ITVS Goes Global with New International Initiative

- International Media Development Fund Creates New Access for International Filmmakers to Reach U.S. Audiences - ITVS International Call Seeks Proposals until January 20, 2006 Deadline


Randall Cole, Publicity Manager, ITVS Tel. +1.415.356.8383, ext. 254 E-mail: 

Jim Sommers, Director of Communications, ITVS Tel. +1.415.356.8383, ext. 242 

(San Francisco, California, USA)— The Independent Television Service (ITVS), the leading source of independently produced programs on U.S. public television, has announced the launch of ITVS International and its International Media Development Fund, an initiative which will open up a new exchange between the United States and other nations through compelling documentaries which provide insight into other people, cultures and points of view. Through ITVS International, independent filmmakers from countries outside the U.S. will have the opportunity to showcase their programs nationally on U.S. television. Moving beyond the headlines and eschewing stereotypes, these documentaries promise to offer a greater understanding of one another's lives. Digging beneath the surface, the programs will bring into focus the contrasts and similarities we share, and provide a fresh perspective into how interconnected we are as a global community. 

“In a U.S. commercial media landscape where most internationally focused television consists of 30 second news clips of natural disaster or images of war, there is a lack of programs which provide in-depth views of life and people outside our borders,” said ITVS President and CEO Sally Jo Fifer. “Our hope is that these documentaries by international filmmakers will inspire all of us to seek a greater understanding of our world—and each other.” 

Through the ITVS International Call, the fund allows the organization for the first time to fund filmmakers from outside the United States to produce programs for broadcast on U.S. television. In addition to production financing, the initiative also provides services to support distribution, promotion and educational outreach to expand the impact of the program beyond its broadcast. The call is open to any independent filmmaker who is not a U.S. citizen or permanent resident. The fund will consider projects that are currently in production which focus on any topic that brings international perspectives, ideas, events or people to the U.S. public. Proposals should be for programs that seek to reflect international social, economic, human rights or cultural issues. The deadline for the first International Call is January 20, 2006. Applications, guidelines and frequently asked questions are available at 

As a launch, a handful of completed projects have been commissioned for broadcast on U.S. television. The very first program, which aired this summer on PBS's Wide Angle series, was PICKLES, INC., a film about eight widows in the Israeli Arab village of Tamra who challenge social conventions and establish the Azka Pickle Cooperative, seeking financial independence. 

“Our film is not at all political, but by bringing this human story to light, we hope that the audience in the USA will gain more understanding and perhaps an expanded view of Islam in coming to know these Muslim women as real people, said director Dalit Kimor. “This new initiative is a wonderful collaboration by combining support and financial resources with our local access and ability to tell this story from our own perspective.” 

As a part of ITVS's ongoing international focused efforts, including hosting INPUT 2005—the international public television conference, ITVS International will also launch True Stories: Life in the USA in early 2006. The project, hosted by Academy Award-winning actor Benicio Del Toro, is a documentary series that explores views of the United States, perhaps less well-known to most of the world, though portraits of real life in the U.S. True Stories is currently planned to broadcast in three countries—Peru, Egypt and Malawi. 

Independent Television Service The Independent Television Service (ITVS) is the leading source of independently produced programs on U.S. public television. 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. 

Funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting since 1991, ITVS has helped create and present more than 500 independently-produced programs—innovative documentaries and dramas that explore complex issues, represent diverse communities and express points-of-view seldom seen on television. 

Through a special initiative beginning in 2005, ITVS introduces the International Media Development Fund, made possible by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the Ford Foundation, and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. 

More information about ITVS and the new ITVS International initiatives is available online at

Posted on September 30, 2005