OTV | Open Television is a platform for intersectional digital television that develops and supports the launch of indie series by Chicago-based Black, brown, differently abled, and queer artists. Fiscally sponsored by Northwestern University, OTV was founded in 2015 by Aymar Jean (A.J.) Christian, Ph.D., author of Open TV: Innovation Beyond Hollywood and the Rise of Web Television (NYU Press, 2018) and pioneer in the academic study of television and new media. OTV aims to revolutionize the way TV and the arts are developed through an artist-centered and community-based approach. In the last few years, OTV has released 41 pilots, shorts, and series that have received over 1 million plays on Vimeo alone.
To encourage sincere, authentic, and groundbreaking storytelling, OTV supports artists writing episodic series content with an understanding that critical viewers will be the people closest to them in experience, position, or locale. In early 2017, OTV enlisted seven writers to join a writers room for Hair Story, a collaborative, experimental pilot that included characters from each writer’s body of work. With support from Pop Culture Collaborative, OTV will revive the writers workshop in 2019 with a select group of writers to focus on script/story development, both original and adaptation, inspired by the narratives and ideas being developed by the pop culture for social change field. In addition, OTV will formalize their incubator, OTV Studio & Management, expanding their culture of mentorship and creating pipelines to Hollywood for artists whose stories explore relationships intersecting with gender, race, sexuality, ethnicity, class, religion, disability, and citizenship.
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“We are leveraging our opportunity with Pop Culture Collaborative to help artists expand their stories beyond the short-form episodes they have developed with OTV and build a strong foundation and a sustainable future for our organization. We are encouraging artists to think as big as we are so we can all attract the resources necessary to show the world the power of sincere and intersectional storytelling. Our program will allow us to work with our collaborators more closely and productively than ever before, refine our process, and engage a wider array of stakeholders for future growth.” – Aymar Jean Christian, Ph.D., Founder