Ends in 6 days, 1 hour

The Carolinas’ two statewide public television networks, UNC-TV and SCETV have created an exciting showcase for independently produced documentary films about the American South. 

Reel South is an anthology documentary series highlighting the best non-fiction storytelling from the region. Distributed to public television stations nationally, the series brings diverse Southern voices, topics, and points of view to millions of viewers.

Selection Criteria

Reel South films must be about the American South – focusing on the people and issues in our region. The films must be primarily shot in the South, and preferably made by talented, independent, documentary filmmakers living and working here. 

The series will seek films that cover a broad range of topics and filmmaking styles: from public affairs or social issues, to more personal or experimental works. Particular topics of interest include social justice, the economy, the environment, civil rights, history, and the arts/culture—issues explored through the lives of ordinary and extraordinary Southerners. In terms of style and format, narrated and non-narrated films will be considered along with first person or point of view projects, observational films, and news documentaries. 

Reel South will look for well-crafted stories featuring compelling characters—stories and people that are provocative, passionate, and unforgettable. Not only do we want well-told stories, we are interested in artfully made films, works that are visually rich and deftly edited. 


Non-fiction: Only documentary films will be considered. No narrative films, docudramas, or performance pieces. 

Independents only: Filmmakers must have artistic, editorial, and budgetary control of their projects, and own the copyright. 

Completed or nearly completed works: Submitted works must be completed films, fine cuts, advanced rough cuts, or festival versions. Please note that filmmakers must be willing to commit to on-lining, packaging, and broadcasting their films within 6 months of being accepted to the series. 

Rights and Releases: Submitted works must have signed appearance releases for all persons appearing in the film before applying to the series. Additionally, all music, photos, and acquired footage must be licensed before applying. Proof of releases and licenses may be required before the panel will consider the film. 

Length: Submitted rough cuts and fine cuts should be as close to PBS standard half hour and hour lengths as possible, festival versions may run slightly longer. If a film is selected for the series, filmmakers will be required to cut their projects to a PBS half hour (approximately 25 minutes) or hour (approximately 55 minutes) prior to broadcast. 

Editorial and Funding Practices: All projects must comply with PBS' editorial and funding guidelines found here: http://www.pbs.org/about/producing-pbs/ 


Selected films will receive a license fee (funding permitting), series packaging, captioning, mastering, inclusion on the series website, promotion, and errors and omissions insurance coverage.


Filmmakers are required to grant Reel South exclusive US public television broadcast rights. The series also requires non-exclusive promotional and web and social media rights to promote the films and include them on the series web site, as well as streaming rights for a minimum of 90 days. All third party material included in the films (archival footage, newspaper or magazine headlines/articles, music, photographs, etc) must be cleared for these same rights. If a Reel South film is broadcast on any other US public television station or acquired by national public television strands and/or distributors, UNC-TV and SCETV must be credited as the presenting stations. 

Submission Process

The Season 3 submission window is open from March 1 -- July 1, 2017. Final selections will be made in July by the series selection panel, which will include the co-producers at SCETV and UNC-TV plus invited public TV professionals. Post production will take place in Fall/Winter 2017, with the packaged series available in Spring 2018 for broadcast. 

Sign up form

Please enter a valid email address.

Your password must be at least 6 characters.