INPUT, the INternational PUblic Television conference, completes its week-long exhibition of film screenings and panels at the San Francisco Hilton this evening before kicking off INPUT2006 - Taiwan. While talk of right-wing politicization of the US Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) took on a hushed hallway buzz, the international producers shared solutions to this problem and other primetime audience challenges.
Battling execs like CPB chairman Kenneth Tomlinson may be business as public broadcasting usual. Gripes of local broadcasting stations being too politically correct, not taking enough risks or having the balls to show anything racier than Lawrence Welk pervaded conversations I had with producers from across the country and world. KQED, often accused of being a poorly-run operation, is in good company it seems.
Meanwhile, there's still time to view today's screenings each followed by Q&As with film producers. Beginning at 9:00AM, Brazil's "Carrapateira is No Longer Jealous of Apollo 11" will be shown as will several other documentaries such as US-produced "Power Trip". In the afternoon session, Sweden's "The Empire" is one of four films being showcased. And any films from earlier in the week, such as my favorite "The Dali Dimension" about Salvador Dali's relationship with top scientists of the twentieth century, can be viewed at INPUT's private screening room on the fourth floor.
Conference attendees could be seen gathering around copies of Wednesday's NYTimes editorial, which was printed and taped outside of each session room with the urgently scrawled handwritten annotation "NYTimes editorial today (5/4/2005)." The editorial lambasted the politicization of CPB by its new chairman Kenneth Tomlinson.
The same day, praise Tomlinson's most direct target came from an unlikely source. The conservative-leaning newspaper Washington Times called newsmagazine NOW, formerly hosted by Bill Moyers, "one of the last outposts in prime time where viewers can see serious topics examined."
Politicization worries have not dominated the conference, however,
as some inventive programming content, film techniques, and resourceful
producing options were shared by co-commissioning editors.