Looking for funding or other opportunities from public media? The chart below includes major opportunities for feature documentaries and shorts from funders including the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, ITVS and, of course, POV.
|American Experience||Submissions||American Experience looks for good dramatic stories out of the American past, stories about people both ordinary and extraordinary, about events that helped define who we are as Americans and why we are the way we are. They accept completed films and works-in-progress (including films in production, films at rough cut and films with substantial funding in-hand.) They are not currently accepting proposals for film ideas.|
|American Masters||Proposals||American Masters, Thirteen/WNET's award-winning biography series, celebrates our nation's arts and culture. Launched in 1986 and still acclaimed as "the best biographical series ever to appear on television," American Masters has produced an exceptional library exploring the lives and illuminating the creative journeys of our most enduring writers, musicians, visual and performing artists, dramatists and filmmakers. In content and in style, these are uniquely crafted programs, reflecting the particular attention deserved by subjects, resonating the extraordinary mosaic of creative heritage and traditions. American Masters produces most of its programming in-house and is able to accept very few proposals. Proposals can be submitted, in writing only, to Executive Producer Susan Lacy.|
|Black Public Media||Submissions||NBPC has a legacy of proudly supporting producers and digital media storytellers who represent the global Black experience. It's a goal to provide funding and distribution within NBPC's affiliated public media networks including representation on their dedicated online/web series channel BlackPublicMedia.org.|
|Frontline||Proposals||Story ideas can be sent to the attention of the FRONTLINE Series Editor. FRONTLINE welcomes suggestions from viewers and reviews all letters and ideas. The series produces approximately 18 new programs each season and evaluates over 600 program suggestions and proposals.|
|Independent Lens||General Submissions||Independent Lens films are often character driven stories, and are known for compelling storytelling, innovation, and diversity. Independent Lens welcomes individual expression and is committed to presenting diverse points of view, on topics suited for a national audience.|
|ITVS (Independent Television Service)||Open Call||Provides completion funds for single nonfiction public television programs on any subject, and from any viewpoint|
|ITVS (Independent Television Service)||The Diversity Development Fund (DDF)||The Diversity Development Fund (DDF) provides up to $15,000 in research and development funding to producers of color to develop single documentary programs for public television. Funded activities may include travel, research, script development, preliminary production for fundraising/work-in-progress reels, or other early phase activities.|
|ITVS (Independent Television Service)||Series & Special Projects||ITVS accepts proposals on an ongoing basis for commissioned documentary projects that fall outside of the parameters of the standing initiatives. For development funding, activities may include travel, research, script development, preliminary production for fundraising/work-in-progress reels, or other early-phase activities. For production funding, all production and post-production activities are eligible.|
|Latino Public Broadcasting (LPB)||Public Media Content Fund (PMCF)||LPB funding will average between $5,000 and $100,000 for programs of most genres, including documentary, narrative, performance, mixed genre or new media. LPB will consider funding projects at the production and post-production stage. Requests for research and development are not a priority.|
|Pacific Islanders in Communications (PIC)||Media Fund- R&D||PIC awards up to $15,000 for R&D proposals. Because these are public television funds, the project must be intended for national public television broadcast.|
|Pacific Islanders in Communications (PIC)||Production Funding||PIC awards up to $50,000 for Production proposals. Because these are public television funds, the project must be intended for national public television broadcast.|
|Pacific Islanders in Communications (PIC)||Completion Fund||PIC awards up to $50,000 for Completion proposals. Because these are public television funds, the project must be intended for national public television broadcast.|
|Pacific Islanders in Communications (PIC)||Acquisitions||PIC is seeking programs in many genres including documentary, performance, and cultural/public affairs. Projects submitted must be intended for national public television broadcast.|
|Pacific Islanders in Communications (PIC)||Short Films||Pacific Islanders in Communications (PIC) is now accepting completed short films of Pacific Islander content for its Short Film Acquisition Call. The acquired short films will be streamed on PIC's website non-exclusively for a period of three years.|
|PBS/Corporation for Public Broadcasting||Program Challenge Fund||The Program Challenge Fund funds high-visibility, high-impact, limited series that offer a definitive take on a subject or break new ground in popular, public service media. CPB and PBS expect a successful Program Challenge Fund program to be the highlight of a given season's schedule, have the potential to generate publicity, and attract new audiences to PBS broadcast and online content.|
|POV||Call for Entries||POV holds a Call for Entries, in which we encourage filmmakers to submit films for consideration for broadcast on POV|
|The Center for Asian American Media (CAAM)||CAAM Documentary Fund||Broadcast hour documentaries are eligible for acquisition or post-production funding and must be intended for public television broadcast. Awards average $20,000 and should be the last monies needed to finish a project and deliver a broadcast master. All projects must have a key personnel member with prior public television credit to be eligible and have a full-length rough or fine cut to be considered.|
|The Center for Asian American Media (CAAM)||Ready, Set, Pitch!||The winning pitch, selected by the jury with audience feedback, will receive a $5,000 CAAM award for research and development.|
|The Center for Asian American Media (CAAM)||James T. Yee Talent Development Program: CAAM Fellowship Program||Fellowships will range from fully integrated collaborations to regular feedback on current projects to an ongoing dialogue about professional development. Furthermore, fellows will have the opportunity to connect with the larger community of Asian American media professionals at CAAM's annual film festival and a CAAM Fellowship Program retreat hosted by CAAM for all participating advisors and fellows.|
|Vision Maker Media||Public Media Fund||Vision Maker Media will consider funding programs at any production stage. They offer funding for development, production, post-production, and new media.|
If you have an addition, update or correction, please email filmmakers[at]pov.org and let us know!
More information about public media funding:
Public Broadcasting Service
2100 Crystal Drive, Alexandria, VA 22202
(703) 739-5000; (703) 739-5295 fax
The Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) is a private, non-profit corporation whose members are America's non-commercial public television stations. PBS provides quality TV programming and related services to over 350 stations serving all 50 states. For over four decades, PBS has set the standard of excellence in U.S. television programming, with more viewers turning to PBS than any other TV resource for engaging, accessible and intellectually satisfying programs. Proposals are evaluated on an ongoing basis
Corporation for Public Broadcasting
401 9th Street, NW, Washington, DC 20004-2129
(202) 879-9600; (202) 879-9700 fax
The Corporation for Public Broadcasting is a private, nonprofit corporation created by Congress in 1967. The mission of CPB is to facilitate the development of, and ensure universal access to, non-commercial high-quality programming and telecommunications services. It does this in conjunction with non-commercial educational telecommunications licensees across America.
Independent Television Service (ITVS)
651 Brannan Street, Suite 410, San Francisco, CA 94107
(415) 356 8383; (415) 356 8391 fax
ITVS' mission is to create and present independently produced programs that engage 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, and expands civic participation by bringing new voices into public discourse. ITVS has a number of funding initiatives, including LINCs and Open Call.
Since its debut in 1988, American Experience has brought stories of the people and events that shaped this country into nearly eight million homes each week. As television's longest-running, most-watched history series, American Experience brings to life the incredible characters and epic stories that helped form this nation and has garnered every major broadcast award. American Experience will only consider proposals in writing. Producers should not call or e-mail first "to test out ideas" before submitting. Faxed proposals and those sent via e-mail will not be accepted. Proposals should be sent to the attention of Proposal Coordinator
American Masters, Thirteen/WNET's award-winning biography series, celebrates our nation's arts and culture. Launched in 1986 and still acclaimed as "the best biographical series ever to appear on television," American Masters has produced an exceptional library exploring the lives and illuminating the creative journeys of our most enduring writers, musicians, visual and performing artists, dramatists and filmmakers. In content and in style, these are uniquely crafted programs, reflecting the particular attention deserved by each of our subjects, resonating the extraordinary mosaic of our creative heritage and traditions. American Masters produces most of its programming in-house and is able to accept very few proposals. Proposals can be submitted, in writing only, to Executive Producer Susan Lacy.
Since 1983, FRONTLINE has served as PBS's flagship public affairs series. Hailed upon its debut as "the last best hope for broadcast documentaries," FRONTLINE's stature over the years is reaffirmed each week through incisive documentaries covering the scope and complexity of the human experience. Story ideas can be sent to the attention of the FRONTLINE Series Editor. FRONTLINE welcomes suggestions from viewers and reviews all letters and ideas. The series produces approximately 18 new programs each season and evaluates over 600 program suggestions and proposals.
Independent Lens is a 29-week national PBS primetime series that features programs united by the creative freedom, artistic achievement and unflinching visions of independent producers. Presented by ITVS and curated with PBS, Independent Lens is supported by interactive companion websites, series marketing efforts, and national publicity and community outreach campaigns. Independent Lens celebrates innovation and the full spectrum of independent film by American and international producers including history, drama, animation, shorts and social-issue documentaries.
Produced by American Documentary, Inc. and celebrating its 25th Anniversary on PBS in 2012, the award-winning POV is the longest-running showcase on American television to feature the work of today's best independent documentary filmmakers. POV, which airs June-September with primetime specials during the year, has brought more than 300 documentaries to millions nationwide. Since 1988, POV has pioneered the art of presentation and outreach using independent nonfiction media to build new communities in conversation about today's social issues.
Center for Asian American Media
145 Ninth Street, Suite 350, San Francisco, CA 94103
(415) 863-0814; (415) 863-7428 fax
Founded in 1980, the Center for Asian American Media -- CAAM (formerly the National Asian American Telecommunications Association) is at the forefront in creating opportunities for Asian American media through production funding, national public television broadcasts, educational distribution, and the annual San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival.
In 1990, Center for Asian American Media established the Media Fund, made possible with funds from the Congress mandated Corporation for Public Broadcasting with the goal of increasing visibility of Asian American programs on public television and impacting the way in which Asian Americans are perceived and understood. To date, over $3 million has been granted to over 150 projects.
Latino Public Broadcasting
2550 N. Hollywood Way, Suite 301, Burbank, CA 91505
(818) 847-9656; (818) 847-9663 fax
Latino Public Broadcasting supports the development, production, acquisition and distribution of non-commercial educational and cultural television programming that is representative of Latino people, or addresses issues of particular interest to Latino Americans. These programs are produced for dissemination to the public broadcasting stations and other public telecommunication entities. Funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, a private corporation funded by the American people, LPB acts as a minority consortium with a mission to provide a voice to the diverse Latino community throughout the United States.
LPB funds television programs including dramas, documentaries, comedies, satire or animation. These may be single programs or limited series, new productions or works-in-progress.
National Black Programming Consortium (Black Public Media)
68 E. 131st Street, 7th Fl., New York, NY 10037
(212) 234-8200; (212) 234-7032
The National Black Programming Consortium (NBPC) is a non-profit national media arts organization committed to the presentation, funding, promotion, distribution and preservation of positive images of African Americans and the African Diaspora. NBPC sets the standard for and is one of the leading providers of historically accurate programming about the African American experience on American public television.
NBPC funds, commissions, acquires and awards talented makers of quality African American film and video projects. Selected programs reflect a variety of subjects and production styles. NBPC funds every phase of the production process -- research and development, scripting, production, post-production, and outreach. Since 1979, NBPC has provided more than $5 million dollars in grants to both independent and station-based producers.
Native American Public Telecommunications (Vision Maker Media)
1800 No 33 St., Lincoln, NE 68503
(402) 472-3522; (402) 472-8675 fax
Native American Public Telecommunications (NAPT) aims to inform, educate and encourage the awareness of tribal histories, cultures, languages, opportunities and aspirations through the fullest participation of American Indians and Alaska Natives in creating and employing all forms of educational and public telecommunications programs and services, thereby supporting tribal sovereignty. Funding guidelines are available on their website.
Pacific Islanders in Communications
1221 Kapiolani Blvd, Suite 6A-4, Honolulu, HI 96814
(808) 591-0059; (808) 591-1114 fax
Pacific Islanders in Communications (PIC) aims to support, advance, and develop Pacific Island media content and talent that results in a deeper understanding of Pacific Island history, culture, and contemporary challenges. PIC funds and distributes film, video, and new media to the broadest possible audience, and supports media talent through scholarships, training, and professional development.
Last Updated: 2/13/2014