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  • 11/11/09

    ITVS and P.O.V. Announce the Launch of Online Resource for Honoring Returning American Troops in Conjunction with Veteran’s Day Premiere of The Way We Get By

    The Returning Home Project Website Recognizes Services and Sacrifices of All American Soldiers throughout the Years

    (San Francisco, CA)—The Independent Television Service (ITVS) and the PBS’s award–winning series POV announce the launch of the I>Returning Home Projectwebsite (www.returninghomeproject.com), an online interactive resource inspired by the ITVS-funded program THE WAY WE GET BY. In the award-winning documentary, filmmakers Aron Gaudet and Gita Pullapilly follow three senior citizens who have made history by greeting nearly one million U.S. troops at a tiny airport in Bangor, Maine. The Returning Home Project is an offshoot of the film, which allows family and friends to, in effect, become troop greeters themselves, by sending encouraging messages through user-generated content and virtual care packages. The site will launch on Veteran’s Day, November 11, 2009, in concurrence with the POV premiere of THE WAY WE GET BY on PBS.

    Unlike the majority of the military-themed sites currently available, the Returning Home Project sets politics aside and focuses on ensuring that American soldiers—both newly returned and those whose service ended many years ago—are not forgotten. Comprised of three components, the Mosaic Of Support, The Vigil Room and the Virtual Care Package, users can share their stories and put a human face on the headlines and statistics.

    Phase one, the Mosaic of Support, allows users to upload videos, images and audio to an interactive moving wall, offering support and appreciation for veterans and active duty troops. As visitors add their content the wall grows, with each image shifting and moving, revealing the countless lives changed by the complex challenges of living a military lifestyle. Phase two, launching in January 2010, is called the Vigil Room; where visitors can learn about soldiers killed in action, in any war, and military families can share stories about their loved ones—whether it was 60 years ago or yesterday. Finally, phase three, the Virtual Care Package, allows friends and family to communicate their messages of support directly with soldiers, whether they are currently serving in Iraq or Afghanistan, or are a veteran from any war who has returned home, but is still in need of support. Users send personalized virtual packages—with images, video, text and audio messages—directly to a service member. Gift cards are also available for the purchase of physical and digital products.

    Visitors can sign up now for an email alert when the Returning Home site goes live at http://www.returninghomeproject.org/. A preview site is available for press upon request.

    The day following broadcast, THE WAY WE GET BY documentary will be available online, in its entirety, from Thursday, November 12, 2009 to December 12, 2009 at www.pbs.org/pov. To view the trailer and to obtain more information, visit www.pbs.org/pov/pressroom and thewaywegetbymovie.com. For more information on partner organizations, visit: uso.org, operationhomefront.net, serve.gov and handsonnetwork.org.

    The Returning Home Project was developed by filmmakers Aron Gaudet and Gita Pullapilly with the Bluehouse Group, and through the Bay Area Video Coalition’s (BAVC) program Producers Institute for New Media Technologies.

    THE WAY WE GET BY is a coproduction of Dungby Productions, the Independent Television Service (ITVS) and American Documentary, Inc. | POV, WGBH, Maine Public Broadcasting Network (MPBN), with funding provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB).

    About Dungby Productions Dungby Productions, Inc. is a film and television production company founded by Aron Gaudet and Gita Pullapilly. This award-winning production company has produced work for the Red Sox, Bruins, and American Cancer Society, along with standalone programs and films for theaters and broadcasters, including PBS.

    About Bluehouse Group Bluehouse Group is an interactive agency that provides strategic consulting, design and development so that organizations can properly engage their audiences and attain their full potential on the Web. Since 1998, Bluehouse Group has combined creativity, technical expertise and marketing smarts to provide online and offline solutions, optimized for the unique audience of each client.

    About BAVC Producers Institute for New Media Technologies Funded by generous lead support from the MacArthur Foundation and additional support from the Nathan Cummings Foundation, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, and industry partners, the Bay Area Video Coalition (BAVC) Producers Institute for New Media Technologies is a ten-day residency for eight international creative teams with a shared goal of developing socially relevant, story-driven interactive media projects and tools for social change utilizing emerging digital technologies.

    About ITVS Independent Television Service (ITVS) funds and presents award-winning documentaries and dramas on public television, innovative new media projects on the Web and the Emmy® Award-winning weekly series Independent Lens on PBS. ITVS was created by media activists, citizens and politicians seeking to foster plurality and diversity in public television. ITVS was established by a historic mandate of Congress to champion independently produced programs that take creative risks, spark public dialogue and serve underserved audiences. Since its inception in 1991, ITVS programs have revitalized the relationship between the public and public television. More information about ITVS is available at www.itvs.org. ITVS is funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, a private corporation funded by the American people.

    About POV Produced by American Documentary, Inc. and now in its 22nd season on PBS, the award-winning POV series is the longest-running showcase on American television to feature the work of today’s best independent documentary filmmakers. Airing June through September, with primetime specials during the year, POV has brought more than 275 acclaimed documentaries to millions nationwide and has a Webby Award-winning online series, POV's Borders. Since 1988, POV has pioneered the art of presentation and outreach using independent nonfiction media to build new communities in conversation about today's most pressing social issues. More information is available at www.pbs.org/pov.

    Contact: Erica Minehan, ITVS erica_minehan@itvs.org 415-356-8383 X 254

    Voleine Amilcar, ITVS Voleine_amilcar@itvs.org 415-356-8383 X 244