Q&A: Worldfocus producer Megan Thompson on Liberia today

April 17th, 2009

For Worldfocus’ signature series, “Liberia’s Long Road Back”, producers Lynn Sherr and Megan Thompson recently went to Liberia to track the current conditions of the country, 5 years after their brutal civil wars ended. With the influence of President Ellen Sirleaf, the reconstruction has prominent roles for women.

Stories in the series (watch now):
Women’s movement transforms post-war Liberia
Liberia, “America’s stepchild,” searches for own identity
Former child soldiers, sex slaves recover from Liberia’s war
Liberian women occupy front lines of war on sexual violence

All of the questions pertain to these reports from Sherr and Thompson. (more…)

Forecast: Cyberchase's 'Weather Watchers'

April 17th, 2009

from: Frances Nankin, Executive Producer & Editorial Director, Cyberchase


This week, Cyberchase takes center stage on air and online with an all-new week long Weather Watchers mini series. The featured attractions? Math and weather-based, action-packed adventures with the CyberSquad and their newest friend, NBC meteorologist Janice Huff.

Janice guest stars in the first two Weather Watchers episodes – airing Monday and Tuesday (4/20-21) – as the voice of cyber-meteorologist Stormy Gale. She also appears as her personable self in two Cyberchase For Real segments, filmed in NBC4 studios at 30 Rock. (sneak peek here) Her enthusiasm for meteorology is contagious! You can read Neal Shapiro’s account of her visit to the THIRTEEN studios a year ago when we recorded her voice-over. (more…)

2009 Webby Nominees from WNET and THIRTEEN

April 15th, 2009

We were nominated for the 2009 Webbies, the “Oscars of the Web”!

Uncertain Industry, Thirteen’s own online original video series and site, was nominated for online documentary series.

Religion & Ethics Newsweekly
was nominated (for the 3rd time in 4 years — and they won in 2007) for religion website.

Vote for us in the People’s Choice! (requires registration)
* vote for Uncertain Industry
* vote for Religion & Ethics Newsweekly

(more…)

Event: 'Martha Speaks' @ The NYPL

April 8th, 2009

Everybody’s favorite talking dog is coming to New York Public Libraries! Thirteen will be holding screenings, read-along sessions, and opportunities to read to live therapy dogs, all based on Martha Speaks, the PBS show about a vocabulary-loving talking dog, which airs every weekday on Thirteen at 3:30pm. Bring your children to come read with Martha! Click here to find out more.

MARTHA LIBRARY EVENT SCHEDULE

April 9, 2009 @ 4pm
Martha Speaks @ The Library Screening #1
New York Public Library, Webster Branch @ 1465 York Avenue, Manhattan

April 15, 2009 @ 4pm
Martha Speaks @ The Library Screening #2
New York Public Library, Mulberry Branch @ 10 Jersey Street, Manhattan

April 22, 2009 @ 4pm
Martha Speaks @ The Library Screening #3
New York Public Library, Tottenville Branch, 7430 Amboy Road, Staten Island

June 8, 2009 @ 4pm
Martha Speaks @ The Library Screening #4
New York Public Library, 67th Street Branch @ 328 East 67th Street, Manhattan

Interview: Jong Suk Lee, producer, Focal Point's 'A trip to the DMZ'

April 8th, 2009

'Haejung' on her field trip to the DMZ


The newest story in Wide Angle‘s web-only video series, Focal Point, travels with North Korean student defector and her high school class to the DMZ (Demilitarized Zone between North and South Koreas). The subject is a 20-year-old young woman whose parents arranged her exodus from her home in North Korea around when she was 17. She now attends school in South Korea and is still adjusting to her new life on her own. Watch the video now–we did, and then had some follow-up questions, which Jong Suk Lee, one of the piece’s producers (along with Micah Fink) was kind to answer, below:

How many people leave/defect from North Korea every year? (more…)

DTV Coupon Program again accepting applications

April 8th, 2009

If your DTV coupon is expired, or you couldn’t get one in the last few months, take heart!

The government’s program to help TV watchers who need converter boxes again has coupons available. The date for the digital television changeover is June 12.

* Apply or re-apply for a coupon for a converter box HERE.
* For updated info about Thirteen’s DTV conversion and to read our FAQ, go HERE.

Behind the Scenes: American Masters' Philip Glass Documentary

April 8th, 2009

from: Susan Lacy, series creator and executive producer, American Masters

The opportunity to work with Scott Hicks, the director of the remarkable feature film Shine, on a film about Philip Glass was just a no-brainer. The experience was everything one could hope for. Seeing each of these men’s creativity in action – Scott’s very intimate, unobtrusive filmmaking process and his enormous respect for the music – Philip’s devotion to and delight in his work, his passions and his pursuits. The outcome is a very compelling film, full of complexities, unfolding against a beautiful panorama of both natural and operatic scenery, with the music of this American master always strong and soaring.

Philip Glass rides his bike to work, Nova Scotia (still from the film)

Unlike many of the American Masters films, this is not a soup-to-nuts biography in the traditional sense, but is, instead, a portrait blessed with something we don’t always have – a subject who allowed a filmmaker and his camera to record his daily life over an extended period of time. Thus, the audience is given privileged glimpses into the artistic and personal pressures faced by one of the most prolific contemporary composers of our time, whose output includes opera, music theater, symphonies, concerts, string quartets, and film scores. Glass emerges as a likable, self-effacing soul-searcher, although clearly a driven artist for whom music will always be his first passion. The impact of this on his personal life emerges in the film and, in one particularly surprising moment, the result of this kind of ‘fly on the wall’ filmmaking reveals some genuinely intimate truths.

I wanted to be involved in this film because I feel we must balance out our more popular music shows with programs about classical and “classicist” composers and musicians, whenever possible. The audience for the latter is relatively small, but Philip Glass is probably one of the most well-known contemporary composers in the world, primarily because of his extraordinary and ground-breaking music theater works (e.g. Einstein on the Beach), as well as his hypnotic and beautiful film scores, which have brought him Hollywood acclaim. This film was a wonderful experience for me and I hope it finds the audience it deserves.

American Masters — Glass: A Portrait of Philip in 12 Parts airs tonight on Thirteen at 9pm.

* Watch outtakes from the film, including fantastic performances of Glass’ music by Maki Namekawa and Dennis Russell Davies; Michael Riesman and Kronos Quartet; Wu Man; UAKTI and The Philip Glass Ensemble.

* Original documentary site

* Filmmaker Scott Hicks was interviewed on XM Radio’s Bob Edwards Show: listen here.

The Visionaries of Public Television

April 7th, 2009

from: Neal Shapiro, President & CEO, WNET.org


Terrel Cass, January 2009

Terrel Cass has just announced he is leaving his post as President and General Manager of public television station WLIW21 after 20 years on the job. That got me to thinking about the many passionate men and women who – like Terrel – have dedicated themselves to the mission and potential of public broadcasting.

During his long career, Terrel created some completely new kinds of programming for public media. I think of the Visions series that WLIW21 has turned into such a successful franchise. (more…)

Update: The NY State Budget and Public TV

April 6th, 2009

from: Neal Shapiro, President & CEO, WNET.org

The New York State budget for 2009-2010 is now officially adopted and signed into law. While the new budget still contains a reduction in funding for public broadcasting, it is a much smaller cut than originally proposed – 20 percent instead of 50 percent.

Your emails and phone calls to New York legislators and to Governor Paterson had a tremendous impact. Indeed, more than 15,000 emails alone were sent on behalf of public broadcasting.

Your voice and the voices of thousands of others were not only heard, but you were listened to by our lawmakers!

Thank you.