Managing Director of Production Richard O’Connell, provides the first in a series of updates on some of the latest initiatives for independents at ITVS.
Welcome to the first in a series of updates on the production side of the public media world at large — in particular at ITVS, where our production team is working with filmmakers on more than 150 programs scheduled for public television. Topics will range from technology advances to marketing strategies and trends, and to ITVS policies.
Doc filmmaker Reuben Atlas reflects on ITVS’ latest producers orientation for Open Call funding
Filmmaker Reuben Atlas
I heard the letters I-T-V-S for the first time about three years ago, sitting in the audience at a panel on documentary financing. One of the panelists, an Oscar winner, had just responded to the question of how he financed his film by holding up his MasterCard.
The moderator then asked, “Have any of you received funding from ITVS?” The crowd collectively gasped and all side conversations paused. A few people raced for the Q & A line. The young woman next to me flung open her Mac laptop and braced her fingers at the keyboard.
“What’s the acronym stand for?” I whispered. Keeping her shoulder’s facing forward, she swiftly turned her head towards me. “ITVS?” she said. “It’s the Holy Grail.” A man next to her immediately scoffed, letting us know he felt quite differently.
Four Open Call applications, many proposal revisions, and countless work sample cuts later, and here I am, a first time filmmaker at ITVS’ Open Call Producers Orientation.
From orientation, producers talk shop with ITVS Production Manager Cheryl Hirasa
ITVS’s Open Call provides finishing funds for single nonfiction public television programs on any subject and from any viewpoint. Last week, ITVS hosted nearly a dozen filmmakers who were recently awarded Open Call funding. Among the troops was Andy Schocken, producer and director of photography, of The World in a Room. Here he wraps up ITVS’s crash course in producing for public television.
Somewhere between our discussion of Canadian retransmission royalties and the percentage-of-completion method of contract accounting, it hits me that I’m not at film school anymore. Looking around the room at a remarkable group of filmmakers whose work I’ve long admired, I accept that there’s a time and place for six-hour Frederick Wiseman marathons and roadtrips up Highway 1 with nothing but a Bolex and a dream. I’m here at ITVS orientation to hone my skills as a producer for public television, and this is right where I want to be.