Independent Television Service Returns to Sundance With Two Films in the Documentary Competition

Both films feature filmmakers in search of family members' history-making pasts

(San Francisco, CA)—The Independent Television Service (ITVS) announced today that two of its funded films have been selected for competition in the upcoming 2009 Sundance Film Festival, to be held in Park City, Utah, from January 15-25. This brings the number of ITVS funded films, which have screened at Sundance, to a total of 66 since ITVS first had a presence at the festival in 1994. 

This year, in honor of the Sundance Film Festival’s 25th Anniversary, PBS and ITVS will host a joint celebration on Friday, January 16, 2009 for Independent filmmakers who have contributed their work to public media and to the festival. The event is open to any filmmaker whose work is screening at Sundance. Accredited members of the press should contact ITVS for more details and invitation. 

The two ITVS films in competition in the Documentary category include: 

DISTURBING THE UNIVERSE: Radical Lawyer William Kunstler Directed by: Sarah Kunstler and Emily Kunstler 

William Kunstler was one of the most famous lawyers of the 20th Century. His clients included Martin Luther King Jr., the Chicago 8, the inmates in the Attica prison rebellion and members of the Black Power and American Indian Movements. In DISTURBING THE UNIVERSE: Radical Lawyer William Kunstler, filmmakers Emily Kunstler and Sarah Kunstler investigate their father's transformation from a middle-class family man into a person of courage who risked everything for his beliefs until his death. This film is a co-production of ITVS. 

EL GENERAL Directed by: Natalia Almada 

From 1924 to 1928, Plutarco Elias Calles served as the president of Mexico and today remains one of the country's most controversial revolutionary figures. In EL GENERAL, filmmaker Natalia Almada, great granddaughter of President Calles, captures her family's personal story and looks at a country living in the shadow of the past. The film is a co-production of ITVS in association with The Latino Public Broadcasting. 

Screening dates and times are still pending. Up-to-date information can be found online at 

Both WILLIAM KUNSTLER: Disturbing the Universe and EL GENERAL will be broadcast as part of P.O.V.'s 2009 season. 

ABOUT ITVS 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 series Independent Lens on Tuesday nights at 10 PM on PBS. ITVS is a miracle of public policy created by media activists, citizens and politicians seeking to foster plurality and diversity in public television. ITVS was established by a historic mandate of Congress to champion independently produced programs that take creative risks, spark public dialogue and serve 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 about ITVS can be obtained by visiting ITVS is funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, a private corporation funded by the American people. 

CONTACT: Voleine Amilcar, 415-356-8383, ext 244 Mobile telephone at Sundance: 510-912-0631

Posted on December 8, 2008