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KPBS Explore Winners Announced

Two independently produced projects featuring San Diego’s unique people and places to air in spring 2014

KPBS Contact

Claudine Casillas (619) 594-4266

— The winners of the 2014 KPBS Explore project will showcase local animals and images when the TV programs debut in 2014. The two new programs that have been green lighted for production are SnapShot and Animal R&R.

Both films are in the documentary style and are independently produced exclusively for KPBS by local experts and accomplished filmmakers. The films highlight the people, places, and stories unique to the San Diego region, allowing viewers to experience new and sometimes surprising stories along the way. KPBS received 32 submissions for the 2013-2014 Explore San Diego Project.

"This is the second year that we’ve conducted the KPBS Explore Project,” said KPBS Director of Programming John Decker. “This year, we saw an improvement in the overall quality of the submissions. It’s clear that there is a desire for thoughtful local television programs and interesting storytelling. Here at KPBS, we’re proud to be able to share these programs with our audience."

Photo caption: Tim Mantoani self portrait through the lens of a rare 20x24 view camera

Photo credit: Provided by Tim Mantoani

Tim Mantoani self portrait through the lens of a rare 20x24 view camera


Demonstrating that a picture is worth a thousand words, is SnapShot. The six part series, by the production team of Janet Nielsen, Tim Mantoani and Chris Park, takes viewers on assignment with professional photographer Tim Mantoani. Each 30 minute episode is an opportunity to meet unique and eclectic San Diego personalities who offer insight into their experiences. Viewers will learn about ordinary San Diegans doing remarkable things, including a professional Mexican wrestler, an artist, a musician, and a surfboard shaper.

“Tim’s choices for his art will transport the viewer into the mind of a professional photographer,” said filmmaker Janet Nielsen. “We’ll get to see things in a new way, while exploring life through his lens.”

Beginning in May 2014, SnapShot will air over six weeks as part of KPBS’ Thursday night local lineup beginning at 8 p.m. with Ken Kramer’s About San Diego.

Animal R&R

In between the urban streets of San Diego and its preserved lands, there exists a variety of wildlife living in our ever-changing ecosystem. Narrated by San Diego’s own animal authority, Joan Embery, Animal R&R follows the stories of local wild animals that come into dramatic contact with people. The stories originate from Project Wildlife, a rescue center near Old Town that gives a second chance to injured, orphaned, and sick native wildlife. Trained caretakers rehabilitate the animals and release them back into the wild (hence the title Animal R&R). Along the way, local environmental and wildlife experts shed light on the animal’s changing environment, the circumstances of the injury, and its chances for survival upon release.

Photo caption: Baby raccoon or "kit" in the care of Project Wildlife rehabilitators.

Photo by Owen Bissell

Baby raccoon or "kit" in the care of Project Wildlife rehabilitators.

“Every animal featured on Animal R&R is a chance to explore San Diego. The county has an unmatched array of natural and human ecosystems, from canyons to shorelines, from city lofts to subdivisions,” said filmmaker Elliott Kennerson. “The program treads a shifting line between the human world and the zone where animals still run wild.”

Animal R&R will air as two one-hour specials in May 2014 as part of KPBS’ life and science programming on Wednesday nights. Animal R&R is on Facebook (, Twitter @AnimalRehabTV, and Instagram (AnimalRehabTV).

KPBS is happy to have new episodes from inaugural Explore winners, Savor San Diego and A Growing Passion. The programs will return to KPBS TV in January 2014, each with six new episodes. Together, the programs have reached a cumulative audience of more than 1 million viewers since their debut in May 2013.

"We're incredibly proud to continue working with Su-Mei Yu and Nan Sterman,” continued Decker. “They meet the demand for insightful, engaging content about our local community – how we’re different and how we’re the same. It’s what the KPBS Explore project is all about.”

KPBS serves our local communities with news and entertainment programming that respects our audience with inspiring, intelligent and enlightening content. KPBS will deliver this content via multiple outlets, including television, radio, and digital media and will adapt and remain relevant in a rapidly changing world.

KPBS values integrity, truth, transparency and lifelong learning. At KPBS we strive to engage with our citizens and showcase the unique neighborhoods and people that make our community thrive. And as a public service of San Diego State University, education is a core value – from our children’s programming to our local news coverage. KPBS is committed to being a reliable source for in-depth, thoughtful, and high quality content.

About Tim Mantoani (Host, Photographer for SnapShot)

A graduate of Brooks Institute of Photography, Tim Mantoani has owned a photography studio in San Diego for over 20 years. Mantoani’s credits include Sports Illustrated, Newsweek, and ESPN The Magazine, as well as ad campaigns for Coors, Coca-Cola, EA Sports and Oakley. Tim's personal project, Behind Photographs: Archiving Photographic Legends, features over 150 photographers; each holding one of their favorite or most iconic images. A major exhibition of this project is due to open in December at The Lumiere Brothers Center for Photography in Moscow.

About Janet Nielsen (Producer for SnapShot)

After attending Mount Holyoke College and Edinburgh University, Janet Nielsen worked as a producer for People Are Talking, a one hour live talk show for CBS San Francisco. Thereafter, Nielsen joined Lucasfilm where she worked on a variety of projects including: the Young Indiana Jones Chronicles, the Star Wars Restoration projects: A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi, and the prequels Episodes I and II. Her additional film credits include: Sleepy Hollow, Birthday Girl, The Man Who Cried, Band of Brothers, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Quills, The Four Feathers, Wall-E and many others at various points during pre-production and principle photography. She is currently a freelance producer, writer, and director.

About Chris Park (Cinematographer for SnapShot)

Growing up in Northern California and British Columbia, Park developed love for the outdoors quickly turned to documenting his experiences in nature on film. After attending SDSU, he worked for the Associated Press for 10 years as a sports and news photographer where he covered such events as Presidential visits, NFL Superbowls, MLB World Series, border conflicts, and countless stories about unique individuals in the international spotlight.

About Elliott Kennerson (Producer, Editor for Animal R&R)

Elliott Kennerson is the founder and owner of Boze Angeles Productions. Kennerson’s films have been screened to acclaim at the International Wildlife Film Festival, Element Film Festival, Estes Park Film Festival, Rural Route Film Festival, the Boston Institute of Contemporary Art, and on Montana PBS and KQED. He received his M.F.A. training in wildlife documentary at Montana State University's Science and Natural History Filmmaking program and holds a B.A. from Yale in Archaeology.

About Owen Bissell (Producer, Director of Photography for Animal R&R)

Owen Bissell is a wildlife cinematographer and documentary filmmaker based in San Francisco. His work has appeared on Animal Planet, PBS, and National Geographic. Most recently he shot for the upcoming National Geographic Wild series The Wild West and shot and produced the Animal Planet television show The Bear Whisperer. Bissell has an M.F.A. in Science and Natural History Filmmaking from Montana State University and a B.S. in Ecology from the University of California, San Diego.

About Joan Embery (Narrator for Animal R&R)

The former ambassador of the San Diego Zoo, Joan Embery has made numerous appearances on The Tonight Show, CBS This Morning, Mr. Rogers Neighborhood, Entertainment Tonight, and her own syndicated series Animal Express and Animals of Africa. Embery is a champion of environmental and conservation issues around the world and maintains a community equestrian facility with her husband Duane Pillsbury. Her non-profit foundation, The Embery Institute for Wildlife Conservation, connects people to wildlife and conservation issues, promoting awareness of the role each of us plays in ensuring a healthy environment.

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