POV’s Snapchat Films series will run on the Snapchat Discover channel of NowThis Media. First up is Lizzie Jacobs’ “We’ll Still Be Here” on Sunday, Oct. 23, about dominoes players keeping their beloved game alive while the neighborhood changes around them; followed by “The Way It Should Be” on Oct. 30, a New York City-set story of love and friendship as told by queer women of color by Terence Nance and Chanelle Aponte Pearson.
The films will each be available exclusively on the NowThis channel in Snapchat’s Discover section for a 24-hour window, available only on the Snapchat mobile app. Both documentaries have a full run-time of about six minutes, although users must swipe down on the top snaps to watch the complete films.
“We are committed to making films in this format. These are exactly how we want them to live,” said POV Digital executive producer Adnaan Wasey.
POV, produced by American Documentary Inc., received grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and PBS for the two Snapchat films. No ads will run in “We’ll Still Be Here” and “The Way It Should Be”; the films will appear in the second half of the regular NowThis News edition, which does carry ads. Snap, the parent company of Snapchat, isreportedly seeking to renegotiate content deals with media partners to pay them a flat up-front fee rather than share ad revenue.
Snapchat’s 150 million-plus daily active users was appealing to POV to reach a new audience. In addition to that, the communications platform offers interesting new ways to tell stories, Wasey said. “We’re excited to not only be able to show the filmmaking community what’s possible, but also to do it alongside teams of ambitious independent filmmakers with a history of breaking new ground,” he said.
Added Sarah Frank, editor of NowThis, “Providing young storytellers a direct path to an audience is something that emerging platforms like Snapchat can uniquely do.” NowThis, whose investors include Lerer Hippeau Ventures and Axel Spring, is set to merge with Thrillist Media Group, the Dodo and Discovery Communications’ Seeker and SourceFed Studios in a new venture, Group Nine Media.
Jacobs, who directed “We’ll Still Be Here,” is an award-winning writer and producer who spent nearly a decade at StoryCorps, the nonprofit oral history project. “The Way It Should Be” comes from Nance, a performance artist, filmmaker, musician, photographer and faculty member of the film program at Vermont College of Fine Arts, and Pearson, COO of Brooklyn-based film production company MVMT who won a grant last year from the IFP Gotham Awards for her narrative series “195 Lewis.” Pearson previously worked with Nance on his feature film “An Oversimplification of Her Beauty.”
Founded in 1988, POV has pioneered digital initiatives to expand its nonfiction storytelling mandate. It created PBS’s first program website and has incubated dozens of digital projects, including an interactive newsletter about race in America with the New York Times. POV also is streaming more than 100 independent documentary films as part of its 2016 digital season.
Watch a teaser trailer for POV’s documentaries on Snapchat Discover: