What is ITVS's mission?

The Independent Television Service (ITVS) brings independently-produced, high-quality public broadcast and new media programs to local, national and international audiences. The independent producers who create ITVS programs take creative risks, tackle complex issues and express points of view seldom explored in the mass media. ITVS programs enrich the cultural landscape with the voices and visions of underrepresented communities, and reflect the interests and concerns of a diverse society. Learn more about the ITVS vision and statement of values.

How and when was ITVS created?

The Independent Television Service (ITVS) formed out of a decade-long struggle by independent media artists and community activists to support diverse, innovative and independent voices on public television. In 1988, Congress passed legislation directing the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) to negotiate with a national coalition of independent producer groups to establish ITVS. In 1991, ITVS opened its doors, funding its first wave of independently produced programs for public television.

Why is ITVS called a "service"?

A unique bridge between producers, public television and the public, ITVS provides a full cycle of services, combining funding, feedback, production management, distribution partnerships, marketing and publicity, community engagement, and digital strategies, supported by policy and market leadership that champions public interest media.

Who does ITVS serve?

ITVS serves three constituencies: the viewing public, the independent media community and the public television system. We expand viewers' horizons with adventurous and diverse programming. We support independent makers working in the public interest by providing them with funding and services to help them complete, deliver, broadcast, promote, and engage audiences around their programs. Finally, we serve the public television system by making available diverse programming created by independent producers.

How does ITVS promote its programming and engage audiences?

ITVS develops a strategic plan to champion each program on many different levels. Within the broadcasting system, we work closely with PBS series like Independent Lens, P.O.V. and others along with local public television affiliate stations to find the best broadcast venue and secure airdates (we also work with cable outlets for some internationally-produced programs). To support these broadcasts, we work across print, radio, television, online media, and social networks to win viewers and publicity for programs. To make programming relevant and vital to local communities, we develop engagement campaigns for selected programs through Indie Lens Pop-Up, tapping a network of field organizers who build long term partnerships between community-based organizations, local public television stations and independent producers around live events.

How can I find Indie Lens Pop-Up screenings near me?

To learn more about Indie Lens Pop-Up and see the schedule of upcoming events, go to the Engagement section of this site.

Who is eligible to apply to ITVS for funds?

ITVS has a variety of different funding opportunities, but all applicants must be 1) independent producers or independent entities producing television, film or video; 2) at least 18 years old, and 3) have some previous film or television production experience, usually as demonstrated by a required sample tape.

Where can I learn more about ITVS’s funding opportunities?

ITVS has several calls for proposals every year and has developed an FAQ for each of them. For filmmakers who are U.S. citizens or legal residents, these include Open Call, LINCS (a partnership with local public television stations), and the Diversity Development Fund. For citizens of countries other than the U.S., we have the International Call.

How does ITVS work to “reflect the interests and concerns of a diverse society” in its pool of applicants?

ITVS is dedicated to representing diverse voices on public television and constantly strives to reach minority filmmaking communities throughout the United States. We often partner with the Minority Consortia, five organizations that harness the creative talents and stories of minority communities, including African Americans, Native Americans, Latinos, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. Our efforts also include extensive outreach to regional and niche festivals where ITVS staff participate in workshops and serve on panels. The LINCS initiative, which pairs producers with local public television stations, has been particularly successful in soliciting work from a geographically diverse cross-section of the United States.

What is the difference between ITVS and ITVS International?

ITVS International is a part of ITVS dedicated to bringing global perspectives to the U.S. and U.S. independent programming to other countries. It is funded through the Global Perspectives Project, a public-private partnership supported by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and the U.S. State Department. While ITVS core funding from CPB is dedicated to serving U.S. producers only, ITVS International’s funding can support both international producers create work for the U.S. and U.S. public television work for export to television networks abroad. Learn more about ITVS International and the Global Perspectives Project.

I’m a filmmaker and would like to know about ITVS events in the field.

ITVS staff members attend film festivals, markets and conferences throughout the U.S. and around the world, serving on panels and pitch sessions and meeting one-on-one with filmmakers.

How can I, as a viewer or taxpayer, give feedback to ITVS?

We welcome your feedback about ITVS shows! On each film page, there is a "Comments" tab, where you can post your comments and read what others have to say. You are also welcome to write to ITVS at 651 Brannan St., Suite 410, San Francisco, CA 94107.

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