In celebration of ITVS’s 20th anniversary, President & CEO Sally Jo Fifer introduces the ITVS Indies Showcase. The online festival, which runs from July 25 through September 23, will stream 20 groundbreaking documentaries by award-winning independent filmmakers.
Independent filmmakers, compelled to reckon with meaning and truth, often surface opposition to the general order of things, hoping to make our democracy better.
At ITVS, we are proud and grateful to work with some of society’s most vital storytellers, and very proud to celebrate their legacy with an online showcase of films spanning our 20-year history.
Each of these works — culled from the more than 1,000 that ITVS has supported over the last two decades — represents a personal vision in service of the public good.
The artistry and innovation of independent filmmakers drive ITVS — thanks to them, our audiences, and our partners in public broadcasting, we have become the most productive funder and presenter of independently produced public interest documentaries in the country.
Mandated by Congress and incorporated in 1991, ITVS took up its mission after a decade-long effort by independents and their supporters to ensure that Americans would experience diverse stories otherwise unseen and unheard on commercial and public television broadcasting.
Independent documentary producers emerged en force in the 1960s from a resolute determination to set the record straight on the new, all-powerful medium of television — a medium suddenly made approachable by a new technology: the Sony Portapak camera.
Without the ballast of studio cameras or sponsoring advertisers, independents swarmed the streets to find their stories — not unlike the 19th century Realism painters who dispensed with royal portraits to capture farmers in the fields. Public television provided the distribution strategy that encouraged foundations to invest in these storytellers as agents to invigorate and inform our democracy.