PBS Docuseries Unveils POV Spark


POV, an award-winning PBS documentary series, has launched the interactive media strand POV Spark.

POV Spark’s aim is to provide access to emerging technologies and interactive projects to a broader audience. In its efforts to do so, POV Spark will produce and fund interactive projects for public media. It’s set to enter its first year with a trio of interactive productions and two field-building initiatives.

Among POV’s first three interactive productions is Changing Same: An American Pilgrimage, created by Michèle Stephenson, Joe Brewster and Yasmin Elayat. An immersive, room-scale virtual reality experience, Changing Same will enable the participant to travel through time and space to witness the connected historical experiences of racial injustice in the U.S. The project is a co-production from Rada Film Group and Scatter.

Created by Marc Serpa Francoeur and Robinder Uppal, Queen vs. Godfred is an interactive visual podcast that delves into incidents that occurred in 2013, when 26-year-old West African immigrant Godfred Addai-Nyamekye was the victim of police brutality in Calgary, Canada. The co-production from Lost Time Media, Big Cedar Films and the National Film Board of Canada will be available online in mobile, tablet and desktop formats.

The last of the interactive productions is Atomu, created by Shariffa Ali and Yetunde Dada. Through virtual reality, Atomu places the viewer at the center of a Kikuyu tribal myth that involves circling the Mugumo tree to transform from one gender to another.

POV Spark’s first field-building initiative, in partnership with the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture, is the African Interactive Art Residency. The program will give artists from Africa and its diaspora the opportunity to experiment with digital and emerging media.

A second field-building initiative devised by POV Spark includes the reboot of the POV Spark Labs incubator, which will pair designers and technologists with mentors. They will be guided through the development cycle of their interactive production, which will ultimately be considered for distribution via POV Spark.

Opeyemi Olukemi, executive producer of POV Spark and VP of interactive at American Documentary, said: We’re excited to announce our first batch of programs, merging the excitement of interactive media with the essence of public media. As nascent platforms continue to thrive it’s essential that public media not only asserts itself into this landscape, but leads with the same vision and quality that has made it synonymous with trust and editorial integrity. Public media used to be the place for new and groundbreaking work and POV Spark is returning to these roots.”