Independent Television Service: Grants for Film

OVERVIEW: The ITVS core vision is to support a "dynamic field of independent media makers whose programs creatively engage audiences, expand cultural awareness and catalyze civic participation." The organization also strives to embrace "technical innovation to advance the production and distribution of independent media worldwide."

IP TAKE: ITVS is mainly focused on support for projects produced for public television.

PROFILE: Independent Television Service (ITVS) funds and helps present and promote award-winning documentaries and dramas on cable and public television stations, as well as new media projects on the internet and the Emmy Award-winning weekly series Independent Lens. ITVS funded projects aim to address the needs of typically underserved and underrepresented audiences. They are also on the lookout for programs that bring new audiences to public TV and "expand civic participation by bringing diverse voices into the public sphere." Their main avenues of funding are:

Open Call – You have two chances for Open Call funding throughout the year. The funding provided under this initiative varies widely as it provides completion funds for selected non-fiction projects. ITVS will offer funded projects to PBS and enter into a license agreement for exclusive domestic television rights.

The Diversity Development Fund – This initiative provides up to $15,000 in funding for non-fiction projects that have not yet entered into the production phase. Applicants must identify as people of color in order to qualify.

Digital Open Call - This fund provides up to $30,000 for the development of digital series on any subject (fiction or non-fiction) that are not yet in production. ITVS retains the option for US distribution rights for such series for up to 90 days.

ITVS focuses all of its funding efforts on small, independent filmmakers and producers. It's important to note that if you work for a commercial broadcast organization or film studio as producer/director and are considered a regular employee of that company, you don't qualify for ITVS funding. However, if you're simply a member of the staff and not a producer/director, you can qualify for funding. Also, you need demonstrated experience in television or film production in order to be considered for any of these initiatives.

Take a look at some of the past funded projects from ITVS to get a good sense of what they support.

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