmmakers; Steve Rosenbaum, Broadcast News Networks Inc. and Camera Planet; Vivian Schiller, Discovery; Prof. George Stoney, Tisch School of the Arts; Rosalind P. Walter; Susan Werbe, The History Channel; Christopher Wilcha, Filmmaker; and Kristal Brent Zook, Columbia University. 

The Museum of Television & Radio, with locations in New York and Los Angeles, was 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 preeminent collection of over 100,000 television and radio programs and advertisements and to provide a critical forum for the interpretation of these media and their significance in our society. Programs in the Museum's 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