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The Independent Television Service (ITVS) | Documentary and Television Funding

ITVS funds, distributes, and promotes new programs primarily for public television. We work with independent producers to create and present programs that take creative risks, advance issues and represent points of view not usually seen on public or commercial television.

ITVS is committed to programming that addresses the needs of underserved and underrepresented audiences. We look for programs that bring new audiences to public television and that expand civic participation by bringing diverse voices into the public sphere.

Open Call

Open Call provides completion funds for single nonfiction public television programs on any subject, and from any viewpoint. Projects must have begun production as evidenced by a work-in-progress video. Open Call funding is only available to independent producers who are citizens or legal residents of the U.S. and its external territories.

Open Call accepts:


  • Single programs of standard broadcast length (half-hour or one-hour). In rare cases, when a filmmaker’s skills, subject, and story structure warrant it, ITVS will consider programs at feature lengths.

  • Works-in-progress (for nonfiction submissions), i.e. projects that have already begun production

  • Programs that can be completed within one year of contract


Open Call does not accept:

  • Proposals for completed projects seeking distribution

  • Series proposals or fictional dramas

  • Projects intended solely for theatrical release


There are two funding rounds per year, and the deadlines are typically in mid-January and early August.

Applicants may apply with only one project per call. The entire proposal review process takes up to five months. Only one to two percent of Open Call applicants will receive funding.

Open Call is not a grant; ITVS provides a co-production investment in the program.


International Call
International Call provides production and/or post-production funds for single non-fiction television documentaries that bring international perspectives, ideas, stories and people to a U.S. audience. This initiative is for non-U.S. producers and filmmakers who live outside the U.S.

LINCS
LINKING INDEPENDENTS AND CO-PRODUCING STATIONS (LINCS) provides matching funds (up to $100,000) to partnerships between public television stations and independent producers. LINCS funds single non-fiction public television programs and demonstration projects that include both broadcast and transmedia elements on any subject and from any viewpoint. LINCS proposals are accepted on an ongoing basis. Producers must be U.S. citizens or legal residents.

Diversity Development Fund
The Diversity Development Fund provides up to $15,000 in research and development funding to producers of color to develop single documentary programs for public television. Producers must be U.S. citizens or legal residents.

Commissioned Funding
ITVS accepts proposals on an ongoing basis for documentary projects that fall outside of the parameters of the standing initiatives (DDF, LINCS, OPEN CALL).

For more information: ITVS Funding

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