Excerpt from panel discussion, “Beyond Inclusion: Challenging Entrenched Institutions” with Grace Lee, Richard Jean So, Sabrina Schmidt Gordon, and Jennifer 8. Lee on October 15, 2021
In 2021, the Ford Foundation’s JustFilms granted over $5 million to support 71 content projects, and over $15.29 million to 122 documentary organizations and filmmakers. 49 comprised new grantees and 73% of the support went to filmmakers identifying as Black, Indigenous, or people of color. Viewers Like Us is grateful to be one of these projects. Thank you to JustFilms for investing in independent documentary film and media.
Read the full announcement.
“At the heart of Lee’s provocation was this question: ‘How much does PBS reflect the audiences it was intended to serve?’
This question resonated with me. I’ve noticed that many of my peers don’t really tune into PBS, and their relationship to public television often ends at Sesame Street. I wondered how we could make PBS more inclusive, so I was eager to team up with Grace when presented with the opportunity to further explore this question. I quickly learned that Grace’s essay was hardly the first effort to call out public media’s diversity and inclusion issues. Perhaps that’s why in the spring 2021, when Beyond Inclusion, a BIPOC-led collective of non-fiction media makers (including Lee), released an additional open letter to PBS, seven hundred people co-signed, including PBS stalwarts Stanley Nelson and Sam Pollard.”
Read reporter Akintunde Ahmad’s full piece on Viewers Like Us at CJR.
Ernesto Aguilar—who publishes a newsletter about Latino/a, Latine, Latinx audiences and public media—talks with Grace about her critique, PBS’ response and BIPOC representation in public media.
“Grace Lee is a Peabody award-winning filmmaker. She most recently directed and produced programming broadcast on PBS. Other film credits include American Revolutionary: The Evolution of Grace Lee Boggs (POV); Makers: Women in Politics (PBS); and K-Town ’92 Reporters (World). Her 2020 critique of Ken Burns and PBS sparked a new movement for diversity and public TV. Lee has since stepped away from film to become an advocate for more equitable work in public media. She’s today a co-founder of Beyond Inclusion and host of the Viewers Like Us podcast.
For OIGO, we get into her activism and why everyone should be more involved in addressing public television’s future.”
Read More at OIGO.
October 14, 2021 by Matthew Carey, Deadline
“A couple of pointed questions underpin filmmaker Grace Lee’s new podcast, Viewers Like Us: as she frames it in episode 1, ‘Why is PBS so white and how exactly did it designate Ken Burns as America’s Storyteller?'”
Read more at Deadline.com
September 29, 2021 by Julian Wyllie, Current
“Filmmaker Grace Lee is hosting a podcast that examines public TV’s commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion amid criticism of the system’s DEI practices.“
Read More at Current.org