The 2019 PBS Online Film Festival


Illinois Public Media is a proud partner in the 8th Annual PBS Online Film Festival, coming July 15-26, 2019!

Since its launch in 2012, this festival has showcased diverse films from member stations, producers, and public media partners. The PBS Online Film Festival is part of a multi-platform initiative to increase the reach and visibility of independent filmmakers, and to provide a showcase for diverse storytelling that both inspires and engages.

This year, Illinois Public Media is pleased to present two films from Chicago filmmaker Katie Prentiss Onsager of Small Forces to be featured among the festival’s 25 short-form independent films.

Illinois Public Media presents

Woman teaches two young girls how to knit

BT Lives in the Stitch

BT Lives in the Stitch: North Lawndale College Prep is a high school located on the south side of Chicago, in a neighborhood notable more for urban blight than quality education. Then, teacher Dorothea Tobin introduced the BT Lives in the Stitch program, creating a much needed after-school program as well as an avid knitting circle amongst an unlikely group of teens. View this film here


Woman stands next to a river in front of a bridge

Heroine of Hope

Heroine of Hope: Like cities and towns across the nation, Cincinnati, Ohio is struggling with an ever-growing opioid crisis. “Momma” Scarlet Hudson, a former corporate executive, takes to the city streets at night, building relationships with women caught in the interconnected systems of addiction and prostitution, offering them a healing home, unconditional love, and a chance for redemption. View this film here. 


Where to watch

The festival will run from July 15 – 26 and be available via PBS and Illinois Public Media/WILL-TV digital platforms, including As in previous years, films will also be available to stream on YouTube and Facebook.

How to vote

Starting July 15, you can watch, share, and vote for your favorites to win this year’s Most Popular Film Award. To view the official voting rules, click here. A panel of jurors will also select their favorite film as the Juried Prize Winner.

Host a Viewing Party

Invite friends and family to stream this year’s films with you! To download a handy Viewing Party Kit — with tips on how to throw a successful viewing party, including tasty summer recipes — click here.