The Move Into Local Programming
Written by Sharon Hainsfurther | Posted by: Anonymous
SH: What has the switch from national to local programming been like for you?
DiIanni: Even though I only moved across the street, this is an entirely new department with a different group of people and different challenges. The staff at NOVA and the staff here are both groups of talented and enthusiastic people, but a different situation. One difference is that there is actually more freedom in local programming. There are fewer resources, but because there arent the set expectations of being at the national level like NOVA, there is a lot more freedom to be experimental, take chances and give opportunities to young people. There is also the opportunity to move more quickly on projects even though we are working on a shoe string. At the local level, you learn to be more creative with the resources at hand rather than having to wait for a longer funding cycle.
SH: What prompted you to make this move?
DiIanni: I thought long and hard about the job opportunities both in and out of Boston. Along with my family, I had to assess my commitment to the greater Boston community. I am a community-minded person and I am very sincerely interested in programming that has a local community impact. NOVA was exciting, in fact it was thrilling, to be working for a national forum where 20 million people might see the program. But it can also feel abstract. I am excited about the opportunity to address local issues such as affordable housing, statewide policies, local elections and education. We have four successful, ongoing programs where there is the opportunity to do that. I am incredibly indebted to the senior staff on these programs who, also with my predecessor, Judy Stoia, deserve all the credit.
SH: How have these first few weeks of your new job been going?
DiIanni: I am incredibly lucky to be joining such a talented and creative group of senior staff who have done so much. My predecessor Judy Stoia gets credit for the remarkabke success of WGBHs local programming. The department was nominated for 35 local emmys this year. Judy and the staff here should get enormous credit.
SH: What is the relationship between local independent filmmakers and WGBH local programming right now?
DiIanni: There is no formal system. But I am personally committed to making opportunities for local independent filmmakers. People can contact me, or Joan OBrien, in writing. But they should know GBH has a summer series call View Point, which is Bostons equivalent to POV. Ron Bachman is the contact person for people with finished projects.
SH: Any words of wisdom or encouragement for local independent filmmakers?
DiIanni: There are so many role models, and the amount of talent and interesting diverse stories of success of local independents. There are people here who are interested in partnering with independents and providing internships for young people. There is talent to learn from, and there are wonderful resources like BFVF. I taught and took classes at BFVF myself in the past. And there are so many people here committed to making the films they care about, and Boston is a town that provides that context and role.