Patrick Wickham Dies at Age 36

Patrick Wickham, Director of Contract Policy & Digital Initiatives and 13-Year Veteran of Independent Television Service, Dies at Age 36

CONTACT: Randall Cole, 415.356.8383, ext 254, 

Wilson Ling, 415.356.8383, ext 231, wilson_ling@itvs,org 

(February 17, 2004-San Francisco, CA)- Patrick Stephen Wickham, Director of Contract Policy & Digital Initiatives and former Director of Production at Independent Television Service (ITVS) passed away on Tuesday, February 17, 2004 in San Francisco after a six-month struggle with cancer. Wickham had been on staff at ITVS for 13 years, joining the organization shortly after it was founded in St. Paul, Minnesota in 1991. 

At ITVS, Wickham served as liaison on policy and contract issues that affect independent producers. He worked with PBS and other production and distribution entities on behalf of independent producers on issues such as expanded contract rights in the multi-channel environment. He also supervised new media contract issues for projects such as the ITVS web original series Electric Shadows and ITVS's new weekly PBS series Independent Lens, and worked with ITVS President Sally Jo Fifer to formulate new ITVS digital initiatives. 

Prior to his most recent duties, Wickham served as ITVS Director of Production from 2000-2003. Before that he worked as a production manager, among other positions. 

Wickham graduated from Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota. His first industry job was with the innovative public television series "Alive From Off Center" at Twin Cities Public Television in St. Paul, Minnesota. He pursued his passion for independent film and joined ITVS when the newly-formed, Congressionally-mandated organization was just an idea and a shoebox. 

Always a champion on behalf of independent filmmakers, early in his career Wickham produced several short experimental films that played at underground film festivals in the United States, Brazil and in Europe. 

"It is with deep sadness that we grieve the loss of our extraordinary colleague Patrick Wickham," said ITVS President Sally Jo Fifer. "His contributions over the past 13 years were enormous. He had a special gift that made filmmakers know they had someone in their corner, helping them succeed. He was smart, fun, inspired, deeply committed and wise. He gave tirelessly to ITVS and was an integral part of this organization's success. He was a guiding force at ITVS. His legacy is evident in the nearly 400 independently-produced programs that he played a part in bringing to fruition. More than anything, we will remember his keen intelligence and his tremendous wit. Our thoughts and condolences are with his wife, Kristi, and his family during this difficult time." 

Wickham is survived by his wife Kristi Highum; by his mother Virginia Wickham and his grandmother Elizabeth Carfora of Glen Ellyn, Illinois; and by his brother-in-law Paul Byrne and niece Joanna Byrne of Chicago, Illinois. 

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Heifer Foundation (he's a fan of the "buy a goat" program) at 800.422.0474 (, or to Kids in Development Society at 415.885.0660. 

For an electronic photo of Patrick Wickham, please contact Randall Cole at 415.356.8383, ext. 254 or 

About ITVS 

Independent Television Service (ITVS) funds and presents award-winning documentaries and dramas on public television, innovative new media projects on the Web and the weekly series Independent Lens on Tuesday nights at 10 P.M. 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 February 18, 2004