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Jun 8, 2016 7:25 EDT

“Citizen Filmmakers” – It’s time to take THE TERRITORY, the longest running showcase of independent film on PBS, to the next level. Before the internet, this show was one of the only places where independent short, experimental, documentary and narrative films could be seen by the public.

iCrowdNewswire - Jun 8, 2016



by SWAMPfilm


It’s time to take THE TERRITORY, the longest running showcase of independent film on PBS, to the next level.


About this project

THE TERRITORY is on a mission and we need you. Since 1977, we’ve broadcast 35 seasons of short films as a space for filmmakers from all over the world to innovate, experiment and create new work. 

We’re out to revitalize and expand THE TERRITORY so that we can increase support to the filmmakers involved and open the show up to a whole new generation of artists and audiences.

We need your help. 

In 1977, filmmaker James Blue envisioned a world where anyone could make films. He would come to call these artists “Citizen Filmmakers.” He created an outlet where these films could be seen by a wide audience through the PBS series, THE TERRITORY. Before the internet, this show was one of the only places where independent short, experimental, documentary and narrative films could be seen by the public.

Now entering its 36th season, THE TERRITORY includes contemporary films (and, occasionally, iconic historical work) in all genres—documentary, narrative, animation, and experimental.


THE TERRITORY has expanded the reach of experimental filmmakers, provided a platform for new work, and offered scholarship and mentorship to beginning artists, many of whom received their first funding or first exposure through the show and its support.

Here are just a few of the directors who have shared their work through THE TERRITORY and SWAMP: 

Robert Rodriguez • Gus Van Sant • Jane Campion • Kat Candler • Kelly Sears • Jason Kovascev & Matt Mamula • Anne Silverstein • Darius Clark Monroe • Jason Mann • David Lowery • Jeremy Robbins • Julio Ramos • Soham Metha • Kelley Baker • Raquel Chapa • Steve Mims • Chris Eska • Bryan Poyser • Terrence Nance • Marek Dojs • Mary Magsamen

For 39 years, Southwest Alternate Media Project (SWAMP) has been a major force in independent film and continues to promote the creation and appreciation of film, video, and new media as art forms of a multicultural community.


This legacy is important and as we premiere Season 36 this July. It’s time to take THE TERRITORY to the next level. We need your help.



Michelle Mower is an internationally acclaimed motion picture writer, director and producer. Her debut feature film “The Preacher’s Daughter,” starring Andrea Bowen (“Desperate Housewives”), has won numerous awards at film festivals around the world, including the European Independent Film Festival and Madrid International Film Festival. The movie premiered on Lifetime Movie Network (LMN) in August, 2012 and garnered the highest ratings on the network for the year. Since then, Michelle has written and directed two made-for-tv movies for Lifetime, including “The Preacher’s Mistress” and the “The Preacher’s Sin.” Michelle also produced the critically acclaimed independent feature “Dreamer” that premiered on NuvoTV in July 2014. Michelle is heavily involved in the film community in Texas. She has served on the boards of Texas Motion Picture Alliance (TXMPA) and Women In Film and Television (WiFT) and currently sits on the board of Southwest Alternate Media Project (SWAMP).

Ruth Villatoro is a veteran producer with more than 20 years experience creating commercials and documentaries. She has worked with many Fortune 500 companies and production studios to streamline their productions and staff. After years working under the studio system, she formed Toros Film in order to tell the stories that mattered most to her. Focusing on human rights and social justice issues, her journalistic drive has taken her from the dangerous slums of Africa to the human trafficking compounds in the United States. Named “best Houston documentary” by the Houston Press, her film “The Cantinera” has been recognized through organizations such as the National Association of Latin Independent Producers and Youth for Human Rights. It continues to screen in universities, awareness events and fundraising efforts while raising thousands of dollars for organizations fighting against human trafficking.

In 1977, through the vision of the internationally acclaimed filmmaker and educator James Blue, with founding director Ed Hugetz and initial financial support of Houston philanthropists John and Dominique de Menil, SWAMP became the first Texas independent nonprofit organization for the “citizen filmmaker.”

Over the course of its history, SWAMP recognized and supported the work of such noted filmmakers as Richard Linklater, Robert Rodriguez and Jane Campion, and helped Texas filmmakers receive over $2 million for their non-commercial films in the last 13 years alone.

Today, SWAMP offers aspiring filmmakers of all ages professional development workshops, after-school programs, summer film classes, special screenings, fiscal sponsorship, THE TERRITORY (our Texas PBS broadcast television series), grant opportunities, collaborative events, and much more in our mission to promote the creation and appreciation of film and new media as art forms of a diverse, multicultural community.

SWAMP’s educational programs and screenings, directly benefit an average of some 2800 filmmakers and film-lovers annually. We depend on partial funding from The City of Houston through the Houston Arts Alliance, The Brown Foundation, Texas Commission on the Arts, National Endowment for the Arts, and the Houston Film Commission, and individual donors just like YOU!

You’ve been with us for 39 years and thousands of amazing independent short films. You’ve seen animation, innovation, compelling narrative and incredible talent blossom and grow as filmmakers get their start.  We thank you for watching THE TERRITORY, supporting film shorts and we thank you now for backing our project. You and your support is so important to us.

Thank you!!!!

Michelle and Ruth


"Red Pearl" by Wayne Slaten, airing this season.
“Red Pearl” by Wayne Slaten, airing this season.


Risks and challenges

Production of Season 36 is complete. The series will screen all over the state of Texas on PBS. We are confident that people will want to bring these innovative film shorts to a national and online audience. That being said, we cannot guarantee a national or online distribution plan. We have worked tirelessly on this project for many years and are committed to supporting the world’s most talented and creative filmmakers and to share their work with the world through our long lived and deeply loved television program.

Contact Information:


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