What is LPB’s Public Media Content Fund?
The Public Media Content Fund (PMCF) is an open invitation to independent producers to submit proposals for documentaries and limited series that meet LPB’s Content Priorities and are appropriate for public television and/or one of its platforms.
Projects applying to the PMCF can be in the genres of the arts, history, science, biography, health, personal storytelling, and mixed genre. We are particularly interested in cultural and arts documentaries to balance submissions to the Current Issues Fund. Projects should present a range of subjects, issues and viewpoints that complement and challenge existing public media offerings. Projects should integrate strong story-telling techniques that give voice and provide a lens to the diverse Latino community. While projects can take creative risks and reflect personal or individual experience, they must ultimately appeal to a national U.S. audience.
- An independent producer or a production entity (i.e. a partnership or organization owned by the individual producer or producers), creating programs on the Latino experience operating independently from a film studio, commercial broadcast or cable entity.
- Applicants are strongly recommended to have a Latino/a in a director and/or producer role.
- Applicant must retain the copyright, artistic, budgetary and editorial control over the proposed project.
- Applicants applying to the PMCF are not eligible to apply to the CIF with the same or different project.
- Applicants must agree to create only one version of the documentary. A re-edited version of the LPB funded program cannot be re-packaged for another network.
- Applicants must be at least 18 years of age, be citizens or legal residents of the United States or its territories, and have previous film or television experience demonstrated by detailed personnel bios or resumes.
- Applicants are only allowed to submit one application for a project per review period.
- First time, full-length media makers that move forward to phase two will be required to submit a video sample of a shorter finished work that demonstrates your ability to tell a story using the visual medium.
- All funding requests must be submitted in accordance with LPB’s guidelines.
- Programs/films previously submitted and declined by LPB with no substantial change to the proposal
- Thesis projects or student films
- Public television stations
- Producers or production entities that are foreign based, owned or controlled
- Industrial, promotional or advocacy projects
- Projects for which the exclusive domestic television broadcast rights are not available
- Projects with a primarily commercial interest
- Projects whose content or ideas are too similar to previously LPB funded programs in production
- Current signatories of LPB contracts who have not completed delivery
- Current signatories re-applying for the same type of funding originally awarded
- Employees of CPB, PBS, APT and NETA
LPB is primarily interested in funding projects at the production and post-production stage. Requests for research and development (R&D) are not a priority at this time LPB funding ranges for each category as follows:
Research and Development $20,000
Research and Development: Funding to fully develop storylines, identify engaging characters, talent and complete a production proposal and budget. Eligible activities include: (i) research; (ii) clearance of life story rights or other rights necessary to initiate production; (iii) development of a script or treatment, including the hiring of writers; (iv) preliminary filming, if necessary, prior to the commencement of principle photography; (v) completion of a production proposal, budget and sample reel.
Production $25,000 – $100,000
Production: Funding to film and produce a program. Eligible activities include: (i) principle photography (including all production activities, hiring of crew, talent, clearance of rights for public media use; (ii) post-production.
Post-Production $25,000 – $100,000
Post-Production: Funding to complete a program already in progress. Eligible activities include: (i) post-production (including editing and completion); (ii) clearance of rights required for public media distribution.
Funding Contract Terms
LPB receives funds from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) under an agreement that requires LPB to include certain mandatory terms and conditions in its production agreements. LPB also imposes certain of its own requirements on use of its funding. If your project is approved, in exchange for receiving funding from LPB, you will be required to grant certain rights to LPB, including exclusive domestic public television distribution rights (usually six public television releases over four years), and for digital media programming, exclusive distribution via LPB and/or public broadcasting websites and social media. LPB will have the right to cablecast on a noncommercial, sustaining basis on cable channels programmed by PBS, and will have certain other distribution rights in connection with use of the program in the education and public television marketplace (including school use of an off-air recording for one year from the date of public television broadcast). LPB may also require certain additional rights. The program will be subject to holdbacks (restrictions on distribution) in Canada. LPB will be entitled to a share of net revenues from all subsidiary and ancillary uses of the program based on LPB’s total financial contribution to the project for a period of fifteen years from completion. In addition, the production agreement will include mandatory requirements regarding record-retention and reporting obligations, objectivity and balance standards, and other terms and conditions on the use of LPB funds for the project. The producer will complete the project in accordance with a project description, budget and delivery schedule. If a producer fails to comply with the terms and conditions of the production agreement, LPB may require the producer to return funds provided for the project. Producers will also be required to deobligate any portion of funding contemplated under an agreement which has not been spent or paid out by LPB to a Producer within four (4) years from the end of the fiscal year in which the Production Agreement is entered into with Producer.
Proposals submitted to the PMCF go through a two-phase review process. In phase one, each submission is reviewed internally and sent out to professionals in the field for initial evaluation and recommendations. In phase two, projects recommended to move forward are reviewed by a panel comprised of journalists, programmers, independent filmmakers, academics and representatives from national funding organizations. If a project is selected for phase two, the applicant will be allowed to submit any updates to the project before it goes to the final evaluation committee. Final selections are announced 4-5 months after the deadline.
LPB will send out proposals for evaluation using the following criteria:
- The inclusion of Latinos in the key production roles.
- Ability to shed light on the Latino American experience.
- Project concept is well conceived and creatively structured to engage a national broadcast audience.
- The extent to which the treatment clearly describes the visuals and style and demonstrates engaging storytelling techniques.
- The extent to which the proposal takes into account the television medium, and the needs and interests of the program’s target audience.
- The producer’s ability to successfully complete the program on budget and on schedule, given the experience of the producer and proposed production team.
- Soundness of the production and fund-raising plans.
- Overall, the extent to which the project fulfills the LPB mission and programming goals.
Sample tapes are not required for review during the first phase of this process. However, applicants have the option to include a link to sample work in question number 9 of the application summary. If your project moves forward to the second phase, you will be required to submit a sample tape of your current work, which is preferable; previous work will only be accepted for projects in development. Current work may be submitted as a work in progress. We recommend submitting a sample that is no longer than 5-minutes. The sample can be a full-length rough cut (with suggested segment to view), trailer, clips, scene selects, etc. The sample tape will need to be sent as a digital video file in .mov, .mp4, or .wmv, with Quicktime (.mov) preferred.
Additional Budget Items
Regardless of LPB’s contribution to the overall budget, or your determination of how LPB’s monies would be allocated to any given line items within the budget, all applicants must include a comprehensive budget which covers the costs of complete broadcast deliverables, including:
- Closed captioning.
- General liability and errors and omissions insurance.
- One broadcast master, HD file or the latest acceptable format outlined in the PBS Producer’s Handbook.
- Licensing or otherwise clearing all necessary rights for exclusive domestic public television and its platforms, and for educational rights and all other rights required by the production agreement, including but not limited to music performances, archival, and news footage.
- Photography services for promotional black and white stills and color transparencies.
- Fiscal sponsorship fees (not to exceed 10% of total budget) if applicable.