The ITVS office has been abuzz with a milestone for the Programming department known as Panel Review, which has filmmakers around the world anxiously waiting for the news that they’ll be awarded the jackpot to finish their documentary. On occasion, you might wonder “How does ITVS select its programming?” It’s no easy task as we aim to fund the highest quality from the most diverse points of view. To do this, we go beyond the staff at ITVS, and we facilitate a peer-review process that gathers the input of distinguished independent filmmakers, film festival and television programmers, commissioning editors and the like.
Each of our three production funding initiatives culminates in a final Panel Review, in which panelists recommend ten to 12 projects for funding. If you’re a filmmaker who has made it to Panel Review, congratulations! Your project is among the top six to ten percent of applications, and at this stage, there’s no doubt you have a top-notch production underway. Alas, the competition is fierce.
The Panel Review for International Call took place last week, and at the end of a hair-raising, time-zone bending, technologically intense week, we emerged with a prioritized list of 12 projects that our Panelists recommend for funding. In its fourth year, International Call received nearly 500 applications from 80 countries, spanning six continents. In the end, we’ll offer co-production financing ($50,000 to $150,000) to eight to ten programs. This International Call Panel was particularly unique in that we experimented with videoconferencing. Given the economic climate and the current green enlightenment, the International Programming team wanted to chart a new process that would be all-around more efficient—trimming costs and time as well as our global footprint—while maintaining the integrity and richness of debate for which ITVS Panel Review sessions are known.
We succeeded in channeling our five panelists to a virtual conference center online, in which all participants were displayed on screen in a sort of Hollywood Squares formation. For two sessions on Thursday and Friday, our Panelists logged in from their offices in different parts of the world, spanning five time zones, which had us in San Francisco beginning at the near crack of dawn. This form of virtual panel was an ITVS first and also an innovation in the field. As such, I emerged with a fresh appreciation for pioneers. And the jackpots go to… How I wish I could tell! We’ll officially announce the slate towards the end of summer when all contracts have been signed. Meanwhile, down the hall, Open Call is having its Panel Review. Programming Managers Karim Ahmad and Richard Saiz have their panelists sequestered in the conference room to hash out the merits of another thirty finalists.
-Joy-Marie Scott Programming Coordinator, ITVS International
From our blog
December 11, 2018
It is with sadness that we say goodbye to filmmaker and educator Bill Siegel. Bill first became a part of the ITVS family with his award-winning film The Weather Underground, which he co-directed with Sam Green. It tells the story of former University of Chicago students who showed their outrage at the Vietnam War and racism in America by waging a low-level…
December 3, 2018
Last week the Sundance Institute announced the showcase of independent feature films selected for the 2019 Sundance Film Festival. We are thrilled to share that four of the selections drawn from a record-breaking 14,259 submissions are ITVS co-productions. It's a milestone moment for ITVS. The 2019 festival entries mark 100 ITVS co-productions…
National Issues, Local Impact: How Indie Lens Pop-Up, Filmmakers, and PBS Stations Gather CommunitiesOctober 17, 2018
Fueling films that spark conversations, and connecting with local audiences, is at the heart of our mission to bring impactful independent documentaries to public media. Indie Lens Pop-Up is the tool in which ITVS filmmakers, PBS member stations, and other local partners connect and engage with their communities. These events translate your film’s…