Working in every corner of the country, independent documentary filmmakers bring deep, human stories to life — complex stories about diverse American experiences with the power to evoke empathy and spark civic dialogue.
For 25 years, ITVS has served as an incubator to independent filmmakers. We will continue to invest funds and creative and technical expertise into documentaries and make sure tens of millions of Americans see them for free on television, online, and at local community screenings.
Today, we’re stepping on the gas to ignite these stories quickly through our digital funding initiative. ITVS will accept, review, and green-light development proposals for digital series through our Digital Open Call. We will also extend invitations throughout the year to capture new project ideas with the goal of building a compelling pipeline of diverse digital stories for release in 2017.
We will be looking for projects that embrace innovative approaches to storytelling, meet our standing criteria for the Digital Open Call, and take viewers into the hearts and minds of citizens who see the connections between the so-called winners and losers in our post-election world. We invite submissions that break down stereotypes and explore diverse perspectives on consequential issues. We will be working with our current networks of public media and journalism partners to distribute these stories on their platforms and exploring ways to strengthen their impact.
Who is eligible for this opportunity?
Content makers who have proposals for digital series. Please see our Digital Open Call information for more specifics around eligibility.
Are there specific topic areas or subjects you are looking for?
Specific areas of interest include but are not limited to: education, jobs and the economy, national identity, race and equity.
How much funding is available for development?
The Digital Open call provides up to $30,000 in funding to help bring your idea to pilot.
Does development funding guarantee production funding for the project?
After the development cycle, projects are reviewed for production funding. However, receiving development funding from Digital Open Call isn’t a guarantee that you will receive production funding.
What if I have a project that fits this criterial that is already developed and in need of production support?
Projects that are in early production are eligible for consideration through our Digital Open Call.
How will these projects be distributed?
We will be working with public media digital platforms such as PBS COVE on pbs.org and PBS-branded YouTube channels as well our journalism partners, Channel X, ITVS YouTube and others.
From our blog
July 11, 2018
Illuminating the human condition: it’s a theme that pervades some of the most effective documentaries. Getting there has multiple paths and as a filmmaker, you have baggage you bring. For The Judge, filmmaker Erika Cohn was a complete outsider in her story and had to build trust with strangers. Bing Liu, on the other hand, mined his own community…
June 27, 2018
Following the story of a group of Muslim morticians in Newark, NJ, the brother filmmaking team Zeshawn and Aman Ali learned invaluable lessons regarding death, faith, and community. Their ITVS Open Call funded Two Gods allowed them intimate access alongside their participants Furquan and Nas, giving the Ali brothers a space to work together and focus…
May 9, 2018
Councilwoman follows the story of Carmen, a hotel housekeeper and mother from the Dominican Republic striving to advocate for low-income workers from the margins to Providence, Rhode Island city politics. Her journey encourages us all to reflect on who should be responsible for the decision-making in our communities. Margo Guernsey, director of…