ITVS Announces New Projects Selected for Funding Through ITVS International Call 2008

Independent films telling unique global stories chosen from a competitive applicant pool of nearly 400 submissions

(San Francisco, CA)—Independent Television Service (ITVS) announced today that it has contracted with five projects from its recently completed ITVS International Call 2008, with two more projects expected to be announced soon. The films selected to receive production funding rose to the top during a highly competitive application process, which included 385 submissions from 74 countries—an increase over previous years. Since 2005, nearly 100 international programs have been supported through ITVS International’s Global Perspectives Project and its International Media Development Fund. 

“ITVS International brings to U.S. audiences the best in diverse documentary films by independent filmmakers from around the world,” said Claire Aguilar, vice president of programming for ITVS. “These films help provide insight and understanding around the issues facing our global community; they are critical sources of independent perspective for U.S. audiences.” 

ITVS International programs are slated for eventual broadcast on PBS, including prime-time slots on the Emmy® Award–winning PBS series Independent Lens 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, and on online video sites, including Caachi, Jaman and SnagFilms. 

ITVS International films have garnered numerous awards and accolades, claiming top festival and industry awards around the world, including national Emmy® Award wins and a recently announced Golden Globe nomination for Best Foreign Language Feature Film (WALTZ WITH BASHIR). 

The 2008 International Call projects selected for funding and U.S. television broadcast include: 

THE CAVIAR CONNECTION by Dragan Nikolic and Jovana Nikolic (Serbia) Co-production of Prababa Production and ITVS International The Rat brothers are on a quest to find the big fish—the one that will bring easy money and allow them to leave their small village in Serbia. In this dramatic and often humorous tale, THE CAVIAR CONNECTION follows the brothers as they unsuccessfully gamble with the rules of nature and economics and, in the process, become deeper without even noticing it. 

JALANAN by Daniel Ziv (Indonesia) Co-production of Daniel Ziv and ITVS International Boni, Ho and Titi—three gifted bus musicians—are struggling for identity, legitimacy and love on the frenzied streets of Jakarta, Indonesia. JALANAN traces their journey as they perform songs of social angst, debate politics by the roadside, flee their home during a monsoon flood and get locked up by police. 

THE LAST TIGHTROPE DANCER IN ARMENIA by Vardan Hovhannisyan and Inna Sahakyan (Armenia) Co-production of BARS MEDIA and ITVS International Zhora, 78 years old, and Knyaz, 77 years old, were once the most celebrated masters of tightrope dancing in Armenia. Today, Zhora’s health is deteriorating, and Knyaz is struggling to find a student to succeed him. THE LAST TIGHTROPE DANCER IN ARMENIA looks at how these two men put their rivalry aside to train Hovsep, a 16-year-old orphan, who holds the fate of this ancient art in his hands. 

LAST TRAIN HOME by Lixin Fan and Mila Aung-Thwin (China) An EyeSteelFilm production in association with ITVS International China experiences the largest internal migration in the world as rural workers travel to cities looking for employment. In LAST TRAIN HOME, filmmaker Lixin Fan follows the Zhang family, who saved all year to go back to their rural roots for Chinese New Year—a journey made by more than 100 million migrant workers—hoping to salvage the relationship with their teenage daughter. 

ON THE BORDERS OF DESPERATION by Nima Sarvestani (Kurdistan – Iran, Iraq) Co-production of NimaFilm and ITVS International Extreme living conditions in Kurdistan, Iran, are forcing those who live along the Iran and Iraq border into engaging in gasoline smuggling at great risk. ON THE BORDERS OF DESPERATION tells the moving story of Tala, who recently lost her only son, Shadman, and her desperate attempt to save her husband from going blind. 

The deadline for submission for projects to be considered in the next ITVS International Call is February 6, 2009. More information and guidelines for application can be found online at 


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 serve underserved audiences. Since its inception in 1991, ITVS programs have revitalized the relationship between the public and public television, bringing television audiences face-to-face with the lives and concerns of their fellow Americans. The Corporation for Public Broadcasting, a private corporation funded by the American people, funds ITVS. More information can be found at 


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 that comprise our global community. ITVS International Call enables independent producers from outside the United States to create documentaries for U.S. television. Through International 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 encourages independent producers to submit their projects for consideration. International Call seeks films that are in either the production or the post-production phase. 

For more information about guidelines, eligibility and how to apply, please visit The deadline to apply is February 6, 2009. ITVS International Call is an initiative of ITVS and is funded by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the Ford Foundation, and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. 

CONTACT: Randall Cole U.K. +44 7538 476 283 U.S. +1 415 425 3050 

Voleine Amilcar 415-356-8383 ext. 244

Posted on December 17, 2008