Jesse Kreitzer (MFA, 2015) Film Black Canaries Wins National Award

Monday, August 6, 2018 - 1:00pm
black canaries still--boy under a makeshift shelter

Jesse Kreitzer's dramatic short film Black Canaries was awarded the "Juried Prize" in the 7th Annual PBS Online Film Festival, a national competition of 25 films submitted by PBS affiliates across the country.  The jury was comprised of a distinguished panel of media producers and executives, including Simon Kilmurry, Executive Director of the International Documentary Association, and Pam Aguilar, Senior Director of PBS National Programming and Development.

 

The competition attracted over 1 million views over the two-week span and received over 60,000 votes--almost triple the amount from the previous year.  Black Canaries was viewed, liked and shared over 38K times across digital platforms.  

"Stark, imaginative and well-made, Black Canaries really brought you back to another world," said juror Eric Gulliver, Producer/Editor for American Experience.  "The sparse narration made the emptiness palpable. The film was the most cinematic of my choices."

The award is also an achievement for Vermont PBS, who sponsored the film in the competition.  “Jesse’s win is a testament to the amazing films and filmmakers in Vermont," said Eric Ford, Sr. Manager of Local Content for Vermont PBS. "We are honored to help in sharing his vision with a larger audience.”

Black Canaries, a 1900s coal-mining folktale inspired by Kreitzer's maternal ancestry, had its festival premiere in March 2016 and spent two years on the film festival circuit, where it received 16 awards and $25K in goods and services.  "I can't think of a better way to close out this chapter," said Jesse Kreitzer, writer, producer and director of Black Canaries.  "Thank you to everyone who watched, shared and voted for the film, and to the jury for this recognition.  I'm grateful, shocked, and oh-so-happy to bring this one back for the home team."

The 2018 PBS Online Film Festival jury was comprised of the following members:

  • Simon Kilmurry – International Documentary Association, Executive Director
  • Pam Aguilar – PBS National Programming and Development, Senior Director
  • Judith Vecchione – WGBH Educational Foundation, Executive Producer
  • Chloe Walters-Wallace – Firelight Media & Films, Documentary Lab Manager
  • Mike Sargent – Black Film Critics Circle, Founder
  • Adnaan Wassey – Digital Media Executive (formerly of POV)
  • Michelle Mizner – FRONTLINE, Producer & Editor
  • Eric Gulliver – American Experience, Producer

Information about Black Canaries can be found on the PBS website here, and the full Q&A with Kreitzer here.