ITVS a “difficult partner” for filmmakers?

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The Independent, an online (previously print) publication about independent film, reports that some filmmakers are unhappy with how the Independent Television Service (ITVS), a CPB-backed organization that funds independent productions, control films’ content and “plays hardball” during contract negotiations. In more than a dozen interviews with sources who remain mostly anonymous, the publication found that “the organization can at times be a difficult partner, placing unnecessary demands on filmmakers … shrouding the collaborative process in secrecy, and at times stifling the independent, creative spirit of the very filmmakers it is designed to support.” Many producers came to ITVS’s defense, but apparently, some felt pushed to make their films more journalistic and “balanced” even though they didn’t regard their film as journalism. Others said films had been intentionally “buried” and were never broadcast. Sources were particularly critical of contract negotiations, which they say “[push] inexperienced filmmakers to sign a lengthy and complex contract without the benefit of time to review it or to run it by a lawyer.” According to the article, ITVS agreed to publish its standard contract details for the first time at The Independent‘s request. The founder of the publication, the Association of Independent Video and Filmmakers, helped lobby for the establishment of ITVS in 1991. RELATED: On Dec. 1, the ITVS Board of Directors voted to make the board a self-nominating entity. Previously, the National Coalition of Independent Public Broadcasting Producers (NCIPBP) nominated board members, who were then approved by CPB. The ITVS Board will now seek out and approve members independently.

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