Extra: Local Now-PBS Digital Studios deal; Knowledge Network taps doc producer

Loverin, who comes from the Tlingit and Tahltan Nations, will take on the role of producer, originals documentaries starting April 1.
March 3, 2022

Local Now signs deal for PBS Digital Studios content

Allen Media Group has announced that its free streaming platform, Local Now, has signed an agreement with PBS to offer viewers curated content from PBS Digital Studios, starting Thursday (March 3).

PBS Digital Studios carries original series and short-form content that explore science, arts, culture and more. Its content averages over 29 million users and 50 million views on YouTube each month.

“PBS has been an excellent staple in American households for decades, so we are excited, as well as honored, to have PBS Digital Studios as part of the Local Now stellar lineup,” said Byron Allen, founder, chairman and CEO of Local Now parent company Allen Media Group, in a news release. “This partnership furthers our core mission of delivering premium, free content that entertains, educates and enriches our viewers and their families.”

“PBS Digital Studios strives to meet audiences wherever they are watching online video,” added Maribel Lopez, head of PBS Digital Studios. “We are pleased to bring some of our most entertaining and educational series to Local Now.”

Knowledge Network hires documentary producer

British Columbia’s public broadcaster Knowledge Network has appointed filmmaker Gordon Loverin as producer, original documentaries.

Loverin (pictured), who will begin the role on April 1, comes from the Tlingit and Tahltan Nations in northwestern B.C., and has more than a decade of documentary filmmaking experience.

As part of the Knowledge Network programming team, Loverin will help oversee the creation of original B.C. documentaries and expand the pubcaster’s relationships with local filmmakers, according to a statement from Knowledge Network president and CEO Rudy Buttignol.

Loverin’s work includes the doc shorts Beyond Human Power, which depicts a new generation of Indigenous dancers, and Es Kime Ani, which shows the Tahltan Nation’s four-day ceremony to welcome residential school survivors. He has also worked as an associate producer and journalist for CBC, including for its flagship news program The National.

“Families from all over the world have made this province their home. They have added their unique cultural lens beside the Indigenous Peoples that have been here before contact,” said Loverin in a statement. “It’s an honor to join Knowledge to meet those diverse voices and how they address the world around them through their documentary proposals. I am honored and humbled to have been chosen by Knowledge to help develop Indigenous and other new potential productions that will reflect the cultural mosaic we call British Columbia.”

Knowledge Network recently launched a three-year diversity, equity and inclusion action plan after an independent audit revealed the majority of its commissioning and licensing dollars went to non-diverse producers. Among the findings were that the pubcaster had not given any commissioning dollars to Indigenous-led production companies between 2014 and 2021.

ZDF to coproduce, distribute wildlife doc Whales Off Our Coasts

German global distributor ZDF Enterprises is coproducing and distributing a new wildlife documentary, Whales Off Our Coasts, which is currently in production.

The 50-minute documentary is produced by the ZDF-affiliated prodco Doclights and NDR Naturfilm. Copro partners are NDR, rbb and ZDF Enterprises, which is also the global distributor for the project. Hamburg-based Doclights specializes in nature, history, science and factual entertainment genres, and is a joint venture between ZDF Enterprises and Studio Hamburg Produktion Gruppe.

The film focuses on what happens when whales get too close to the shore — a situation which often leads to them being placed in distress, with many dying — and marine biologist Florian Graner’s quest to find out why this happens.

“Top marine biologist and underwater cinematographer Florian Graner is the expert who will take viewers on a journey in this compelling documentary,” said Ralf Rueckauer, vice president of ZDFE.unscripted at ZDF Enterprises, in a release. “Whales Off Our Coasts will be a great addition to our extensive natural history catalogue.”

Photo by David Martin.

(With files from Kelly Townsend.)

About The Author
Andrew Jeffrey joined Realscreen in 2021 as its news editor. Here, he helps to oversee assignment, reporting and editing for Realscreen's daily newsletter. Prior to his work covering documentary and non-fiction film and TV, he worked as a reporter and associate producer for CBC Edmonton, and as a reporter for The Star Calgary, where he covered daily news on beats such as local and provincial politics, health care and harm reduction, sports and education. His work has appeared in other Canadian news outlets such as TVO, the Edmonton Journal and Avenue Magazine.