ITVS Continues Strong Presence at Sundance Film Festival with Four Films in World Cinema Competition

First year that ITVS International films to premiere at world-renown festival

(San Francisco, CA)—The Independent Television Service (ITVS) announced today that four of its funded films have been selected for competition in the upcoming Sundance Film Festival 2008, to be held in Park City, Utah, from January 17-27, 2008. In a first for the organization, whose annual participation at the festival includes more than 60 films over the past 14 years, all four productions selected for Sundance this year are funded through the recently launched ITVS International Global Perspectives Project (GPP). 

The central goals of ITVS’s GPP include bringing new international perspectives to television audiences in the United States. All four of these projects have received production funding for eventual broadcast and are part of a slate of more than 40 programs coming to U.S. television in the next year. 

All four films are in competition in the World Cinema Documentary category: 

BE LIKE OTHERS Directed by: Tanaz Eshaghian Produced by: Tanaz Eshaghian and Peter Wintonick An intimate and unflinching look at life in Iran through the eyes of young men choosing to undergo sex change surgery, BE LIKE OTHERS explores the implications and sacrifices of those living on the fringes of Islamic society, the irrevocable nature of their decisions and the relegation to second class women's status. The film is a co-production of Necessary Illusions Productions, Forties B and ITVS International. 

DINNER WITH THE PRESIDENT Directed by: Sabiha Sumar Produced by: Sachithanandam Sathananthan Directors Sabiha Sumar and Sachithanandam Sathananthan sit down with Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf to address his ideas of a democratized society in their country. The directors engage Musharraf in conversation about his political past and vision for the future and ask the bold question—how does an army general plan to establish democracy in Pakistan? The film is a co-production of Vidih Films with ITVS International and ZDF/Arte. 

DURAKOVO: THE VILLAGE OF FOOLS (DURAKOVO: LE VILLAGE DES FOUS – aka FOR GOD, TSAR AND FATHERLAND) Directed by: Nino Kirtadze Produced by: Paul Rozenberg With the collapse of the Soviet Union, terms such as “freedom” and “democracy” excited the Russian imagination. Today, a new nationalism percolates in a castle outside Moscow, where Mikhail Morozov—who longs for a return to the glory days of Old Russia—rules autonomously over young initiates, laying the groundwork for a rapidly growing right-wing youth movement. The film is a co-production of ZADIG Productions, STEPS International and ITVS International and will have its television broadcast on the PBS World series Global Voices

STRANDED: I’ve Come from a Plane that Crashed on the Mountains (aka STRANDED: The Andes Plane Crash Survivors) Directed by: Gonzalo Arijon Produced by: Marc Silvera When their plane crashed in the Andean Cordillera in October 1972, a group of young men beat the odds, surviving for 72 days in the mountains before their rescue. Thirty years later, the survivors tell their stories in this extraordinary testament to the human condition and the importance of solidarity in extreme conditions. The film is a co-production of Ethan Productions, La Realidad and ITVS International and will have its television broadcast on the Emmy Award-wining PBS series Independent Lens

“We are thrilled to continue our 14-year streak at the festival,” said Claire Aguilar, ITVS vice-president of Programming. “And we are especially excited that these films funded through the ITVS International fund are enjoying such tremendous success. We are so proud of all our filmmakers and their projects, and excited that STRANDED will be at Sundance after taking top honors at IDFA just weeks ago.”


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. 


ITVS International is a division of the Independent Television Service that promotes an international exchange of documentary films made by independent producers, bringing international voices to U.S. audiences, and American stories to audiences abroad. Through a unique public-private partnership called the Global Perspectives Project, ITVS International administers the International Media Development Fund (IMDF) and True Stories: Life in the USA. The IMDF funds international producers and supports the American broadcast of their programs. True Stories: Life in the USA promotes a series of American independent films to audiences around the world. ITVS created the Global Perspectives Project in 2005 with support from The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the Ford Foundation, The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and the U.S. Department of State. More information about ITVS International is available online at 

CONTACT: Randall Cole, Senior Publicity Manager, 415-356-8383, ext 254 —or— Jim Sommers, Vice-president of Broadcast and Communications, 415-356-8383, ext 242

Posted on December 17, 2007