PBS Online Film Festival – Watch Us Surprise You

By Eric Freeland, Director of Digital Programming

Time is running out, the deadline is this week to apply to be part of the 2014 PBS Online Films Festival.  

The time is now – PBS Digital seeks member stations to participate in the 2014 PBS Online Film Festival. Now in its third year, the festival features diverse and surprising stories that only PBS, its member stations and producing partners can tell.

In 2014, the festival will take place from June 16 to July 31, and will grow even larger, with up to 10 slots for member stations to participate. To be considered, stations need to complete this short application:

The PBS Online Film Festival represents a unique opportunity for any station looking for ways to deepen their involvement with online original content, local independent producers, and to engage its community in new ways.

“The PBS Online Film Festival as a whole opened eyes with key community leaders who now understand that WCVE has the means to elevate a local initiative to a national level.”

- John Felton, General Manager, WCVE Richmond, 2013 Festival Partner

“The festival helped us reach a new audience since college-aged students are not our primary viewers/visitors.”

- Brenda Brkusic, Executive Producer, PBS SoCal, 2013 Festival Partner

For the 2014 PBS Online Film Festival, members of the PBS Digital team will review the applications; stations will be chosen based on their commitment to independent film, relationships with filmmakers within the community (including universities), and available on-air/online promotional resources. The application deadline is Wednesday, Oct. 23.

After the PBS Digital team reviews this year’s applications, selected stations will submit up to four short independent films (3-5 minutes long) to be reviewed by the PBS Digital selection committee; the committee will then choose the films to be showcased in the festival. Participants are also required to ensure that all films submitted have rights cleared for streaming. In upcoming weeks, PBS Digital will provide more guidelines and best practices to participating stations.

The 2013 festival featured 20 short independent films (non-fiction and fiction), presented by these partners – ITVS, POV, The National Black Programming Consortium, The Center for Asian American Media, Latinos in Public Broadcasting, Vision Maker Media, and Pacific Islanders in Communications. Five member stations also participated as part of a pilot program: KCTS Seattle, WCVE Richmond, PBS SoCal, WGTE Toledo and KLRU Austin.

Watch the 2013 PBS Online Film Festival Sizzle Real

You can watch films from the 2012 and 2013 film festivals on these platforms –, PBS Video Portal, PBS mobile apps, and the PBS Channel on YouTube. The festival can also be viewed on member station COVE video portals.

In 2013, the PBS Online Film Festival recorded nearly a half-million video streams and reached more than 10 million people via social media channels. It also has received national, regional, and industry-focused media attention – USA Today, Huffington Post,,, Pittsburgh Post Gazette, ReelScreen, and OCWeekly.

If you have any questions about participating in the 2014 PBS Online Film Festival, email Eric Freeland, Director of Digital Programming.