ITVS International Call a Major Success with International Independent Producers

More than 300 proposals from 75 countries apply for funding through first-ever ITVS International Call

Next deadline for ITVS International Call submissions: FEBRUARY 9, 2007


Randall Cole, Director of Communications, ITVS Tel. +1.415.356.8383, ext. 254 E-mail: 

Jim Sommers, Vice-President, Broadcast and Communications, ITVS Tel. +1.415.356.8383, ext. 242 E-mail: 

(San Francisco, California, USA)—The Independent Television Service (ITVS) has announced that several projects have been selected so far from the first-ever ITVS International Call, which received more than 300 proposals from 75 countries. Already renowned as an important resource for U.S. independent filmmakers since its founding 15 years ago, ITVS is quickly gaining recognition as a funder of international independent producers. 

Financed entirely by a new and separate funding stream with support from U.S.-based private foundations, the ITVS International Call 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. 

While the evaluation process from the first ITVS International Call continues, five diverse projects have already been officially named and contracted. The selected projects represent a wide variety of subject matter and geographic diversity of the filmmakers who applied. Among those projects which have been selected for funding up to now include: 

BELARUSIAN WALTZ (Belarus) Length: 52:00 (TV) Producer: Torstein Grude (Norway) Director: Andrzej Fidyk (Belarus) 

Belarus is Europe’s last dictatorship, a society of total political control, nuclear pollution and mass poverty. Activists who seek to maintain human rights in Belarus fall victim to a merciless strategy of persecution and denial of rights from the government. This is a personal story of Alexander Pushkin, a performance artist, who used his “patriotic” art to speak out against his country’s dictator. 

IRANIAN KIDNEY BARGAIN SALE (Iran) Length: 60:00 (TV) Producer: Malla Grapengiesser (Sweden) Director: Nima Sarvestani (Iran) 

Every 10 minutes, a young person wishing to sell their kidney reports to the reception of one of the official kidney referral agencies in Iran. These are quite ordinary people, victims of the social misery resulting from the socioeconomic policies that have affected all levels of society and led to entirely unintended phenomena and systems. 

THE MOSQUITO PROBLEM AND OTHER STORIES (Bulgaria) Length: 60:00 (TV) Producer: Martichka Bozhilova (Bulgaria) Director: Andrey Paounov (Bulgaria) 

This film tells the epic story of a village turned labor camp, turned city, turned nuclear power plant and its population swamped between regimes, ideologies, mass murder, pop-folk music, guilt, redemption, hope and mosquitoes. 

ON WHEELS (Brazil) Length: 52:00 (TV) and other short format versions for alternate platforms Producer/Director: Sergio Bloch (Brazil) 

ON WHEELS portrays the daily life of characters that push, pull, or pedal some kind of vehicle to earn their living in Brazil’s city streets. The film establishes a relationship between the Wheel’s movement and the inconsistency of life itself, especially, for those without stable jobs, who have to create and improvise daily just to survive. 

A WORKING MOM (Israel) Length: 52:00 (TV), 90:00 (Feature) Producer: Yaron Kaftori (Israel) Director: Limor Pinhasov (Israel) 

Marisa Villozial is the compelling central figure of a real-life family drama that reflects powerful and painful global themes: poverty, preservation of culture, alienation and displacement in the new global economy and the plight of international guest workers. This is a story that demonstrates the extremes a mother will go to save her family and to lose it at the same time. 

“It is very important to me that my film be shown on television in the United States,” said producer of BELARUSIAN WALTZ, Torstein Grude. “We make films in order to influence the world in a positive direction, and given the size and scope of the American audience, this is a very important market in that respect.” 

“I would certainly encourage other international filmmakers to apply for funding through ITVS International because the Call is well conducted and values creation and inventiveness as a premise,” said ON WHEELS producer Sergio Bloch. They are also open to reviewing projects at various stages of completion, something which not all funders will consider.” 

The fund considers 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 next ITVS International Call is February 9, 2007. 

About ITVS International Call 

The International Call is an initiative of the International Media Development Fund which launched in 2005—a project created by ITVS in partnership with the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the Ford Foundation and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. Applications, guidelines and frequently asked questions are available at 

About ITVS 

Celebrating its 15th anniversary, 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.

Posted on November 2, 2006