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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, non-fiction projects of standard broadcast length (30, 60, or 90 minutes) that aren’t intended solely for theatrical or SVOD (Subscription Video on Demand) release. We do not accept live-action drama or fiction.

  • Works-in-progress (for non-fiction 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.


Additional funding:


Diversity Development Fund

The Diversity Development Fund provides up to $25,000 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.


Short-Form Open Call

Short-Form Open Call offers development and co-production funding to help you complete your short nonfiction film or series for distribution on public media's web-based platforms. Reopens in 2022.


For more information: ITVS Funding Programs

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