ITVS International’s Global Perspectives Project Makes Big Waves Around the World

Independent films funded through ground-breaking worldwide media initiative taking home prestigious festival awards, earning glowing accolades

Successful commercial and public television broadcasts help to create meaningful international dialogue as slate of films continues rollout

(San Francisco, CA, February 6, 2008)—The Independent Television Service (ITVS) announced today that ITVS International and its Global Perspectives Project (GPP) has completed an extraordinarily successful first quarter since its public launch in October 2007. International films produced through the project have been winning top prizes at world-renowned film festivals, and have been broadcast on major commercial and public television outlets to great critical and audience acclaim. With more films being selected for festival screenings and programmed for future broadcast each month, ITVS International’s GPP continues its strong growth trajectory. 

There have been several major highlights on the global film festival circuit with ITVS International films screening in sold-out venues. Two GPP films were selected for the prestigious 60th Cannes Film Festival 2007—THE MOSQUITO PROBLEM AND OTHER STORIES and YOUNG YAKUZA, which marked a first-time presence for ITVS International at the festival. ITVS has recently learned that at least one film has already been chosen for next year’s festival (information embargoed until official Cannes announcement). 

At the recent 20th annual International Documentary Festival of Amsterdam (IDFA), there were eight ITVS International films in competition. Two programs garnered top honors at the world-renown documentary festival and market including STRANDED: The Andes Plane Crash Survivors, which won the prestigious VPRO Joris Ivens Jury Prize and END OF THE RAINBOW, which won the First Appearances prize—reserved for emerging filmmakers whose films premiere at IDFA. 

ITVS presence at major festivals will continue throughout 2008. Four ITVS International films were selected for competition in the World Cinema category at the recent Sundance 2008 Film Festival—BE LIKE OTHERS, DINNER WITH THE PRESIDENT, DURAKOVO (Village of Fools) and STRANDED. In a first for an ITVS International film at the festival, DURAKOVO: The Village of Fools (broadcast title: FOR GOD, TSAR AND FATHERLAND) was honored with the World Cinema Directing Award for Documentary. 

Three ITVS International projects will be showcased at the upcoming 2008 Berlin International Film Festival. The slate includes two feature films, FLIPPING OUT, which tells the little-known story of the after-shock of war: released Israeli soldiers experimenting with drugs to devastating affects, and BE LIKE OTHERS, which offers an intimate and unflinching look at life through the eyes of young men choosing to undergo gender reassignment surgery in the Islamic Republic of Iran. Also at the festival will be a collection of eight short films dealing with the theme of food and created for a unique online and mobile collaboration entitled Global Mobile: FOOD, which will premiere as a part of the Culinary Cinema series. 

“The honors and accolades—together with the broad exposure—celebrated at these top festivals in the U.S. and around the world are a substantial breakthrough for the GPP,” said Sally Fifer, president and CEO of ITVS. “The content and projects that ITVS is funding and acquiring for the GPP are consistently among the top films on the global documentary circuit, which in turn helps broaden their reach here in the U.S., bringing more viewers to an ever more diverse landscape of global documentary films.” 

In addition to a strong presence at major international festivals, ITVS International projects will air on screens—large and small— around the country. Continuing throughout 2008, nearly 40 programs funded by ITVS International and created by independent producers around the world will premiere to audiences across the United States via broadcast on PBS and on major commercial channels such as Sundance Channel and National Geographic Channel (six broadcasters in all); via digital distribution such as on AOL and JAMAN; and via mobile phone through a partnership with iThentic. 

On March 30, 2008, ITVS International will launch Global Voices, a new series on the digital PBS World channel. The 26-week series will feature internationally-themed documentaries by U.S. and international filmmakers, including the U.S. broadcast premieres of five new ITVS International productions: ABC COLOMBIA, BRIDGE OVER THE WADI, CIRCUS SCHOOL, FOR GOD, TSAR AND FATHERLAND and OVERBOOKED. 

In addition to the television broadcasts and festival screenings, ITVS International is also leveraging the organization’s strong track record with community and civic engagement. The GPP film PLEASE VOTE FOR ME, after winning top honors at the 2007 SILVERDOCS Film Festival, was featured in over 40 ITVS-sponsored community screening events throughout the U.S, including panel discussions with leading NGOs and community organizations to help people delve more deeply into issues covered in these documentaries. 

“More community and educational activities are being planned for GPP films in the near future,” added Fifer. “We’re going to start this conversation on every level—the airwaves, the Internet, and in community centers, libraries, and screening halls across America.” 

To date, through the GPP, ITVS International has supported the production of 54 programs representing 41 different countries. Funded by private foundations, the project aims to support and broadcast an additional 50 programs by international producers through 2010. More information about the project, including full descriptions and clips of the films, photos and biographies of the filmmakers along with many other interactive features are available online at the ITVS International Interactive Online Portal at 


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 is available online at 

CONTACT: Randall Cole, Senior Publicity Manager, ITVS or 415-356-8383, ext. 254 

Dennis Palmieri, Director of Communications, ITVS or 415-356-8383, ext. 256

Posted on February 7, 2008