The Carolinas’ two statewide
public television networks, UNC-TV and SCETV, have partnered with the Southern
Documentary Fund (SDF) to create an exciting showcase for independently
produced documentary films about the American South.
Reel South is an anthology documentary series highlighting the best
non-fiction storytelling from the region. Distributed to public television
stations nationally, the series brings diverse Southern voices, topics, and points
of view to millions of viewers.
Reel South films must be about the American South – focusing on the
people and issues in our region. The films must be primarily shot in the South,
and preferably made by talented, independent, documentary filmmakers living and
The series will seek films that
cover a broad range of topics and filmmaking styles: from public affairs or social
issues, to more personal or experimental works. Particular topics of interest
include social justice, the economy, the environment, civil rights, history, and the arts/culture—issues
explored through the lives of ordinary and extraordinary Southerners. In terms
of style and format, narrated and non-narrated films will be considered along
with first person or point of view projects, observational films, and news
Reel South will look for well-crafted stories featuring compelling
characters—stories and people that are provocative, passionate, and
unforgettable. Not only do we want well-told stories, we are interested in
artfully made films, works that are visually rich and deftly edited.
Non-fiction: Only documentary
films will be considered. No narrative films, docudramas, or performance
Independents only: Filmmakers
must have artistic, editorial, and budgetary control of their projects, and own
Completed or nearly completed
works: Submitted works must be completed films, fine cuts, advanced rough cuts,
or festival versions. Please note that filmmakers must be willing to commit to
on-lining, packaging, and broadcasting their films within 6 months of being
accepted to the series.
Rights and Releases: Submitted
works must have signed appearance releases for all persons appearing in the
film before applying to the series. Additionally, all music, photos, and
acquired footage must be licensed before applying. Proof of releases and
licenses may be required before the panel will consider the film.
Length: Submitted rough cuts and
fine cuts should be as close to PBS standard half hour and hour lengths as possible, festival versions may run
slightly longer. If a film is selected for the series, filmmakers will be
required to cut their projects to a PBS half hour (approximately 25 minutes) or hour (approximately 55 minutes) prior to broadcast.
Editorial and Funding Practices: All projects must comply with PBS' editorial and funding guidelines found here: http://www.pbs.org/about/producing-pbs/
Selected films will receive a license fee (funding permitting), series packaging, captioning, mastering, inclusion on the series website,
promotion, and errors and omissions insurance coverage.
Filmmakers are required to grant Reel South exclusive US public television broadcast rights. The
series also requires non-exclusive promotional and web and social media rights to
promote the films and include them on the series web site, as well as streaming rights for a minimum of 90 days. All third party
material included in the films (archival footage, newspaper or magazine
headlines/articles, music, photographs, etc) must be cleared for these same
rights. If a Reel South film is broadcast on any other US
public television station or acquired by national public television strands
and/or distributors, UNC-TV and SCETV must be credited as the presenting
The Season 3 submission window is from March 1 -- April 1, 2017. Final selections will be made in May and June by the series selection panel, which will include the co-producers at SCETV,
UNC-TV and SDF and invited public TV professionals. Post production will take place in September, with
the packaged series available in early 2018 for broadcast.