From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
ITVS (Independent Television Service)
Company typePrivate non-profit
IndustryTelevision, Film
FoundedSeptember 22, 1989; 34 years ago (1989-09-22)
Area served
United States
Key people
Carrie Lozano,[1] President and CEO
Number of employees

ITVS (Independent Television Service) is a service in the United States which funds and presents documentaries on public television through distribution by PBS and American Public Television, new media projects on the Internet, and the weekly series Independent Lens[2] on PBS. Aside from Independent Lens, ITVS funded and produced films for more than 40 television hours per year on the PBS series POV, Frontline, American Masters and American Experience. Some ITVS programs are produced along with organizations like Latino Public Broadcasting and KQED.

Besides Independent Lens, ITVS series include Indie Lens Storycast on YouTube and Women of the World with Women and Girls Lead Global. Prior series include Global Voices (on World) and FutureStates.[3]

ITVS is funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), and is based in San Francisco.

ITVS has funded more than 1,400 films, with an eye on diversity and underrepresented audiences and filmmakers. The organization champions inclusion on the screen and behind the camera: Nearly 70% of ITVS funds go to diverse producers, 50% to women.[4]


ITVS was established through legislation by the United States Congress in 1988,[5][6] “to expand the diversity and innovativeness of programming available to public broadcasting,”[7] and began funding new programming via production licensing agreements[8] in 1990. From 2005-2010, it expanded its reach through the creation of the Global Perspectives Project, which facilitated the international exchange of documentary films made by independent producers. In 2017, ITVS was named the recipient of a Peabody Institutional Award for its contributions to storytelling in television; the Peabody board of jurors cited "an accomplished range of work as rich as any broadcaster or funder,"[9] and in the same year the organization learned it was to receive the 2017 Emmy Governors Award chosen by the Television Academy Board of Governors, awarded during the Creative Arts Emmy Awards ceremony on Saturday, September 9, 2017.[10]

ITVS has discovered and nurtured prominent filmmakers, including one of the first films by Oscar-winning director Barry Jenkins, who made a film.[11] In 2015, ITVS created a new digital journalism initiative [12]

Notable works[edit]

Among the prominent films funded by ITVS:

Independent Lens[edit]

Since 1999, ITVS has produced Independent Lens, a weekly television series airing on PBS presenting documentary films made by independent filmmakers. For the first three seasons Independent Lens aired 10 episodes each fall season. In 2002, PBS announced that in 2003 the series would relaunch and expand to 29 primetime episodes a year.

In 2017, ITVS announced Indie Lens Storycast, a free subscription-based docuseries channel on YouTube, co-produced with PBS Digital Studios. Storycast launched in September of that year with docuseries Iron Maidens and The F Word.[16]

In addition, ITVS produces Indie Lens Pop-Up, formerly Community Cinema, an in-person series that brings people together for film screenings and community-driven conversations, featuring documentaries seen on Independent Lens.[17]


32 ITVS films have won Peabody Awards,[18] including How to Survive a Plague by David France; Marco Williams and Whitney Dow’s Two Towns of Jasper; Leslee Udwin’s India’s Daughter; and The Invisible War by Kirby Dick and Amy Ziering.

ITVS-Supported Peabody Winners

ITVS-Supported News & Documentary Emmy Winners

ITVS-Supported Primetime Emmy Winners [32]

  • Have You Heard From Johannesburg
  • A Lion In The House


  1. ^ "ITVS Names Carrie Lozano as President and CEO". 7 June 2023.
  2. ^ "'Independent Lens' Refocuses: Anthology Series Now Curated by ITVS and PBS (Documentary magazine)" (web). 19 February 2003. Retrieved 2017-03-22.
  3. ^ "Documentary Film Production and Marketing | ITVS". Retrieved 2019-03-23.
  4. ^ "ITVS to receive 2017 Governors Award". RealScreen. Retrieved August 21, 2017.
  5. ^ "100th Congress House Bill" (web). Retrieved 2017-03-16.
  6. ^ "Congressional Record 134" (pdf). Washington, The Congress. 2017-03-16. Retrieved 2017-03-16.
  7. ^ "Current News: Independent Television Service, Inc. Articles of Incorporation, 1989" (web). 22 September 1989. Retrieved 2017-03-22.
  8. ^ "ITVS Funding" (web). Retrieved 2017-03-17.
  9. ^ "Institutional Award: Independent Television Service (ITVS)" (web). Retrieved 2017-04-11.
  10. ^ "Television Academy Grants 2017 Governors Award to ITVS" (web). 8 August 2017. Retrieved 2017-08-08.
  11. ^ "'Remigration' Imagines a City With No Workers". PBS NewsHour. 29 March 2011. Retrieved October 1, 2014.
  12. ^ "Washington Post to Feature ITVS Documentary Films". MacArthur Foundation. Retrieved February 10, 2015.
  13. ^ "'Newtown' screens at Global Peace Film Festival". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved February 1, 2017.
  14. ^ "Sundance Film Review: 'The Force'". Variety. February 2017. Retrieved February 1, 2017.
  15. ^ "PBS Acquires Sundance Doc "Dolores"". PBS blog. Retrieved April 5, 2017.
  16. ^ "PBS, Independent Lens launch doc-driven web channel". RealScreen. Retrieved September 6, 2017.
  17. ^ "Independent Lens Launches Indie Lens Pop-Up in Pittsburgh and 75 Cities Across the U.S." (PDF). WQED (Independent Lens press release). Retrieved December 9, 2015.
  18. ^ "Lear, ITVS named Individual, Institutional Winners" (web). 12 April 2017. Retrieved 2017-04-12.
  19. ^ "Chicago Tribune coverage of Peabody Awards" (web). Retrieved 2017-08-08.
  20. ^ "Independent Lens: Bhutto (PBS)". Peabody Awards. Retrieved April 6, 2012.
  21. ^ "'Scandal,' 'House of Cards,' 'The Bridge,' 'Orphan Black' Among Peabody Winners". Variety. 2 April 2014. Retrieved April 2, 2014.
  22. ^ "'Scandal,' 'House of Cards,' 'The Bridge,' 'Orphan Black' Among Peabody Winners". Variety. 2 April 2014. Retrieved April 2, 2014.
  23. ^ "'Justified,' 'The Good Wife,' 'Men of a Certain Age' honored with Peabody Awards". Current. 31 March 2011. Retrieved March 31, 2011.
  24. ^ "ITVS Wins Five News & Documentary Emmys". Broadway World. Retrieved October 6, 2017.
  25. ^ "PBS Dominates News and Documentary Emmys with 14 Awards" (web). Retrieved 2002-09-10.
  26. ^ "ITVS Garners Four Wins at the 29th Annual News and Documentary Emmy® Awards". MarketWired. Retrieved September 23, 2008.
  27. ^ ""Invisible War," "Crash Reel" among doc Emmy winners". RealScreen. Retrieved October 1, 2014.
  28. ^ "News and Documentary Emmys, 2011". Current. Retrieved October 17, 2011.
  29. ^ "PBS, CBS Are Big Winners at News and Documentary Emmy Awards". The Wrap. October 2014. Retrieved October 1, 2014.
  30. ^ "3 Emmy Nominations for The Trials of Muhammad Ali". Kartemquin Films. Retrieved July 22, 2015.
  31. ^ "19th Annual News & Documentary Emmy Awards" (PDF). Emmy Online. September 9, 1998.
  32. ^ "Independent Lens Spends $2.5 Million on Docs: The Mission, Filters, Budgets, Rights & Submission Process". Documentary Business. February 2015. Retrieved February 1, 2015.

External links[edit]