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 prioritizes support for projects produced for public television.

PROFILE: Independent Television Service (ITVS) “partners with filmmakers who bring untold stories to public broadcasting to make a difference in the world.” It funds and helps to present and promote award-winning documentaries and dramas on cable and public television stations, new media projects on the internet, and the Emmy Award-winning weekly series Independent Lens. Projects funded by ITVS often address the needs of underserved and underrepresented audiences. ITVS looks for programs that bring new audiences to public TV and "expand civic participation by bringing diverse voices into the public sphere."

Its main avenues of funding are:

Open Call – Grant seekers 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 offers funded projects to PBS and enters 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 is important for grant seekers’ to note that employees of commercial broadcast organizations or producers/directors at film studios do not qualify for ITVS funding. However, grant seekers who are a staff member and not a producer/director qualify for funding. Also, grant seekers 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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