The Harlem-based National Black Programming Consortium (NBPC) selected four winners of its inaugural program fund and incubator for TV, Web and multimedia projects on Thursday. This is the culmination of a seven-month effort to bring fresh Black stories, both fiction and nonfiction, to fruition. The winners—selected from eight production teams participating in NBPC’s intensive, six-week incubator—emerged after battling it out at the Pitch Black pitching session at the Greene Space at WNYC/WQXR. The event drew the top names in public television, including CPB, PBS, WORLD Channel, ITVS, POV and WNET, but also saw attendance from HBO, A&E, Fox, BET, Tribeca All Access and Third World Newsreel.
Awardees at the event, which was hosted by veteran producer Sandy Rattley, include:
My Africa Is by Nosarieme Garrick and Hassatou Diallo, a broadcast TV series
My Africa Is a documentary series tapping into the dynamic and diverse stories of African youth culture, offering a balanced view of Africa.
Street Cred by Sultan Sharrief and Oren Goldenberg, a broadcast TV series
Everyone has seen the crazy headlines about Detroit, but rarely do we see the potential and power of our youth. Street Cred challenges Detroit High School students to learn entertainment producing skills and compete for a chance at a dream internship. Each episode the students get a different challenge: pitching, marketing, budgeting, etc. The youth must prove their potential not only to the industry judges, but also to themselves.
POPS by Garland McLaurin and Jason Samuels, a documentary Web series
From TV pundits to the President of the United States, African-American men are consistently excoriated for failing to be active in their children’s lives. POPS is a humorous, enlightening and engaging exploration of fatherhood as experienced by three African-American men facing the toughest challenge of their lives—becoming good fathers.
Pixie Dust by Damon Colquhoun and Shertease Wheeler, a scripted Web series
Pixie Dust follows a teenage girl whose mentally ill mother stops taking her medication. It’s a real-life issue that becomes injected with the fantastical, when the girl discovers a family secret that gives her both the power to see the psychological beast that lies beneath her mother’s skin and to quell that beast.
“I am extremely excited about the selected projects because they will bring vitally needed fresh perspectives and new voices to public media,” said NBPC Executive Director Leslie Fields-Cruz. “At the same time, I’m also incredibly proud of each and every one of the producers who participated in the inaugural launch of NBPC 360, because no matter where their projects land, they will also bring vibrant, engaging stories about the Black experience to American audiences.”
The winning projects were evaluated on their technical and artistic merits, relevance, team capacity and suitability to the distribution platform and selected by two panels of industry professionals. The TV/Broadcast core judges included Independent Film & PBS Plus’s Kathryn Lo, Vital Picture’s Llewellyn Smith and WGBH’s Liz Cheng. Web/Interactive Panel core judges included ITVS Senior Digital Content Strategist Karim Ahmad, PBS’s Nicole Eley-Carr, filmmaker/producer and current Visiting Researcher/Scholar at the MIT Media Lab Topper Carew. Audience members included public media professionals; broadcasting, digital and production company executives; funders; and distributors.
NBPC 360 was launched in October 2014 with an open call for submissions. As the purpose of the program is to help advance producers of all levels, the program included a weekly series of webinars on different aspects of the business, a live stream event on the latest trends in public television and mentorship to assist producers in preparing their applications. The effort resulted in applications by 163 teams in January. The field was narrowed and in March eight producing teams, or NBPC 360 Fellows, enrolled in the incubator.
Next steps for the three winners include developing their pilots over the next six months. Once pilots have been completed, the winning producing teams with the support of NBPC will then pursue broadcast and distribution opportunities for the programs.
NBPC 360 partners include WNET (lead station), WTTW, WYES, KQED, WGBH/World, American Public Television, National Minority Consortia, SCETV, BritDoc, POV, ITVS, IFP Made in New York, Tribeca Film Institute, NYC Media, Silicon Harlem and PGA Diversity. The program is made possible by funding from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.
For more information on NBPC or NBPC 360, visit www.blackpublicmedia.org or follow the organization on Twitter (@BLKPublicMedia) or Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/BlackPublicMedia).