12 International Nonfiction Productions Receive Funding Through ITVS’s Global Perspective Project

Two-way Television Exchange Brings Documentaries From Other Nations to U.S. Audiences

Upcoming ITVS International Call Deadline is December 10, 2010

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(San Francisco, CA) — The Independent Television Service (ITVS), leading funder of U.S. independent television productions, announced that it has contracted with 12 international documentary projects from its 2010 International Call as part of the Global Perspective Project, a two-way television exchange that brings documentaries from other nations to U.S. audiences. The productions were selected through a competitive application process, which resulted in 489 submissions from 117 countries representing 75 languages. The submission deadline for projects to be considered for the 2011 ITVS International Call is December 10, 2010. More information on the funded projects and guidelines for application can be found online at www.itvs.org/funding/international. 

The newly selected films join the growing catalogue of international productions from around the world. This year’s selections provide extraordinary access and insight into the daily lives and struggles of people who live in Cambodia, Nicaragua, Iceland, Ethiopia, and Uganda among others. All 12 documentary projects are slated for eventual broadcast, including primetime slots on the Emmy® Award-winning PBS series Independent Lens, P.O.V., and the new PBS World series Global Voices. The programs will also be distributed on commercial outlets, including the Sundance Channel, the National Geographic Channel, and HBO — as well as online. 

“As the media landscape grows more complex — bringing new changes to how audiences consume entertainment — it is now more important than ever for ITVS’s Global Perspective Project to continue to support filmmakers willing to tell authentic, in-depth, and personal stories and bring unheard international points-of-view to U.S. audiences,” said Claire Aguilar, vice president of programming for ITVS. “We are very proud of the 2010 selections and the rare opportunity these films provide for us to understand our global community better.” 

Nearly 114 International documentary projects have been supported through ITVS International’s Global Perspectives Project and its International Media Development Fund since the launch of the International Call in 2005. In the coming months, ITVS seeks to support new projects through the next International Call for 2011, and continue its mission to enrich the American television experience by presenting unheard stories from around the world. 

"ITVS opens a lot of doors and gives a lot of clout to your film. It’s like a really good quality stamp you can stick on your film,” said Koen Suidgeest, director of Karla's Arrival, a newly funded project. “I already feel that just because of ITVS’s involvement, we’re being taken more seriously or operating on some level I couldn’t have dreamt of being on." 

ITVS International projects have garnered numerous awards and accolades, claiming top festival and industry awards around the world, including national Emmy® Award wins and Golden Globe and Oscar nominations. This past year Last Train Home, funded in 2009, was among the many productions that went on to win both domestic and international acclaim. Most recently, ITVS International-supported film, The English Surgeon, directed by Geoffrey Smith and co-produced by Rachel Wexler won an Emmy® for Outstanding Science and Technology Programming. 

The 12 newly funded projects from the 2010 International Call are as follows: 

The Boy Mir 
Directed by Phil Grabsky
The Boy Mir follows Mir — starting from age 8 and continuing for the next 10 years — in post 9/11 Afghanistan. A social document of life in this extraordinary country, the film reveals in a deeply moving and intimate fashion what has been happening in Afghanistan since the November 2001 fall of the Taliban. What difference has the input of America and its allies had on this country? Will Mir end up as a soldier or an opium farmer? If so, can this cycle ever really be changed? 

Champion Fabrice 
Directed by Olivier Meyrou
Fabrice Champion was an accomplished trapeze artist when a circus accident paralyzed him from the neck down. This is the story of how a young man — who is now tetraplegic — tries to regain his equilibrium. 

Comrade Duch 
Directed by Adrian Maben
This is story of a gifted Cambodian mathematics teacher and family man who was also responsible for the torture and murder of 14,000 people — and how he was brought to justice. 

Family Portrait in Black & White 
Directed by Julia Ivanova
One foster mother is raising 16 black orphans in Ukraine, a country where 99.9 percent of the population is white, and where race does matter. 

Karla's Arrival 
Directed by by Koen Suidgeest
Karla's Arrival follows 19-year old Sujeylin Aguilar and her baby Karla, who live as part of a group of street kids in a small park in Managua, Nicaragua, struggling through the first year of the child's life. 

Khadija's Daughters 
Directed by Deepa Dhanraj
Muslim women from a small town in southern India deliver justice in their own courts, posing a radical challenge to their traditional Muslim community and clergy. 

Last Days of the Arctic 
Directed by Magnus Vidar Sigurdsson
Ragner Axelsson is an Icelandic photographer who loves the extreme, capturing the human faces of those struggling with nature in its most extreme form and the vanishing lifestyles of the North. 

Left by the Ship 
Directed by Emma Rossi Landi and Alberto Vendemmiati
Four young adults born to Filipino mothers by U.S. servicemen battle against social stigma, family problems, and identity-related issues 18 years after the last U.S. base closed. 

Peace versus Justice 
Directed by Klaartje Quirijns
Peace versus Justice takes place in both Uganda and at The Hague, and tells the story of the miscommunication between two cultures and their different perceptions of justice. 

Putin's Kiss 
Directed by Lise Birk
Nashi, Russia’s #1 political youth organization, aims to produce a creative elite, one of whom is 20-year old Marsha. Until one day an innocent mistake… 

Town of Runners 
Directed by Jerry Rothwell
Town of Runners follows three young hopefuls for the London Olympics from the Ethiopian rural town of Bekoji, home to current Olympic and world champions Tirunesh Dibaba and Kenenisa Bekele. 

I Was Worth 50 Sheep 
Directed by Nima Sarvestani and Maryam Ebrahimi
Following a long practiced tradition in Afghanistan, 10-year-old Sabere was sold to a man in his fifties. For the next six years she was both slave and wife, miscarrying four times. Now aged 16, she is fighting for her freedom. 

More information about these new projects and all ITVS International programs can be found online at www.itvs.org/series/global-perspectives-collection. 

The Independent Television Service (ITVS) funds and presents award-winning documentaries and dramas on public television, innovative new media projects on the Web, and the Emmy® Award-winning weekly PBS series Independent Lens. ITVS was established by a historic mandate of Congress to champion independently produced programs that take creative risks, spark public dialogue, and reach underserved audiences. Since its inception in 1991, ITVS programs have revitalized the relationship between the public and public television, bringing TV audiences face-to-face with the lives and concerns of their fellow Americans. More information can be found at itvs.org. ITVS is funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, a private corporation funded by the American people. 

ITVS International promotes the exchange of compelling documentary films between the United States and other nations, going beyond stereotypes and headline news to provide television audiences around the world with new insight into the cultures and people who make up our global community. ITVS International Call enables independent producers from outside the United States to create documentaries for U.S. television. Through the Call, storytellers from other countries introduce U.S. audiences to their global neighbors, opening a window into unfamiliar lives, experiences, and perspectives from around the world. ITVS International Call seeks films in the production or post-production phase and encourages independent producers to submit their projects for consideration. For more information about guidelines, eligibility, and how to apply, please visit www.itvs.org/funding/international. The deadline to apply is December 10, 2010. ITVS International Call is an initiative of ITVS and funded by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the Ford Foundation, and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. 

CONTACT: Voleine Amilcar, ITVS: voleine_amilcar@itvs.org, 415-356-8383, ext 244

Posted on October 6, 2010